Monday, May 30, 2011

Books, coffee and contentment

I can't help myself.

Last week, I told you how much I love my Nook, and shared with you my conundrum about whether I should get a Nook Color, an iPad, an Android tablet of some sort or just leave well-enough alone and keep my first-generation Nook. Thanks to some co-workers, I was in Nerdvana on Friday when I got to test-drive a Nook Color and an iPad. For my money and my needs, I have decided to get the Nook Color.

The front windows offer a view of
downtown Bowling Green Ohio
But this blog entry isn't about my decision, even though I thought I should follow up on my last post. Instead, this entry is about the exact opposite: Paper, ink, the smell of pages, the feel of trade paperback books with the non-glossy covers that feel so good in your hand. And coffee. You can't forget the coffee.

On Friday, I decided to purchase the Nook Color. On Saturday, my wife and I went out and bought 15 books...actual physical books. That is in addition to the 12 books we bought last week, and approximately 24 books that my first-grader picked out a few weeks ago. That's more than 50 books purchased over the course of two weeks, for a household that has two Nook readers. The pile of 27 adult books (not including the books for my first-grader) comes up to my 2 1/2-year-old son's nose. The pile is so tall that I can't straddle it without knocking a few over. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty nuts. What is even more crazy, is that we paid about $36 for all of them. More on that later.

Where did we get all of these books at such a ridiculously low price, you ask? At an awesome home-grown coffee shop/used book store called Grounds for Thought in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio.

If I could, I would go there every day. The atmosphere is amazing, the coffee is to die for (I highly recommend the house blend and something they call the Pooh Bear), and the selection of used books is astounding. They claim to stock more than 150,000 used books.

It is a great place to go to concentrate, to get inspired, to dream, to contemplate, to create, to write, to study, to read, to people-watch, and to meet your future spouse. I have done all of that within those walls. I like it a latte.

The customer base is just as varied, including professors, goth, high school, undergraduate and graduate students, professionals, people conducting business transactions or reviewing house blueprints over coffee, study groups, couples of all ages, gamers, knitters, teachers grading papers, and parents of little children checking out the newest board books in stock. I have just about seen it all. They often intermingle, creating friendly chat with strangers. I'm starting to think the ever-present delightful aroma of coffee is responsible for this harmony. Either that, or the music that is always playing in the background. Usually, the music is something I have never heard before, and is always intriguing. It all combines to create that atmosphere I am talking about. Grounds for Thought is a cultural experience as much as it is anything.

Where the magic happens
I haven't even mentioned their collection of VHS tapes, records, sandwiches, donuts, and ice cream. And don't forget about the free Wi-Fi!

So about those 50 books for less than $36. How did we do that? All of the books are used. Traditional paperbacks are half off the cover price. Trade paperbacks and hardcovers are priced as marked on the top right corner of the first page. Visit the store for any additional pricing details.

Some of the books we got were purchased with book credit. When we got our Nooks, we pretty much cleared off our bookshelves of physical books. Instead of taking them to Goodwill, selling them at a garage sale, or throwing them away, we took them to Grounds for Thought, which put them on their shelves to sell, in return for book credit. We took that book credit and purchased other books without a cash transaction.

GFT Incredible Book Sale Flyer
Our first receipt of the day
This past weekend (Memorial Day Weekend), Grounds for Thought held its annual "Incredible Book Sale," during which we got 15 books for $35.15. During the said "Incredible Book Sale," they took an additional 50% off the price of all of the books. We found some books we really wanted, but I'll tell you, it also allowed us to get some books we would have glanced at, but never would have bought at full or even half-price.

We got so many books that I don't know which one to read first. The cool thing is that as we read them, we can box them back up and take them back in for more book credit!! It's like the ultimate recycling program for bibliophiles.

The adult books we purchased
during the last two weeks
As I wrote this, my wife went back and bought four more books. My youngest son now has to stand on his tiptoes to see over it the new pile. The wife took all of the photos you see on this blog entry while she was there. You can see more photos she took at Grounds for Thought here.

Most of this blog was written on Saturday, but it is now 3 p.m. on Memorial Day (Monday...two days later). I just bought another book, and I am drinking a nice cool iced tea at Grounds for Thought as I post this over their free Wi-Fi.

We love it there, and this weekend has proven that even though we have gone the route of the e-books, we will probably never fully convert.

Grounds For Thought is located at:
174 S. Main Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402
Their phone number is (419) 354-3266.
http://www.groundsforthought.com/

Recent news stories about Grounds for Thought include:

BG News: http://bgnews.com/city/grounds-holds-its-ground/

Cleveland Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/books-in-cleveland/grounds-for-thought-a-specialty-store-indeed

Tolle, Lege!

Half of the books I bought for myself were found on the rack my wife stood next to while taking this photo. The rack is not visible.