Visiting the US on a Bookhunt

In my one of earliest blogs I mentioned that I visited the US on a semi annual basis to buy books. This started out in 2007 and I ended up in the Quad Cities to book shop with my friend Jo. I also attended a couple of Friends of the Library Sales in Chicago on those trips, and of course called in at any second hand book stores that I happened on during my travels.

Most of the time the second hand book shop prices were beyond what it was economic for me to buy to ship home but one store near where we were staying in north west Chicago, Bookmarks in Mount Prospect had a great deal; buy five paperbacks and get five for free.  I think I ended up buying 555 paperbacks and getting 555 for free. The owner Mark Schmidt and I found that we had both purchased long standing second hand book stores -his  store was previously known as Jack’s Books and mine was and still is McLeods Books though the Macleod was known as Jock and he could have called it Jock’s Books. That would have been so cool!  Anyhow Mark kept on saying ” I have some out the back you might be interested in” and hauling out brown paper bags (the likes of which I had not seen since working as a ‘check out chick’ at Safeway back in the 70s) full of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Man from U N C L E books all of which I would take a squizz at and say “okay, I’ll take those too”. After that I ran into Mark’s wife at the PO as I got my dozens of Mbags weighed to ship back to Oz. We’ hadn’t met but the Aussie with the thousand and one Mbags did stand out like a sore thumb.

Those poor Arlington Heights postal clerks were so patient. The lines in the Post Office were always long. And the Mbags took a while to process. At home I am lucky as my local privately owned franchise Post Office rarely has a queue and if they do I leave my parcels and they process them when they have a spare moment. The next trip surface Mbags were no longer available and I had arranged for a container but the books had to be picked up from a business address. I emailed Mark and asked would he mind me stashing my horde at his shop until pick up. He didn’t mind so over approximately a two week period my trove from various sales and thrift stores took over the rear of Mark’s little store and of course I bought a few more of the buy five get five for free paperbacks.

Mark also introduced me to a new Chicago based author J A Konrath who writes the Jack Daniels mysteries. I do so love it when I am familiar with the location a book is set in. Somehow the shipping of 120 archive boxes of books 6 miles to the shipping depot cost me $1200. The next time I went over I decided that for $1200 I would drop the books at the shippers myself. Fortunately the 2009 shipper had a depot in Elk Grove Village which I was familiar with; though it took me 2 trips to work out that it was called Elk Grove Village because there was really an Elk Grove with elks in it in Elk Grove Village.  I have also become quite proficient in packing books for shipping. Now I just have to sell all those books I brought home in 2009 so I can justify a trip in 2011.

And of course, if you happen to be in Chicago and are somewhere near the Northwest Highway do call in BookMarks and say hi to Mark. You never know, he might have something for you in a brown paper bag.

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  1. Olga

    Are you sure that whole ship wasn’t reserved just for your books Therese?
    I would love to visit some of those second-hand bookshops in the US, there are not enough of them left in Melbourne

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