As we were walking around the Shambles in York yesterday I was telling Fifi about the bookshops dealing in second hand books you used to be able to find in the area in the early 1980s or thereabouts. They'd disappeared by the late 1980s, so they've been long gone. Indeed, that was generally true of such bookshops throughout the country, or the parts of the country I got around to, at least. I reckon that well over half the books I bought at university and in the years immediately following came second hand, from such establishments.
Which makes me wonder where old discarded books go to in our brave new world. There are lots of charity shops around nowadays, and they invariably have a shelf or two of old paperbacks, but this is nothing like the space the old bookshops offered for unwanted books. It's a pity to think they may just be thrown away.