“So Where Do You Get All These Books?”

That’s a question my friends ask when they visit our home–and perhaps they are trying to tell us something.  Truth is, we probably have enough books around the house to take care of our reading needs for the rest of our life!  I found some comfort from Winston Churchill, who said something to the effect of “don’t feel bad about the books on your shelves you haven’t read, just fondle them!”  Part of what he meant was that it doesn’t hurt to just page through some of our unread books to be familiar with what is in them–you never know when that might become relevant.

A major source of the books around our home is InterVarsity Press.  I work as a staff director with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, their parent organization and so I am the recipient of some complimentary books and other highly discounted new releases.  InterVarsity Press publishes books that relate closely to our work in the university world, addressing issues of the day and matters of spiritual formation from a thoughtful and biblical perspective.  You will see reviews of a number of their books because, professionally they relate closely to my work in collegiate ministry, and personally, I’ve appreciated the thoughtful writing and the willingness to tackle hard issues.  That doesn’t mean that all my reviews will be glowing, however!

Another source of books around our home are the numerous used book stores around Columbus.  Of these, Half Price Books has probably made the most significant contribution.  They have five locations around our city (and we’ve visited them all!) preferring the Carriage Place and Lane Avenue locations.  I love to explore the $2 section, where there is lots of trash, but often a few “treasures”.  Another store we periodically frequent is The Village Bookshop in northwest Columbus.  Located in an old church building, they have childrens books, lots of used and remaindered books and an old book room upstairs (be sure you go upstairs).  A new find for us is Acorn Bookshop in Grandview Heights, just west of Ohio State.  The proprietors love talking with customers about books and I suspect a few more items from their store will eventually find their way to our home!

Some of the other miscellaneous sources of books over the years are our local Friends of the Library book sales–dangerous because you can acquire so much so cheaply, booktables at conferences–I have a “buy only one book” rule these days, and the used bookshops in other cities.  I’ve enjoyed some great ones in or near State Street in Madison, a now closed store off the beaten path between Ashland and Wooster, and a now closed store in my home town of Youngstown known as Twice-Loved Books.

Since my son gave me a Kindle a couple years back, I now get more of my books as e-books.  There are a number available for free and many titles are periodically discounted to under $3.  I’ve found the Englewood Review of Books one good source for information about thoughtful Christian works available at good discounts. Amazon is also my “go to” place (other than my local library) when there is a book I need for something I’m working on.

In a future post, I will talk about my increasing need to purge my shelves and how I’m thinking about that as I grow older.  For now, I’d love to hear from others about their favorite sources of books, and also their ideas of “downsizing” their collections.

One thought on ““So Where Do You Get All These Books?”

  1. Pingback: In Praise of the Indie Bookstore « Bob on Books

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