Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
Books for America’s website is misleading. “Is it just a used book store?” it asks. “Hardly,” is the response. “This store (or Center for Reading & Literacy as we also like to call it) is the headquarters of our nonprofit organization.” All well and good, but this is absolutely a used bookstore, and a very satisfying one at that. Now that having a massive book collection is not just socially acceptable but a very trendy form of hoarding, where do you go to stock up on spines by the gross? Here. But don’t go in looking for the latest releases: You’re better off entering with an open mind, ready to stock up on classics and surprise treasures. “My God,” you’ll find yourself saying while standing in the Civil War section. “How have I never finished Shelby Foote’s opus The Civil War: A Narrative
... It’s only 3,000 pages!” Prices here are astonishingly cheap. Expect to pay $3.75 for trade paperbacks, a few bucks more for nonfiction, and $5 or so for history; snag art books at the high-end range of $6 to $8. Leave here with as many titles as you can carry feeling both rich in knowledge and actual currency.