Newaygo, Michigan: Bay Leaf Books
With a population of under 2,000 the last time anyone checked, you could be excused for thinking there’s not a market for a great used bookstore. It is the definition of a sleepy little town. There are a lot of such towns in Newaygo County, and throughout this area of Michigan. I grew up in one, and it did not have a used bookstore or new bookstore. I got my comic books at the local grocery (which meant I missed a lot of issues in multi-issue stories) and for books I had to wait until we drove into Muskegon to shop at the supermarket there.
However, Newaygo is known for its antique stores that attract tourists, and perhaps that improves the odds of a bookstore making a successful go at it. If you are antiquing in Newaygo and you love books, you should stop into Bay Leaf Books.
The first time I visited them, I found two books on my want list that I’d been looking for for a long time: The Best of Leigh Brackett, and the Best of Frank Russell.
Both times I’ve visited I’ve found books that weren’t on my list but which would have been had I known about them.
They have a very nice science fiction section, as well as a whole lot of other books. They also have a local history section if that sort of thing interests you.
There’s no question, if you enjoy used bookstores, that you’ll want to stop at Bay Leaf when you’re near Newaygo.
Dec. 21, 2016
|Close to Critical||Hal Clement||mass market paperback|
|Hidden World||Stanton A. Coblentz||$0.75||mass market paperback|
|The Nemesis from Terra||Leigh Brackett||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|Mutant||Henry Kuttner||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|The Shadow of the Torturer||Gene Wolfe||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|The Instrumentality of Mankind||Cordwainer Smith||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|The Crystal Ship||Joan D. Vinge, Marta Randall, Vonda N. McIntyre||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|Forsake the Sky||Tim Powers||$0.90||mass market paperback|
|Northwest of Earth||C.L. Moore||$3.00||trade paperback|
Dec. 1, 2015
|Green Magic||Jack Vance||$1.75||mass market paperback|
|Intellectuals and Society||Thomas Sowell||$9.00||hardcover|
June 9, 2015
|Seven Footprints to Satan||A. Merritt||$1.00||mass market paperback|
|Conan the Rebel||Poul Anderson||$1.50||mass market paperback|
|The Fox Woman & Other Stories||A. Merritt||$1.50||mass market paperback|
|The Best of Eric Frank Russell||Eric Frank Russell||$1.75||mass market paperback|
|The Best of Leigh Brackett||Leigh Brackett||$2.00||mass market paperback|
While you’re in town, if it happens to be a Tuesday, stop off at the Newaygo Library. At the time I’m writing this (and both times I’ve visited Bay Leaf Books) the library book store was open on Tuesdays from 11 to 2. The Virginia Ciupidro Bookstore isn’t very big, just a small room, but it’s worth stopping at. Due to their limited hours I’ve only been there once, but that day involved picking up four hardcovers, including two by Advise & Consent author Allen Drury.
I generally wouldn’t recommend pulling off of the highway for one, but when you’re already in the area the local public library will often have a decent room of used books for fundraising purchases. And unlike bookstores, libraries usually have web sites.
Virginia Ciupidro Newaygo Public Library
44 N State Rd
June 9, 2015
|The Reluctant King||L. Sprague de Camp||$2.00||hardcover|
|Mark Coffin, U.S.S.||Allen Drury||$2.00||hardcover|
|Capable of Honor||Allen Drury||$2.00||hardcover|
|Lord Darcy||Randall Garrett||$2.00||hardcover|
In response to The bookstores less traveled: These aren’t the bookstores people travel across the country to visit. But if you’re already traveling across the country, you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to visit them.
- December 30, 2016: Bay Leaf Books in Newaygo is closing
I stopped into Bay Leaf Books over the holidays when I was traveling in Michigan, and discovered that they’ll be closing in “late January or February” 2017, due to health issues. If you’ve been meaning to visit, now is the time.
As you can see from the list of books I bought in December on the original review they still have a great selection—and I didn’t take their only copy of some of those books.
They’ve been a very nice place to visit when I wander up that way; it’ll be sad to see them go, as there aren’t many, if any, good bookstores in the area. Even the Newaygo Public Library’s book sale has closed, although perhaps only temporarily. Like most of the “bookstores less traveled” it was basically run by one person, and that person died. (If you live in the area and you want to see it re-open, consider volunteering.)
At the time I went, Bay Leaf was discounting their books 40%, or 20% for special display items. I don’t know if that’s going to change, as their web site says they’ll continue to sell online and at special events.
And don’t pass up the opportunity to visit any of the bookstores I highlight on The bookstores less traveled. As sad as it is to see a bookstore go, most, if not all, of them are run by one or two people. They will close down sooner or later. Give them your business now to increase the chances that it will be later.