The Therapy of Used Bookstores
This may seem odd, but I feel a personal obligation to help used bookstores stay in business. Take the mom-and-pop store near my home. It has an excellent selection and is kept clean and well-organized. The prices are reasonable and the people are pleasant. It is a rare week when I don't visit and the trips are a form of therapy. In addition to tracking down books by familiar authors, I also like to give new ones a try. It can be fun to read far outside the usual range and see if something clicks.
Since the used bookstores don't charge the ridiculous prices that today's publishers like to slap on new books, it is easier to experiment and finding shelves filled with books by unknown writers who are - truth be known - extremely good is an exercise in humility.
What more could you ask from a simple visit to a store?