Last weekend I had a chance to visit Value Village, since I had some time to kill and it was nearby. I usually prefer Goodwill because of lower prices, but this Value Village had a much bigger book section, so I gave in. Looking for books in a thrift store is like digging for treasure – you never know what beauty you might discover. But, like in any treasure-hunting adventure, there are also hidden booby traps like “irresistible deals” and “crap that you think you need” that might throw you off track or even plague you with the horrible curse, also known as buyer’s remorse. I usually set a few rules before shopping in order to avoid impulse buys.
First and foremost, I promise myself to buy only something that has actually been on my wishlist. I don’t randomly buy a book just because of a blurb or a cover – there is a library for that. I used to and I got burnt more than once. The second rule constitutes that I only reach for the book if it is an edition I want. Certain books I want only in hardcover (like epic fantasy) and some only in paperback, so there is no sense in jumping at the cheap deal if it is not going to fit into my library. Last year I got a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for only $2 at a garage sale, but it was a totally different edition from the ones I already had. I already know I will be replacing it one of these days. My third rule is to never buy books in poor condition. They are too fragile for reading, might be missing pages, and would ultimately look awkward on the shelf.
Having all these rules in mind, I managed to snag these three wonders without crying afterwards. I confess that I had to steer myself away from some books once or twice (like a mass market paperback of The Eye of the World), but I remained successful. Once again, however, I failed to find Stephen King’s It, The Stand, and The Shining in hardcover. Thrift stores are usually full of King’s novel, but never the ones I am looking for. Maybe next time I will check out a Goodwill.