Growing up my sister and I were avid readers. We frequented our local public library at least once a week, and helped my mom volunteer at a church’s library. Having access to so many books was amazing, but sometimes a book was so good I wanted, nay, I NEEDED, to own it. I wanted to be able to turn down all the page corners I want (the dreaded dog-ear-ing), maybe underline some parts that really spoke to me, and to have the ability to re-read it anytime I wanted. My dad is a HUGE bookstore lover, and I inherited that from him. On trips to bigger cities we would often shop at malls, and we always made a stop at Walden Books (remember them??). I’m not sure if books were used as bribery for good behavior, but I have a feeling they probably were. At any rate, I almost always got to pick out one book to take home. It was a hard choice to make, but a fun one.
But even better than Walden Books was Bookworm Books in Richland, Washington. This store was my jam. Not only did they sell new and used books that you could buy for cheap, you could actually sell your own used books and get in-store credit…to buy MORE books! This system allowed me to buy, read, and return every single book in the series Clue, based on the board game.
Many members of the staff would greet my family members by name. We had book credit for days! And it was a great feeling knowing books that I loved but didn’t want to keep would go to good homes. As a child that gave most inanimate objects human emotions, I pictured them crying in a random donation box, whereas at Bookworm Books they would be happy, waiting for their new best friend. I was a weird kid. Someday I’ll tell you about the book I dedicated to a bunch of dead people when I was in first grade. But back to book stores!
When I was a kid, Bookworm Books was located by a Pizza Hut, if memory serves. They had wooden bookshelves of all sizes, and all the Clue books I bought were in a tiny room in the back, where I would sit cross-legged on the floor and find all sorts of YA adventures to take home. Some of my favorite books were discovered in this room: Gone-Away Lake, The Egypt Game, From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I did and luckily it often ended up being a great pick.
When I was older, not sure what year, Bookworm Books moved to the Parkway in Richland, which was great because it was right by Ariel Gourmet & Gifts where my mom works. I got to visit their new space whenever I visited my family. This was a nicer space than before and everything seemed a bit newer there. You could still find all sorts of books, and as my tastes migrated towards adult fiction and mysteries, I had no shortage of either. The best part of used book stores is the smell of old books, and the mysteries section definitely had that aroma.
Most recently Bookworm Books moved to Kennewick, according to their website. I don’t know if the people who once knew me still work there, but the reviews on Facebook are still glowing, talking about great staff recommendations and awesome in-store author events. Next time I’m in town, I’ll have to venture into Kennewick and check out their newest location. I hope it gets even more business than it used to! And I must mention that they have the most adorable logo ever. If they make tote bags with that on them, I need to buy one, stat!
Eastern Washington isn’t the best known for tourism, but if you find yourself driving through there en route to Idaho, Montana, Canada, wherever, take a minute to check out the Bookworm Books! Locally-owned businesses are the best, and who can resist a good bookstore? (The correct answer is no one. No one can resist a good book store! Ask my dad. We stop every time we see one. He knows what’s up.)