Book posts have been few and far betwen lately as I’ve been checking out work post 2000. I try and keep the majority of book posts pre 1979. That got me thinking……..
The good old stuff is disappearing…fast.In a fifty mile radius where I live, sixteen second hand book stores have closed in the past fifteen years. Say goodbye to paperback originals from the 1950’s and early 60’s from Gold Medal, Graphic, Avon, Paperback Library, Signet, Lion, Ace…on and on it goes.
These stores were a pleasure to do business with not just due to inventory but knowledgeable and friendly owners who knew books and authors. If you wanted they would recommend authors you may not be familiar with as they look over the books you brought in to trade. Another thing that made these stores fun….all those unsorted piles of books all over the floor. You never knew what you’d find.
Various reasons were given for their demise. The most obvious was lack of business. People just aren’t familiar with the classic old paperback originals and the hardcovers from the 20’s-50’s.
The big chain stores are laughable when it comes to The Good Old Stuff. The staff has never heard of the bulk of the authors in mystery as well as Science Fiction. Since their concentration is on new stuff that’s to be expected.
It seems the only place you may come across The Good Old Stuff is at a library sale. But look fast as many are just tossing the paperbacks in the trash, I’ve heard some say that no one is interested in books and authors no one ever heard of. Hardcover Detecive Club books with three complete novels have been trashed because they though they were the Readers Digest Condensed books. No one bothered to pay attention.
One major problems most libraries have is lack of room. Numerous budget cuts have led to hard times for may of them. That’s led to situations like: John Creasey, E.Phillips Oppenheim and Edgar Wallace wrote close to fifteen hundred books between them. Most libraries don’t even have one. It’s easy to fi8nd Agatha Christie but there are hundreds of mystery writers missing from the shelves. The same is true of Science Fiction. Some main libraries are well stocked but it’s a different story at the branches. Many don’t have even one book by such stalwarts as John D.MacDonald, David Goodis, Cornell Woolrich and even Erle Stanley Gardner.
A lot of the Good Old Stuff is still available on a few sites but that doesn’t take the place of a brick and mortar stores. It probably won’t be too much longer before all of it is gone from shelves…and memory.