About a week ago, while on a quest both for a regular paycheck-sort-of job and for cool spots to check out in the Cleveland area, I stumbled upon a place called the Two Dollar Rare Book Store. This place totally rocks!  Its sheer volume (or, more accurately, quantity of volumes) was quite impressive.  And the treasures to be found among them by a diligent seeker was even more impressive.  Add to this the fact that at least two thirds of all the books in the store are priced at two dollars or under ($2 for hardcovers and $1 for paperbacks). And even the rare books that are higher than two dollars are incredible bargains.

I was able to fill in a missing volume in my rare The Works of John Burroughs collection (XVII, The Summit of the Years, from 1913) for two dollars!  Compare that to Amazon.com, where the best price I could find was $14.99.  I also picked up a very nice, big, nearly brand new paperback of The Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge for a dollar.  Other finds included Scattered Poems and Maggie Cassidy by Jack Kerouac, The Autobiography of William Carlos Williams, an apparently never read French/English edition of Guillaume Apollinaire’s Alcools, a sturdy 1932 hardcover of Nine Plays by Eugene O’Neill, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Duino Elegies and the Sonnets to Orpheus, a critical biography of Arthur Rimbaud by St. Aubyn, an awesome Chinese-English edition of the Tao Te Ching (in a translation I didn’t already have, by Robert Henricks), a rare volume of poetry and art (called Negative Theater) by Ric Ocasek (of The Cars), and a Grove Press book called Wholly Communion that includes poems by Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and others.

All in all, I was able to grab these twelve totally rockin’ books for sixteen dollars, less than I would have paid for the Burroughs book alone on Amazon (after I figured in shipping and handling).  Maybe not technically a “steal,” but darned close….  And I would have bought a whole lot more if I’d have had more money and my home library wasn’t already bursting at the seams.

I wish I would have taken a picture of the store – silly me, I didn’t have my camera with me and I thought I’d be able to find a photo online.  They don’t have a website either.  Nothing fancy perhaps, but lots of books, including lots of good books, and some the best prices I’ve ever seen….  You could spend a whole day in the place – and they’re constantly getting “new” used books.

So if you live around here, or you’re ever in the Cleveland area, please check ’em out.  And tell owner Chris Uram that Jesus Crisis sent you.  Maybe he’ll hire me… lol.

Two Dollar Rare Bookstore
6820 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 881-1800

Here’s someone else’s review of the store (from 2001):