Old Time Booksellers

bookseller“Read this book through, and then read it again, and you’ll never be the same.” An old time book seller handed me a thick copy of Baxter’s Explore the Book
and offered his sage advice.

My Chicago friends are familiar with the Jefferson Park train/bus terminal. You might not remember a Christian bookstore a half-block south on Milwaukee Avenue. The store was enormously long, and relatively skinny. It was managed by an old-time bookseller.

I don’t want to reprise You’ve Got Mail… okay… maybe I do.

We have lost something wonderful by moving book sales to megastores like Costco, Walmart, and Target.  We have lost the book-seller who reads the books he/she sells, and can direct you to the one you need.

When I went to that old-time bookstore, I didn’t just pick up a book, I picked up some pastoral care, too.  I don’t remember the gentleman’s name; I can’t even remember the name of his store.

But he taught me…

  • … that a genuine leather Bible will last longer than fake (“bonded”) leather. Plus it can be rebound.
  • … that I should read and reread great books.
  • … that a new Bible should be opened gently to avoid damaging the spine.
  • … that when I touched the pages of a new Bible in a bookstore, I should the back of my hand (fingernails) to avoid smudging the pages.
  • … that Explore the Book would familiarize me with the major themes of the whole Bible

He recommended Alan Redpath’s commentary on 2 Corinthians and J. Vernon McGhee on everything else.  I wasn’t lost in a sea of options: I had a navigator. He was my own, personal old-time bookseller. He read them and he sold them.

exploreAmericans have sacrificed service to save a buck.


[Click here to check out this great summation of every book of the Bible – pricey but worth it…] Baxter’s Explore the Book


One thought on “Old Time Booksellers

  1. Did not even know that store existed. The Gale st. police station is gone ( you can tell the economy is in the dumps because the city did not sell it for condos yet). There were some neat places by there, most of them very small. We have lost much the character of Main Street America (If you can call Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago that) and have driven out Mom and Pop’s store for a Wal-Mart selling poorly-made Chinese goods.
    I do not want to sound like some old fuddy-duddy, but this is not the America we grew up with and it is sad. Take the intersection of North and Cicero in Chicago (I’m sure the Californians know of a similar place there). My dad worked at a huge can manufacturing plant by there (now where a Wal-Mart stands ironically). Schwinn bikes, Zenith televisions and Suave shampoo was all made within a few blocks. This does not include the Pepsi bottling plant and the Jewel. All of this is gone. We are a consumer driven society and much of what we consume is not made here.
    The Lord said “love your neighbor”. Maybe a very small response to that would be shop at your neighbor’s store and buy the goods your neighbor made. I not saying we should not love, care for and about, and pray for those in other countries, but maybe God wants us to make a difference in our own backyards.

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