Saturday, August 10, 2013

Staying Close To Home

After having traveled every weekend for the past couple of months my wife and I decided to take a little break this weekend and instead of exploring somewhere new we visited a place we have been going to for a number of years. It only takes about 20 minutes to get to Fort Washington, Pennsylvania from our apartment but it is still a drastic difference from the constant flow of traffic along City Avenue. There really is not a whole lot to visit up there especially on Commerce Drive where our destination is located.

Not much to look at from the outside.
At the end of a long row of warehouses there is a building that looks identical to others on the street. The blank canvas on the front of the structure doesn’t offer any curb appeal and the location is not going to draw in any foot traffic but don’t let the appearance fool you. Turning the corner and pulling into the parking lot there is nothing that captures your attention but when you look into the windows it piques your interest right away (at least it does for book lovers like us).

The van offers a glimpse of what you will find inside.

The Harvest Book Outlet is store that too few people know about which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is nice to walk in to a sparsely patroned store and find a wide variety of books that catch my attention and that I will be able to use and enjoy. At the same time, it’s a business, and I want them to thrive in this ever changing book business. E-books are nice but nothing compared to sitting down with folio of ink and paper and enjoying the turning of the page.

For those of you (most of you) that are unfamiliar with the establishment, Harvest is a used book store that allows you to get your literary fix. Adult books out on the shelves are priced at two dollars apiece (buy 5 get 1 free) with the occasional volume priced at five dollars. Children’s books, where I can find my wife most trips, are priced at a dollar with the same buy 5 get 1 free deal. I don’t think I have ever gone there without leaving with at least a few interesting finds. For some of the harder to find more expensive books you can search their online database.

What a beautiful sight. Time to get my fix!

For my wife we have found a wide variety of Wizard of Oz books while I have found a tremendous amount of research volumes to assist me with my genealogy as well as poetry books to keep me connected with my long standing passion. In many instances, this has been the only place (including online) where I have been able to pick up hard to find books and it is one of the few places that doesn’t take advantage of that fact and keeps their prices reasonable. And when you are finished with the book you can bring it back the next time around and get some store credit.  

But the indulgence doesn’t end with books, movie fanatics can go through the DVDs and get the same deal that you would with adult books. Audiophiles can browse through rows and rows of CDs and find a wide variety of artists and genres. Some of the music and movies can even be found still in the shrink wrap.

No matter your creative addiction you can get satiate your needs while staying on a budget. There are few brick and mortar places still around where quantity, quality, and value are in harmony with one another. Harvest is one of those places and I recommend everyone in the Philadelphia area and anyone who happens to be in the area for work or pleasure to stop by Harvest Books, take a look around, and get your fix.