• Marcy Farrey

Every airport should have one of these

Why more airports should feature local and independent bookstores

On my recent trip to Park City, Utah, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Salt Lake City airport. I had originally wanted to visit some independent bookstores in Salt Lake City, in addition to my stops in Park City, but I felt weird lugging a suitcase around into a bunch of stores! Well I suppose the universe still wanted me to get my independent bookstore fix, because as soon as I got through security, I saw the Weller Book Works airport location in front of me.

Weller Book Works is a Salt Lake City independent bookstore that's been open for 90 years and sells used, new, and rare books. It has a strong history in the community, and having an airport location allows it to reach national and international travelers who may not have otherwise known about it.

I've been to at least one other indie bookstore in an airport--Barbara's Bookstore in O'Hare. I know there are a few others around the country that I haven't yet been to, but one thing I like about the Weller Book Works airport location is that they sell new AND used books. Crosby and I have often wondered why more used bookstores aren't in airports--having access to lower-priced used books seems perfect for travelers popping in and out.

Weller Book Works has a "Read & Return" program for customers at the airport. If you but it, read it, and then return it, you get a 50% refund on the book. And then those looking for used books to grab quickly before the flight will have a nice selection to choose from. Select new books were also marked as being part of the program. So even if you couldn't find what you were looking for in the used section, you could buy a new copy and still return it to get 50% back.

I browsed the store for some time and heard several customers comment on what a great idea this was, and how they didn't know it was there. Clearly Crosby and I aren't the only ones who've wanted to browse used books at the airport! Here's a few benefits to having used bookstores in airports:

  • With everything else in the airport being so overpriced, this would be one opportunity for travelers to save.

  • Travelers, especially delayed ones, are looking for something that can keep them entertained for a long stretch of time, doesn't cost too much, and doesn't require sitting near a power outlet--books!

  • Rather than finishing the book and letting it sit on your shelf for years, you're given an incentive to bring it back and let another weary traveler benefit!

I've done some Google searching and it appears there are a few airports with used bookstores, but not nearly enough, so I hope this becomes a trend! Have you seen other independent or used bookstores at airports? I'd love to know about them--leave a note in the comments.

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