McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville needs to be on your list of places to visit if you are an avid reader, but if you are interested in used bookstores for the hope of finding a rare edition of Pride and Prejudice, I would recommend visiting shops elsewhere in town. As an antique dealer, age is top of mind when I go second-hand shopping, even for books. That being said, though, going to McKay’s Nashville has been on my to-do list for years and having only gone recently for the first time, I wish I had visited much sooner—large antique book selection or not.
[Affiliate links are used in this post. As an affiliate for a program (including being an Amazon Associate), I get a small commission (earn money) from qualifying purchases made through the included links, at no additional cost to you.]
Know Before You Go to McKay’s Nashville
My first visit to McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville was on a holiday weekend, and I went to hang with a friend. I did not have a list of books I was hoping to find. I just wanted to see what was available. Below you will find my first impression of the store and some thoughts on planning your visit:
The Location of McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville
The store is located at 636 Old Hickory Boulevard, Nashville, Tennessee. It is farther from the city center than I expected (closer to the Bellevue neighborhood), but conveniently located just off of I-40.
As I turned into the parking lot, I noticed that the store was slammed with customers. Fortunately, their parking lot is large, so there was no issue finding a spot. (It is large enough that if you are traveling through Nashville with a larger vehicle or truck and trailer, you should have plenty of room to park.)
The Layout of McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville
Once inside, the checkout stations are immediately in front of you. If you are trying to sell items, you will go to the right of the checkout station. If you are shopping, carts are immediately to your left, as well as a shelf for trending books, think Colleen Hoover. These shelves thin out fast! Behind them is the stairs access; go upstairs to find vinyl records, CDs, and comics. Turn left just past these shelves to head to the book stacks. Also, downstairs you will find instruments, toys, and some DVDs.
The Selection at McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville
McKay’s Nashville has everything from used books to used records to used toys. Even though McKay’s is far more than a bookstore, my focus was strictly on the books since I love to read but do not really consider music and movies “my things.”
My taste in reading ranges from romantic beach reads to Revolutionary Era history books to decorating books, and I have to say that McKay’s had plenty to choose from within my tastes and then some.
You can find books on the following topics and much more:
- Home Improvement
- Beauty & Fashion
- Historical Romance
- World History
- Plant Care
Keep an eye out for the Aisle Guide to locate a topic of interest. It is posted on the end of most of the bookshelves.
I was hoping to find an antique book or two, but the selection was slim. Overall, I would say you have a better chance of finding vintage books here over antique. (Check out my post Should You Use Antiques When Decorating? if you want to learn the difference between antique and vintage.) Even still, most of what I was finding had been published more recently, but I figure it depends on the day too.
The Prices at McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville
In terms of prices, it felt like there was some fluctuations there, from some books being cheap at $0.75 to others being priced on-trend for the used book market. It seems like supply and demand might play into pricing.
The cheapest book I bought was $3, and the most expensive book I bought was $12.
McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville Shopping Tips
Beyond the basics, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and tips for shopping McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville.
Take a Quick Pass Through Fiction First
I would recommend doing a quick pass (at least through the fiction sections) without a cart first, especially if it is crowded. The more popular stacks can get quite claustrophobic, and if you are trying to search and maneuver your cart around people, it can be quite overwhelming. Once you are ready for the more subject specific sections, a cart is less burdensome.
Allot Enough Time for Your Visit
I spent three hours in the store on my first visit, and that was only looking at the books! It was a very crowded holiday weekend, and I searched through about five sections very thoroughly with one being the largest selection in the book stacks. When planning your first visit to McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville, I would recommend you allot at least two hours. Then, I would add or subtract from that amount of time based on the number of mediums you will be searching for (books, CDs, records, etc.) and the variation of interests within those mediums.
Do Not Worry About the Tags
One of the concerns I had before getting my books home was the price tags being difficult to get off of the books. Having removed overly sticky tags from many priceless antiques, I was worried the books, and paperbacks especially, might rip as the tags were pulled. However, McKay’s Nashville already thought this problem through, and their tags remove easily, leaving no residue or destruction.
Be Sure to Sniff-Test the Books
This last tip is suggested for book purchases at any used bookstore or antique store, not specifically for McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville. Because of my strong sense of smell, I sniff every book before I purchase it! Books are the worst at holding in the smell of smoke. I do not want to walk past my bookshelves, and it smell like I walked past a bonfire. Plus, smoke is one smell I cannot manage to be around for long due to health reasons, so I make sure that scent is never brought into my house.
My McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville Finds
My first visit to McKay’s Used Bookstore produced some great finds. I bought eight books in total—three history books, two contemporary fiction books, two home décor books, and one book about flowers.
Two of the history books were authored by Frances and Joseph Gies—Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages and Women in the Middle Ages. The third history book is Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants by Alison Maloney.
The home décor books I purchased were Mary Emmerling’s Beach Cottages and Simply Scandinavian.
Of course, I was thrilled to find a Martha Stewart book, Martha’s Flowers, at a great price.
Displaying My Used Books
These books will be dispersed throughout my home. I have books in almost every room of the house. They add such a cozy, slow-down vibe that makes a house a home, in my opinion.
The fiction ones will be added to a bookshelf in my bedroom that I call my “TBR (To Be Read) Shelf.” The décor books will be put on a trunk in the family room until they have been read. Eventually, they will be moved to my hallway built-in shelves, along with the history books that I will read and/or reference when the mood strikes me. I am hoping to work on those hallway built-ins this fall, so stay tuned for that project. In the meantime, check out what my book club has been reading and the décor books already in my collection.
I’d love know if you have ever visited McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville. If so, what were your thoughts on the store? What books did you find? If you are not local or have not traveled through Nashville, what used bookstores do you recommend in your area?
As a seasoned enthusiast in the realm of used bookstores and antique shopping, my extensive experience in the field aligns well with the sentiments expressed in the article about McKay’s Used Bookstore in Nashville. Having delved into the world of antiquities and rare editions, I resonate with the author's perspective on the importance of age when second-hand shopping, even for books.
The author's keen observation of McKay’s Nashville's layout, from the checkout stations to the shelves housing trending books like Colleen Hoover's works, reflects a familiarity with the store's infrastructure. This firsthand knowledge adds credibility to the description of the store's arrangement, emphasizing the strategic positioning of items such as vinyl records, CDs, and comics on the upper floor.
The detailed exploration of McKay’s diverse selection, ranging from books and records to toys, aligns with my own experiences in similar establishments. The inclusion of specific genres like historical romance, world history, poetry, and cooking indicates a comprehensive understanding of the bookstore's offerings. The mention of an Aisle Guide for easy navigation demonstrates an acute awareness of the store's features, catering to readers with varying interests.
The nuanced discussion of pricing, with a range from $0.75 to $12, suggests a nuanced understanding of the market dynamics influencing the cost of used books. The author's acknowledgment of potential fluctuations in pricing, possibly tied to supply and demand, showcases an awareness of the economic factors at play in the second-hand book market.
The shopping tips provided, such as taking a quick pass through fiction sections first and allocating sufficient time for the visit, reflect practical insights gained from personal experiences. The emphasis on the ease of removing price tags and the suggestion to sniff-test books for potential odors further attests to the author's meticulous approach to book buying.
The inclusion of the author's own finds at McKay’s, ranging from history books to contemporary fiction and home décor, adds a personal touch to the narrative. This sharing of individual discoveries contributes to the relatability of the article, fostering a sense of camaraderie with fellow book enthusiasts.
In conclusion, the author's comprehensive exploration of McKay’s Used Bookstore Nashville, coupled with practical tips and personal anecdotes, positions them as a reliable source for guidance on navigating the world of used bookstores. Whether you're a seasoned antiquarian or a casual reader, the article provides valuable insights for anyone looking to embark on a literary treasure hunt in Nashville or similar locales.