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Welcome to Alan's Used Books, a left handed bookstore owned and operated by Gwen Foss. We specialize in unusual and interesting quality used books. We are a proud charter member of TomFolio.com, the world's first and largest cooperative website of independent professional used bookdealers.
Alan's Used Books started in 1990 as an independent small press. In 1997, the business expanded into used books on the acquisition of the library of Alan M. Foss, a close relative who passed in 1985. In 2002, we changed our name to Alan's Used Books.
Alan's Used Books is located in the northwest suburbs of Detroit, Michigan but we are internet only, NO open shop. We buy and sell unusual books, particularly history, science, engineering, folklore, music, theology, ethnology, and various other intellectual topics. Our inventory includes a wide range of nonfiction plus a few odds and ends.
We buy and sell books on odd subjects. Special areas of interest include narrow historical treatises, unusual scientific topics, bizarre humor, ethnic history, folklore, folk and popular music songbooks, unconventional how-to guides, Doctor Who, and anything unusual or offbeat.
Satisfaction Guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, we will give you a full refund, excluding shipping fees unless the item was not as described. Please notify us before returning an item. See A note about condition below for more details.
Alan's Used Books is a GREEN Business. We strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. We recycle all empty cans, old newspapers, plastic bags and bottles and every other bit of recyclable waste we generate. We re-use most of our corrugated scrap and recycle the rest. Our shipping envelopes are made from recycled fibers. All of our bulbs are smart fluorescents and we have instituted other energy-saving and water-saving procedures. Our vehicle is old but it gets 22 miles per gallon. And, last but not least, we find loving new homes for old used books.
The small print: Except for a few of our own titles, we sell used books. This means that in most cases we have only one copy of an item available. Because millions of people all over the world can be viewing our catalog, it happens occasionally that an item we have listed as available will have been sold at the time you place your order. We remove sold items as quickly as possible, but there is always a delay in processing this data before the items are in fact removed. If you have any questions, please feel free to phone us during business hours Mon-Fri 10:00am to 8:00 pm US Eastern time, 248-473-4566, or email to the address above. We will be happy to hold items on your request for a reasonable period of time.
A note about condition: We sell used books. Some show wear-marks from previous ownership. But we never sell books with missing or unreadable text pages. All flaws are noted in the description. We use a simplified version of the standard grading scale, which from best to worst is: As New, Near Fine, Very Good, Good, Poor. Please read our descriptions carefully. Scans available on request. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, we will give you a full refund, excluding shipping fees unless the item was not as described. Please notify us before returning an item.
Terms of Sale:
Shipping Terms: Our Standard Rates: Domestic economy rate (US media mail) $4.00, $1.00 add items. Domestic air rate (US priority mail) $6.95 1st item, $1.70 addl items. (Sorry, we are not able to display a custom shipping fee for each item, but we promise to charge a smaller fee if you order a small item.)
Non-US Customers: Overseas shipping is US$26.00 for First Class Mail International and US$39.00 for Priority Mail International. (Sorry, the US Postal Service no longer offers international economy surface mail.) See info below on Shipping Fee Reductions for more details.
Special rates to Canada: US$21.00 for First Class Mail International and US$23.00 for Priority Mail International.
Shipping Fee Reductions: Based on the actual size, weight, and destination of your order, our standard shipping fees may be adjusted, in most cases downward. If we can, we will ship by Standard Flat Rate Priority Mail International for US$25.00 (the book must fit in the flat rate envelope) and pass the savings on to you. In case the actual shipping cost will greatly exceed our standard fee, we will notify you in advance and let you decide before we ship your order.
Alan's Used Books apologizes sincerely for these high fees. We are at the mercy of the available services but we will always reduce your fee in any way possible.
We ship anywhere: We use the US Postal Service. If you require us to ship using a different service, an additional fee will be mutually agreed upon. Shipping times are affected by many circumstances we cannot control, and thus we cannot guarantee arrival time. Delays may be caused by many factors including airport slowdowns, security checks, and customs departments, to name a few. We will give you an estimated time of arrival and thank you for your patience.
Payment: We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover; or personal checks, business checks, or money orders provided they are drawn in US funds. Checks should be made payable to Alan's Used Books.
To pay by credit card: Click on the Add To Cart button to use TomFolio's secure server. The button will appear next to, or below, the book description on the search results page. Orders by Phone can be accepted during regular business hours Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, US Eastern (New York) time.