With used book stores I find it best to go inside without an agenda. If there is something specific you want, sure look for it but don't be surprised with what end up purchasing.
This is a store I had to tear myself away. A prior dinner engagement on the other side of town hastened me away and probably saved me a good bit of money as well. I need to dedicate a Saturday morning to going here in an effort to take it all in. I would also need a second job to shop here with regularity. (Actually, I need a full-time job, right now...)
I've already failed in my effort to not buy any books in the month of March so I didn't feel bad about the two I picked up today. The Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuin and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev as translated by Constance Garret. (I usually limit my Russian translations to Richard Peaver and Larissa Volokhonsky but I seem to recall an interview where they greatly endorsed Garrent's work and haven't seen the need to do their own translation.) I've been wanting to read LeGuin for a long time, and I have been without any nineteenth century Russian literature longer than I would like.
Now to make you jealous. These are Easton Press Editions I purchased. In mint condition as defined by book antiquarians. I had never seen, or heard of these wonders of print until today, and I'm still blown away. The amazingly thick and textured paper, binding, and type surpass even what I had previously thought to be the pentacle of modern printing, the Everyman's Library. The ornate leather binding, and gold gilt edges combined to make you think of a brand new, really old book.
If you have the cash, and really like the book you are considering, they are well worth the price. If you find them as I did--in a used, second hand store-- in mint condition for twenty bucks a piece, you have to buy them. I'm here to tell ya, you may find no nicer book ever assembled than the Easton Press Editions.
These purchases bring to mind and interesting quandary and one I'd never thought to entertain before. Being these books are collectors editions, and perfect, should I got to the library and check out copies I want to read? I know myself too well. I'll read these, and enjoy them for the literature they are and the appreciate the art of the physical book, themselves. The illustrations rock something fierce for the record. Talk about, 'bringing the awesome...' Happily they are both short, so I won't have to worry about taking them around with me while reading. They look to be manageable in a small amount of reading time.
Now that you know how awesome I am because of what I bought today, I'm going to tell you why you should stop by Atlanta Vintage Books should you be in the metro area: it is a giant treasure box of stuff you didn't know you wanted, but upon entering you realize you can't do without.
Non-fiction is their staple, as is true with any book store, and they do a good bit of business with old books, like William Shakespeare's complete works in twenty volumes as published by blah blah and blah. As much as I loathe (and yes there is a difference between loath and loathe) the idea of people buying sets of books solely for looks, I do have to admit: those old books, look really cool. As do the 'new old' books I bought.
I was able to hold back and not go all out on the first edition, signed copies of Gone with the Wind or Atlas Shrugged simply because I've never made as much money as those books sell for let alone had as much expendable cash.
It's not Borders, or Barnes and Nobles, and things aren't filed or shelved as neatly as Amazon… but they do have a kick-ass espresso machine and pastry--both at no charge--in addition to providing a wonderfully unique and altogether pleasant book buying experience.