Used Bookstores Experiencing a Revival

Annie Holmquist | December 29, 2015

Think Amazon is taking over the world? Think again, says Mike Rosenwald in a recent article for The Washington Post. According to Rosenwald, used book stores are experiencing a revival largely due to cheap prices and a desire for hard, material copies rather than digital books.


Such news should not be a surprise, particularly as scientific studies increasingly demonstrate that reading print books improves retention and comprehension at a far higher rate than occurs while reading digital books.


But even more than the desire for increased understanding in reading, does the revival of bookstores – used ones especially – signal a desire for a return to a slower-paced, more relational way of seeking knowledge? Rosenwald suggests such is the case:


[N]othing provides a stronger pull than the experience of browsing — getting lost in the stacks, making serendipitous finds, having chance conversations with interesting people. And with information so easy to find these days, used bookstores offer the thrill of the hunt.



Chacko Chakiath, shopping ­recently at Wonder Book in Gaithersburg, Md., said he seeks out books with plenty of notes in the margins.


“You can go, ‘What were they thinking here?’ ” he said. “Or sometimes I have the same issue they had.”


Considering that in 2015 nearly 30% of American adults confessed to not reading a book in the preceding year, it’s encouraging to hear that there are still some folks who are seeking to feed their minds and expand their thinking.


Image Credit: Stephen Coles via Flickr / Creative Commons

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