SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Monday, May 09, 2011

My Used Bookstore Adventures | Family Economics

By Cathe

bookstore findsIf I ever travel through a new town, I am usually on the lookout for used bookstores. As a designer and crafter, I can spend hours hunting for books for purposes other than reading.

Here are some of the things I look for when shopping:

Clip Art Books: I have built my copyright free library of clip-art primarily from used bookstores. As main clip art publishers have gone digital or narrowed down their selection of reference material, vintage clip art books are a real find. I reference clip art for many projects including invitations, flyers, collages and other crafts. These work great for children’s parties and activities as well.

Vintage Craft and Sewing Books: These publications often have the best step-by-step illustrations and instructions for some of the most basic of project that are still popular today. Many show skills and techniques no longer practiced, but give a glimpse into the evolution of the do-it-yourself movement. Many times I find projects that bring back fond childhood memories of school day arts and crafts.

Coffee Table Books: Used bookstores are a fantastic place to find large, unique subject books full of beautiful photography at a minimal price. A nice stack of coffee table books next to a sofa bring hours of pleasure on a restful day.

bookstore findsVintage Cookbooks: I adore perusing old cookbooks for unusual recipes, quirky cooking techniques and lost traditions. I also like finding small pamphlet cookbooks for their graphic value. A framed collage of colorful recipe booklets can make wonderful kitchen décor. Many larger antique cookbooks have meat cut diagrams that are great for crafting applications. You can find mine as free digital downloads here and here.

Readers Digest Books: These used to be subscription based so there are plenty to be found in used bookstores, flea markets and garage sales. I don’t purchase these for their content, rather for the beautifully patterned paper-wrapped hard covers. You won’t see the secret designs from the spine view, but pull a few from the shelves and uncover the fabulous mix of prints that can be used in many craft applications. Once the covers are removed, don’t toss the book pages. They can be repurposed into folded page art pieces or simply stack the coverless books together on an empty shelf to create a unique display.

Children’s Books: There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as discovering books from your childhood to bring back sweet memories as I wrote about here.

What are your favorite vintage books or unique uses for them?

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