O.k., so I’m stealing a bit of Greg Hatcher’s thunder here by using the ‘Backroads Bookscouting’ heading, but it was in fact Greg, via e-mail, who encouraged me to write this up.
Anyway, regular readers may recall that last winter, Greg wrote a 2-part bookscouting post about the Willamette Valley, with part 2 detailing his adventures in Salem, Oregon. Well, I was recently in Salem, as I was last winter, but this time with my lovely partner Sanja, and we discovered this wonderful place he and Julie overlooked during their own sojourn in Oregon’s capital.
It’s called Engelberg’s Antique Mall (or just ‘Engelberg’s Antiks’) on Liberty St. in downtown (about 2 blocks south of the Book Bin that Greg mentioned in his post).
We discovered it on the day before we left, as we were doing some last-minute shopping. The $2 book display outside the front door immediately caught my eye (no surprise there), and the place looked so interesting that we couldn’t help but walk in and take a look around.
Now I’m not much into antiquing myself, in that I have virtually no interest in buying antiques, but I do like going into antique shops just to poke around, because they’re like museums where you can touch the exhibits. And there was quite a bit of fascinating stuff as you may imagine, like these old baby shoes – which Sanja insisted I photograph.
Of course, there are quite a few old vinyl records;
and even cassettes – I know there’s been quite a resurgence of interest in vinyl, but is anyone still listening to cassettes?
Although if necessary, you could buy this stereo with a cassette deck:
I actually searched in vain for 8-tracks, but alas, there were none to be found.
But the reason I’m writing this place up for AJS is because there were a number of little sections in which the consignment sellers offer books:
Many, many books.
And more books.
And even a box of comics:
So while Sanja and my sister went downstairs to check out the old furniture (which was apparently pretty cool, too), I spent about an hour browsing through the books. I wasn’t finding anything to buy, though, as I was a bit taken aback by the prices on some of them; one of the sellers just put a price of $5 on pretty much every book, even if it was a beaten up old mass market paperback with the pages almost falling out.
But then I struck paydirt: the last little section I stopped at before the front door on the opposite side of the store had several shelves of old books that just seemed to shout out: “Yo, geek! Right here!”
The prices were also right: most of them were going for $1 to $2.
A bunch of book-format magazines really caught my eye, as I never knew they existed, like these:
All $2 each. These were actually what inspired me to start taking pictures of the place and write to Greg to tell him about it, which in turn led to his suggestion that I write it up for the site.
And just so this post truly lives up to its bookscouting description, that heavenly section of the store had a few genuine bookscouting treasures, most notably this rather vintage Tarzan book:
I didn’t end up buying it, as the price, $25, is just a little more than I’m usually willing to pay for something like this (although if it had been $10 or less, I probably would have snapped it right up). The frontispiece is detached, but otherwise it was in rather good condition, with St. John’s exquisite illustrations throughout.
All I ended up buying were two paperbacks: Blish’s Spock Must Die, because I’ve been on the lookout for a cheap copy of this specific paperback edition for ages, and a sword and sorcery book by Andrew Offutt, because I’ve never read anything by him but I’ve been intrigued about him ever since I learned a few years ago that he wrote several hundred erotica/porn books under various pseudonyms over the course of his career (and the book has a suitably racy Boris Vallejo cover). At $1 a pop, I couldn’t go wrong.
So, if you’re ever in Salem, there’s one more place you have to visit.*
* I have to say as an aside that when I was growing up in the area in the 1970s and ‘80s, I don’t remember Salem having such cool places – all I remember is a comic book shop that sold old paperbacks. Outside of that, it was the book and magazine sections of department or drug-stores and B. Dalton or Waldenbooks in the shopping malls. Now, it’s not only got places like this antique mall, but also all the cool stores Greg mentioned in his earlier posts, i.e., the the aforementioned Book Bin, Escape Fiction and quirky thriftstores like Friends of Felines.