I have an addiction.
And it centers around a heavenly place on East State Street in Rockford, Illinois that has books as far as the eye can see for $1 or $3. Its moniker is Half Price Books, but it is a bibliophilic paradise of trashy romance novels, comprehensive anthologies of literary classics, prolific self-help books, tomes of the giants and their seminal works, volumes of all colors of the religious spectrum, bestsellers of today and years-gone-by, the world’s history several times over, and any other book you can conjure into imagination. It has music and movies too.
The fun is in the finding and thank heaven they have carts there. With boxes upon boxes of works waiting to be shelved and read and multicolored spines as far as the eye can see, they do not keep inventory nor mandate a single spot for a book like a library would. They have books that you would never expect to find for a dollar and sometimes they are sold-out of the one book that you need. Every visit is a roll of the dice. Sometimes multiple copies of a text exist in separate areas of the store and occasionally a book is hiding out somewhere it is not supposed to be just waiting its diligent soulmate to stumble across it by accident, take it home, and read its acid-papered bounty before it’s paper and time take their toll. Half Price Books is the bane of a tiny house. The latter of which I have.
I think by-in-large, my obsession with possession of written matter stems from my childhood. My great-grandfather, who lived with us until I was 9, had the collected works of Louis L’Amour lining a bookshelf by his reading chair. My great-grandmother was a teacher and the lust for literature made its way to me through my grandmother and mother as well. I always think of my great-grandfather though, every day, sitting in that chair reading. My mom didn’t help matters much because she frequented every Scholastic Sale ever and made sure our house had plenty of books in it to read. It fostered my appreciation for owning books and having a library. It helps to have the room for a library though.
Soon after initially posting this blog, tragedy struck. The Half Price Books outlet in Rockford announced it was closing, presumably due to an increase in rent. If there is one thing Rockford does not need less of, it is books, so in my mind, this announcement was catastrophic. The only upside was in an effort to liquidate their inventory, Half Price Books held a $1 for everything sale and I was able to add another box of literature to the ones I already had at home. I tried to get as much as I could thinking that such an opportunity for modestly priced literature would never again be possible so close to home. Shortly thereafter, however… redemption. It was announced that after selling off their inventory and shuttering their doors, that the outlet would not actually be leaving Rockford after all. Rather, they would be moving less than a block away to an even bigger space and are slated to open on May 15 of this year.The Half Price Books Outlet in Rockford is returning to a new location around the corner from our old store
Half Price Books will be located at 6669 E. State St., Rockford, Illinois as of May 15, 2017. Their website is:
The corporate site is: