Rock Bottom Book Store: Saying farewell to the used books section | Street Jazz

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Rock Bottom Book Store: Saying farewell to the used books section

Posted By on Sun, Jan 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

There are 10,000 book in my library, and it will be keep growing until I die. This has exasperated my daughters, amused my friends, and baffled my accountant. If I had not picked up this habit in the library long ago, I would have more money in the bank today; I would not be richer. - Pete Hamill

One of the nice things about living in Fayetteville has been the fact that so many bookstores have made their home among us, each with their own own loyal customers. It’s part of what makes us who we are, I think.

We are all rightly proud of the Dickson Street Bookshop, an establishment I can not pass without at least buying some of those three for a dollar paperbacks so prominently displayed outside.

Dickson was also once home to The House of Books, a little store I spent much time in. Moving a little further a field, up Block Street, we had the much-missed Hays & Saunders Bookshop, whose bookmark is sitting before me as I write this.

Bookstores aren’t like a grocery, hardware or clothing store. Loyalty to the store aside, we feel something special when we step inside, because we usually know that we will not leave without finding the perfect book for ourselves.

For many years, Rock Bottom Books was a fixture on Dickson Street, specializing in second-hand books, magazines and comics. I have been a loyal Rock Bottom customer since the 1970s, when I first arrived in Fayetteville, back in the days when the inestimable Wilda Hardin ran it, along with a handful of employees.

The store moved quite some time ago to its present location on Garland, where it has continued to sell the same sort of merchandise, along with some new additions.

But upon making my regular pilgrimage to Rock Bottom a few weeks ago, I discovered that the store was now cut to half its former size, the owner explaining to me that the book section just wasn’t profitable any more.

It was sort of like hearing someone say, “Oh, by the way, while you were on Spring break, your Uncle Harold died.”

Newer customers may not feel the same affection that I - and others, no doubt - felt for the used book section. Obviously, though, we weren’t buying enough books.

I buy second-hand books from all sorts of places, from Dickson Street Bookshop to the bookstores that various libraries have, but still, I’ll miss the book section at Rock Bottom. This isn’t to say that there aren’t still other books for sale, and that there aren’t great things to buy; I’ll be a loyal customer for years to come.

But still, that moment when I realized that all of those shelves of books - just waiting to be glanced over, picked up, looked through, and clutched in the hand - they aren’t there any more left me with a feeling hard to explain.

******

The Rock Bottom/Public Access Television Connection

Robert C. Nelson, a noted public access producer, once worked at Rock Bottom. He was a man of deep passion and great creativity.

*****

Can you say this on Kindle?

I probably will get a Kindle one day; I’m not a complete Neanderthal.

But looking through books, I am always struck by what people inscribe in them, especially when buying them for a friend. Can you permanently write “With all my love, from . . .” in an eBook?

No, not on the card.

In the book.

****

Quote of the Day

Good advice usually works best when preceded by a bad scare. - Al Batt

rsdrake@cox.net

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