Shortly after finishing Nick Hornby's Slam, I found myself in Edmonton, and is my nature, I spent my free time seeking out second-hand bookshops. I've visited shops all around the world, and recently even found a Hitchcock paperback (a first printing no less) in a tiny and messy little shop in Istanbul.
The Wee Books Inn has four locations in Edmonton, and I wandered out of the wind into the shop at 10310, 82nd (Whyte) Avenue. The store was large and clean, fairly empty though it was a weekday mid-afternoon. Taking a few minutes to walk around and get the layout of the shop, I soon headed upstairs to browse through the literature section, the vintage children's book shelves (which had numerous copies of The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and diverse hardcover collections), and the horror paperback racks where I picked up three anthologies. At the cash I pulled out my copy of Slam and asked the tall and gangly employee if he'd be interested in a trade. He looked at the back of the book (where the original cover price is located) and let me have a $2.50 book in its place. I was pleased, wanting to get rid of Slam and thinking he'd give me about a dollar. Granted my copy of Hornsby's middling work was in excellent condition, and the anthology I received was considerably older. He'll probably sell my book for at least $5.00, for which I'm glad since I like to support these shops.
Next time in Edmonton I'll be sure to bring a few more books.
The books I purchased were:
Parry, Michel, The Devil's Children, NY: Berkley Medallion, September 1976 (1974). ($2.50)
Paget, Clarence, The 27th Pan Book of Horror Stories, London: Pan Books, 1986. ($2.50)
Sutton, David and Stephen Jones, Dark Voices 4: The Pan Book of Horror, London: Pan Books, 1992. ($3.50)
My only complaint about The Wee Books Inn is their practice of stamping the inside front covers of their books with their locations. I understand the need to advertise but I much prefer picking up bookmarks rather than seeing books unnecessarily damaged. In Boston last year I visited one of Annie's Bookshops and was appalled that a number of the paperbacks, everything being sold for a dollar, had their back covers lopped off at one corner. I asked the vendor why he cut these chunks out of the corners, and he said so that he could keep track of which ones he was selling for cheap. Now, a vendor should be experienced enough with books to simply glance at one and know whether it should go for a buck or half the cover price. I was upset, even felt a little sick since there were a number of out-of-print books I would have loved to pick up for a dollar. I detest damaged books and did not purchase any. Running a business where you need to be constantly reminded of the value of your stock by devaluating them is ridiculous, and I will not be visiting this shop again.
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