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Monday, August 13, 2018

Renaissance Books and the Tattered Page Book Store

We were off on a family trip to Wisconsin, August 4 to 8, to visit family and friends. Because of a tight schedule there was no real book browsing or scouting. But I did cross paths with two unusual bookstores.

Inside the main concourse of Milwaukee's Billy Mitchell Air Field, is a bookstore - Renaissance Books. While stores selling new books are not unusual in airports, this store is quite different and sells only used books. The store was a fixture in downtown Milwaukee, until the City condemned their building. The new location in the airport opened in 1979, and some claim this was the first bookstore to be located within an airport. The store has no website for me to provide a link.

Unfortunately, the tasteful facade is the best part of the store. Its books are somewhat ratty wrt condition, and generally overpriced - most hardcovers starting at $25, regardless of title, edition, or condition. Some collectible titles are cased, but the ones I looked at were mostly later printings and priced in the hundreds of dollars. As photo below shows, excess inventory spills over to floors, as well as there being a lot of double shelving of titles.

It was an interesting store to browse around in, but there was not a single book that I considered buying.

On our return flight on the 8th to Tucson, we had a plane change at Denver International Airport. Our connecting aircraft was long delayed (we didn't arrive home until 3 am on the 9th), and while wandering around the C-Concourse (Southwest), I happened on a branch location of Denver's well-known Tattered Cover Book Store. This store has been in business in downtown Denver since 1971. While it sells mostly new titles, its multi-storied building is well worth the visit. There are many, many signed 1st editions available, and I think there may be a few used books tucked in among the new titles. 

The store now has multiple locations in Denver, but the one in the airport is not yet listed, so it may be a new venture. The airport store was secured by a metal, drop-down barrier, so no photos of that branch. Photos here are of the original downtown location. Check out the Tattered Page at:


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