Spotlight on Bookstores

We’ve been told the printed book is an endangered species, what with the growing popularity of the Kindle and other electronic tablet readers. I myself own a Kindle and am happy to take it on vacation—take one small object instead of the 5 or 6 books I usually have carried. I am proud to say I am a reader.  The stack of books on my bedside table waxes and wanes….there are at least 20 there now. I am a reader and there is something about holding a book in my hands that cannot be replaced with a Kindle.

I have always loved to read. I started, thanks to my two older sisters, when I was about 3 years old and one of the first things I do when I have moved to a new town is get a library card. Visiting the library has always been the proverbial candy store to me. Now that I am a reseller on  I get the same feeling of anticipatory treasures to find when I go to a large book sale, or come home from a morning of yard saling.

Visiting a book store offers a similar experience. There are treasures to find there!  I have visited several that are amazing and so very different from the chains of Barnes and Nobles, Borders and the like. Here are a few you might want to visit if you, like me, find fascination in holding a gem of paper and ink, in your hand.

Portland, Oregon – Powell’s Books, 1005 W. Burnside. This place is legendary. If you’re anywhere near Portland for any reason, you must head to Powell’s. The one time I tried we were blocked by traffic and street closures because of the annual Rose Parade, but we WILL get there! It has a huge selection of new and used books — 1 million books in stock, they say — so big you need a map! The store has book readings and signings. 

New York, New York – Strand, 828 Broadway (at 12th). A big jumbled store of used books (“8 miles of books”). Many people find this store difficult to handle, but if you have time, you could find some treasures. 

Denver, Colorado – Tattered Cover, 2955 E. First Avenue. I only wish I had been to this bookstore which is said to rival Powell’s in Portland, Oregon. Lots of author visits and also involvement in other community learning opportunities. 

San Francisco, California – City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Ave. Founded and still run by the Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights is a historic literary hangout, well worth hanging out in. The selection of poetry and small press books is particularly impressive. If you look closely in the basement, you might see the sign urging you to remember Lot’s wife — a leftover from the building’s days as a religious revival center. 

Austin, Texas – 603 N. Lamar. Helping the city live up to its motto — “keep Austin weird” – Book People features an incredibly diverse and deep selection of titles, ensuring that Austin has a strong cultural identity far beyond it vibrant music scene.

Columbus, Ohio – Located in historic German Village at 631 South Third Street,The Book Loft is a block long store is arranged by subjects in rooms. You can easily get lost in the maze! 

Do your friends an amazing favor…get them a book for a holiday gift..about a topic they love…that gift will stay with them for a long time.

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6 Responses to Spotlight on Bookstores

  1. ailsapm says:

    Great post. I too am a book afficionado and used to frequent Powell’s when I was on the West Coast. Now I’m on the East Coast, The Strand is my go-to place. You cannot beat the visceral thrill of cracking open a book – the smell of the ink, the rustle of the pages, the texture of the paper – and with a second-hand book there is also the promise of hidden notes and the romance of imagining bygone readers leafing through the pages of the tome you hold in your hand – an e-book can never compete with that.

  2. I agree…..going into a bookstore is magic available to the common person!! When I go to booksales, it is fun looking through the volumes I purchase….I still have not found any money (always hopeful!), but once I found a letter and was able to mail it back to the owner. They loved that.

  3. Pierotucci says:

    I am an avid reader, but I am a Brit living in Florence Italy and I really miss some of the great bookshops from the UK.

  4. I was surprised at the number of English language bookstores available in Europe. In Florence you can participate in the Paperback Exchange (, the BM Bookstoire ( and Feltrinelli International also has a large selection of English language books.

  5. Rosie says:

    For the love of God, keep wriitng these articles.

  6. Pebbles says:

    It was dark when I woke. This is a ray of snuhisne.

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