A lot of the book stores seem to concentrate in downtown Ashland. Let’s take a quick break from the chaos of theater, tourists and extravagant dining and visit a bookstore on the opposite side of town. Around the corner from the Ashland Street Cinema, in the plaza with the Wendy’s and the Dollar Tree is the Bookwagon. It is a smaller space tucked in next to the laundromat, filled with a vast array of used books.
The Bookwagon has been around for ten years, originally starting in a garage. It went through a few upgrades and then downsizes. I met with Carl, the owner, one afternoon in early September. I had never been in the Bookwagon before, which now seems so silly since it seemed like a promising bookstore. A few years back, half way through my college career, once I had moved out of my house with a washer and dryer, I discovered the Bookwagon’s location as I waited for my laundry to finish. The late night times I chose to wash my clothes never matched the day time hours of the shop, so I never went in.
The Bookwagon carries used fiction, mysteries and romance paperbacks. They also carry best sellers, new books and can special order books. Carl enjoys the book business because of constant surprises in various genres, books and authors that seem to pop up time and time again. Carl’s genre of choice when he finds time to read are creative non fiction books and mysteries.
I valued Carl’s perspective on the future of physical books. He believes there is always a market for books, even with the advance of literary technology. Certain people, myself included, don’t want an electronic version and want physical books. I would miss the smell of pages and paper books too much. Carl also explains the value in used books. People can always trade or re-sell used books; you can’t re-sell a Kindle or the books purchased online for the Kindle.
Don’t make the mistake that I did and wait five years to visit this quiet, cute bookstore. It is not overrun by tourists and noisy people. You can take the time to scout out what book you really want without being rushed by a sales clerks or obnoxious shoppers. While waiting for your laundry or a movie, visit the Bookwagon and enjoy the literary experience you can’t find anywhere else.