600 Union Street, Schenectady, NY
The Whitney Book Corner resides at the intersection of Clinton and Union near downtown Schenectady, NY, not far from a string of pubs, restaurants, and cafes and a short walk from Jay Street and the renowned Proctor’s Theater. The flags out front were whipping in the February breeze when I arrived, and after a quick peek through the wide windows I knew I was in for an enjoyable book hunting experience.
The Whitney deals in used books, although there were a handful of newish looking hardcovers in the fiction section just beyond the front desk where two very friendly and welcoming staff greeted the patrons all coming and going. I immediately made for the fiction section and saw they had a decent variety of hardcovers and newer paperbacks in good shape, including a first edition hardcover of The Road by Cormac McCarthy. If I didn’t already own the very same edition, I would have snatched it up for the low low price of $2. I did notice the nonfiction section trended toward older titles, and the mass market paperbacks were the same, with a high number falling into that romance/Danielle Steele category of used book, along with a bunch of used DVDs and some CDs. If that’s your thing, this is the place for you. If not, you may still find something in the hardcovers or newer literary paperbacks, where I also saw a nice copy of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which I highly recommend.
The biggest reason to include this shop in your book hunting journey is the affordability. With hardcovers as low as $2 and the paperbacks even cheaper, this place could be a gold mine while also being super easy on you wallet. And the shop isn’t huge, so it won’t take you long to find what you want or sulk out the door empty handed, as I did on this particular occasion only because their credit card machine was busted and I didn’t have cash. Otherwise, this would have been a more fruitful trip. Next time for sure!
Atmosphere — Has the feel of a library book sale more than a shop, but who doesn’t love a library book sale?
Quality — Some newer fiction but many were older mass market paperbacks of varying quality, all used.
Quantity — Lots of fiction, with a smaller selection of nonfiction.
Diversity — Okay diversity in fiction, with mass markets leaning toward romance/thrillers. The diversity of nonfiction wasn’t the best but worth a quick look.
Affordability — Very inexpensive, making it worth a stop. You could easily leave here with a pile under $10.
Amenities — Not the place to come and spend an afternoon unless you’re just looking to scan rows of used paperbacks.
Location — Downtown Schenectady on Union Street. Street parking only but walkable to many other excellent businesses and cafes.
Customer Service — The staff were polite and very welcoming.
Overall — If you’re looking for used books and DVDs, this is the shop for you, although I’d recommend sticking with the used fiction or hardcovers. You’ll find some steals in there. Add this shop to your list!