About a block from where I work is a nice, big used book store. It must do a brisk business because over the years it has expanded and now actually occupies two full store fronts on the main street down town.
It is one of those places that I could spend a few hours when in the right mood. They have a huge science fiction and fantasy section. It is big enough that you run into what I call the “Tolkien or TekWar?” phenomena, when you run across more than a copy or two of a given title and have to wonder if this book was really good or really bad.
The other areas of the store are also well stocked. I could spend nearly as much time on the history aisle. They even have a software and software guides section that has a copy of the spiral bound EverQuest Atlas that SOE put out back when EverQuest was recently released. (I couldn’t bring myself to buy it, then or now.)
And, over in one corner they actually have a few shelves dedicated to games and gaming.
If you want one of the AD&D Second Edition books, including any of those very thin and hugely over priced “Complete Guide…” to the various classes, they have it.
There usually isn’t anything really cool in the gaming area. I have never, for example, seen a copy of the “Forgotten Realms Atlas” there, or any of the more interesting Forgotten Realms source material.
There were a couple of FASA BattleTech source books, which I felt tempted by, if only because the crew at Fear the Boot is always so enthusiastic about the game. But I let them pass. When left on my own, I accumulate books rapidly, but my office at our new house is one bookshelf down from our old place, so I have to resist buying too much stuff “just to have.” I just do not have the space. (I would have found the room if they had any of the FASA Star Trek books though.)
And then I picked up one on the shelf at random and opened it up. On the inside cover somebody had stuck an address label. An old address label. I recognized the address. It was literally 5 doors down from my grandparents house, where I spent most of my childhood.
The book was a first edition AD&D Players Guide. A book I have on my shelf at home. And here was a copy from a few doors away from a house I lived in at various points in my life, both when I was too young or poor to be out on my own and years later when my grandmother was too old to be living by herself.
I cannot for the life of me visualize who lived in that house, though I can picture it in my mind.
But gamers, we are everywhere. Even in your neighborhood.