There’s nothing like it. The slightly dusty, worn and weathered, cedar shelved scent of a good, used bookstore. It immediately activates my reptilian brain. My memory center. My association with the magic of story resides in this scent.
That’s why, when I walk into the inviting cavern of Joyce FitzSimmons’ The Book Peddler, in White Salmon, Washington, I immediately lose track of time. My vision blurs and realigns on book titles, stacked and pressed between floor to ceiling shelves. The light is warm. The night is cool. It’s open for one more hour.
Twenty-five years of working as a school counselor and commuting to Cascade Locks didn’t allow Joyce FitzSimmons the opportunity to really get to know her home community in White Salmon. Retirement, however, did. She opened The Book Peddler, offering used but not abused books and her store became a fixture in the town’s community center and in the lives of adults hunting for gently used stories as well as in the lives of families with young readers. Among their varied selection, The Book Peddler offers a rich treasure chest of children’s books, one of FitzSimmons’ largest initial collections.
When asked what led her into the used book business, Joyce recalls her librarian tendencies, her love of thrift stores and her dedication to recycling.
“I cannot think of a more natural item for recycling than books,” Fitsimmons says. “Readers do it all the time without even thinking of it as recycling when they pass their books on to friends. But I wish I had a nickel for every customer who has asked me to find them a copy of a title because they loaned it out and it never came back. Books have a way of traveling and moving on, intentionally or not. The Book Peddler is just a nice, small way-station for them while they are moving on.”
The Book Peddler has been open since May, 2005 and moved locations once from the shady side of downtown White Salmon’s Main street to the sunny side, offering FitzSimmons an stunning view of Mt. Hood and making long winter days less dreary.
In the future, FitzSimmons simply hopes to continue being a service to the community for readers of all ages and particularly for young readers as they advance through the levels of their reading abilities. Among keeping her own shelves stocked with diverse titles and fair priced options, she also enjoys helping her customers hunt down books when they don’t remember the title or author information, but have enough details about the story to successfully narrow down the options and locate the desired treasure.
If you are staying in White Salmon or simply passing through, take time to sift through the delicious layers of books at The Book Peddler and support the bounty of local business.
The Book Peddler is located at 154 E Jewett in downtown White Salmon and is normally open 10:30ish to 5:30ish, Tuesday thru Saturday.