It’s only recently that I’ve had a chance to start slowly accumulating books again, and in a place like Portland, it’s pretty hard not to accumulate them. We’re home to the legendary Powell’s City of Books, a multi-level store taking up a whole city block and a whopping 68,000 square feet (not counting the various smaller branches throughout the city), Powell’s sells both new and used volumes.
Their website says they buy 3,000 used books over the counter every day. I’ve seen the business they do and the number of used books available on the shelves. I believe them.
Not only are we Portlanders supporting this massive independent bookseller (even in a down economy), we’re giving our libraries a workout, as well. In fact, the Multnomah County Library is second only to the New York Public Library in circulation figures. Considering that Portland is only the 29th largest city in the United States, that stat says a lot about the role of reading in the Portland Metro area!
All of this is merely background information for telling you about what happened when my son and I were driving somewhere through our inner southeast neighborhood on Sunday. As we turned the corner at Brooklyn and 26th Avenue, we saw two cardboard boxes sitting out in the tree row. “Free boxes” are a pretty common sight around here. People who have stuff they don’t want will often stick them into a box and leave it out for passersby to help themselves.
These particular free boxes were full of books.
Naturally, we stopped. My son has often come home carrying books scavenged from a free box while out with his friends. I assumed we’d each pick out a couple and that would be that. I didn’t count on the books being in mint condition; turns out, that’s something I find hard to resist in a free book. I also didn’t expect to find so many books I was interested in.
Basically, he took three books. I had an armload. Here’s what we got:
Have you ever taken advantage of a “free box?” What did you take from it? Have you been the beneficiary of free books from another source?