Last weekend I found the equivalent of buried treasure for a bibliophile like myself. I read an article about The Book Thing in Baltimore, but I was sure there had to be a catch. A used bookstore where every book is free? My mother was also intrigued, so we made the one hour trek to the city on Saturday.
Believe the hype. And bring lots of bags or boxes.
The Book Thing is tucked away on a tiny street. When we arrived at 11am, the place was bustling with people combing over bookshelves. Most of them had boxes or bags to hold their finds, and a few had wheeled carts. Everything is categorized (the rooms are color-coded to help your search), but they’re not in order within their category…so finding a specific book might be a challenge.
Within five minutes of entering the building, I knew this would be a multiple-trip destination. I couldn’t even begin to plumb the depths of their offerings in a single morning. When it comes to books, I enjoy combing the shelves and letting titles or covers “jump out” at me. Even though the place was crowded, most everyone seemed to have the same mindset. No one rushed me during my perusing.
I spent two hours at The Book Thing, and I left with 24 books. I found some great fiction selections as well as a National Geographic from the month and year of my birth. I also picked up some travel books. They may be outdated but they’re a good starting point for my research. The volunteers (who were constantly restocking the shelves) were extremely helpful and gave us pointers on where to look for certain books. Once you’re ready to leave, there’s a sign-out sheet to let the staff know how many books you took home.
If you’re anywhere within a reasonable drive of Baltimore and you love books, I highly recommend The Book Thing. It was a great experience!