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Thursday, August 3, 2017

The 2017 Used Book Store Crawl, Flagstaff Edition




It's August again, and pretty soon I'll be updating my report about thrift shops in New Mexico. But a recent visit from my young nephew, an aspiring writer and book fiend, led me to research used book stores in Arizona. I wanted to plan a short trip to visit stores in Flagstaff, Cottonwood, and Prescott.

I discovered used book stores when I was a young teenager, and my introduction to that dusty realm was a revelation. Like most kids, I didn't have a lot of spending money, and I had thought I would have to rely solely on the library to satisfy my book cravings. The library is a great place for a kid who's still learning what she likes to read.

But eventually you know which authors you like, and buying their books at retail can be expensive. So when I realized there were used book stores, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I've been visiting used book stores ever since, but I admit there had been a long gap between my last visit to a used book store and the ones I took recently with my nephew and my husband. I noticed only one change during that gap, and it's a logical one – the prices are a bit higher than you might expect.

This makes sense when you consider the internet. One of the things that connectivity does is make people aware of what things are worth. Some people believe a book should only cost 50 cents if it's used. After all – it's used. But if there's demand for that title, it's worth more. So the lowest price we found on any book during our Used Book Store Crawl was $2.00. But we still came home with a trunk-load of books. (Fair warning to those of you who were hoping to lighten your bookshelves instead of running to Ikea to buy a new one so you can store the extra titles.)

Flagstaff was the first city on our stop. We found an inexpensive hotel that (coincidentally) backed onto the rear lot of the Galaxy Diner, our favorite restaurant in Flagstaff. I love their pot roast sandwich; Ernie usually goes for the meat loaf, and Miles had the chicken-fried steak two days in a row. (You get 10% off your bill if you wear the Galaxy Diner T-shirt.)

I had done a google search for good used book stores in Flagstaff and had come up with a page of possibilities. But as it turned out, when we actually hit the streets, we only found two of the book stores listed in my search. (NOTE: I didn't put Bookman's on the list. It's a fairly big chain, and even though I would recommend it to people looking for used books, I wanted to explore small, indie shops.)

One of the things I like about Flagstaff is that the people who own and/or work in the small businesses there are very representative of the West. They're knowledgable about what they're selling, but have a low-key style. If you ask them questions, you can learn quite a lot.

Another thing I like is that you can also find used books in a lot of the antique stores – and there are several. So if you really want to do a proper book crawl in Flagstaff, google the antique shops too.

Here are the two book shops we visited:

Starrlight Books

15 N Leroux St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 774-6813
Route 66, near old town shopping, between Beaver and San Francisco Street
This one is an old-fashioned used book store, and one of the easiest to find. All three of us picked up several titles each. Here's a photo of our haul:


Bright Side Books
18 N San Francisco St, Flagstaff, AZ 86001
(928) 440-5041
Off Old Route 66, North on San Fransisco, in the old shopping district.


Bright Side Books sells new books, but it's a wonderful shop with an eclectic selection. I bought some Where the Wild Things Are socks (ones like the monster feet in the book). You are going to miss something special if you don't visit this shop.


It was just the first day of our trip, and already we were filling up the trunk of our car with books. But there was more to come, my friends. Much more . . .



NEXT TIME: Getting Lost in the Stacks in Cottonwood 

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