As many of you know Lee and I love real books. But since we read them and donate them we try to usually get good prices and used book stores and thrift stores are our favorite places to find them. Over the years we have been to used bookstores all across the country, so when Lee mentioned the Book Barn I was all in. I was expecting a pretty standard used book store, but boy was I surprised. First of all it is not one building but several and in mutitple locations throughout the town of Niantec, CT.
I should have known it was something special when we pulled up and the parking lot was full. Not only that but there was a line of people waiting to drop off books and they had multiple people working the station where they paid for the books they received. The books store claims to own 500,000 books and from what I saw that may very well be possible. Better still almost all paperbacks were only $1 and hardbacks mostly ranged from $4 – $7. Those prices were fantastic and when I wondered how they could make a profit with such low markups, Lee said “Volume”. Which is probably true.
Right off the bat I walked into the $1 hardback section and it was hard to get me out. I loaded up on cookbooks and took them out to the car and then kept looking around. The property was surprisingly large and had several smaller buildings, a kids play area, a garden, and live goats.
The main building was a bit of a disappointment, but I did think the labeling on the shelves was great. It was mostly reference material but I couldn’t find any of the books in the genres I like.
There was tons of staff, but despite that I did have some trouble getting my questions answered. It turned out that my two favorite genres were actually located in separate buildings in different parts of town which to be honest annoyed me. I was going to not even go see but Lee talked me into it and I was so glad he did. Not only did I find the largest collections (and I do not say that lightly) of fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal novels I have ever seen but everything was $1. It was really fantastic and the employees at the annexes were much nicer than the main building. They were experts in the genres and made some great recommendations on new authors to try. I was in heaven.
One good thing about going to the annexes was we got to see more of the town. They had some beautiful seaside inns and a nice restaurant (fantastic clam chowder) along with an Italian bakery. I really enjoyed the small town of Devens, but the Book Barn is the definite draw. If you are ever in the area and love books like us I definitely recommend it just make sure you give yourself plenty of time because it is quite the adventure.
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