Discussion: Favorite bookstore?

I’m not a big fan of big box bookstores like Barnes and Noble. However, they tend to be the most common so, if I’m going to a bookstore, I usually to go to those the most. It’s the small, locally owned bookstores that I have the most fun at. They seem to have the most ecclectic collection of books and it’s always fun to see the local flavor regarding certain genres. Plus, who doesn’t want to support the little guy? 
I could spend days lost in the Powells bookstore in Portland, Oregon. It’s huge, but it’s no Barnes and Noble and the fact that they have a massive used book collection just makes things more interesting. One never knows what they will run into at Powells. Locally, however, my favorite bookstore would be Sam Wellers. They are Utah’s version of Powells. They are small-fry compared to many, many other bookstores but for Utah it’s pretty impressive. They have a large used book collection and do a lot of author events, signings and readings. This year they’ve had John Scalzi and Ken Scholes show up. I missed both of those readings and signings due to being on pregnancy induced bedrest, but I was still excited that those authors showed up. No other bookstore in Utah usually has any SF author but our local Brandon Sanderson show up. While I enjoy his events, I also like having the opportunity to hob-knob with other authors as well – and Sam Wellers is where I usually turn for that. 
I shop for a lot of books online, as well. Barnes and Noble doesn’t carry a lot of what I want and we lost Borders a while ago so online is what I turn to in times of desperate need. While Sam Wellers is fun to browse, they don’t have a lot of what I tend to be looking for. For online shopping, I tend to go with Amazon or iBooks for the iPad. For ereader programs, I like iBooks most, and the reason is, honestly, quite stupid. iBooks counts down “pages left in this chapter” and for some reason that thrills me (it doesn’t take much to make me happy…). I also use Kindle a lot, which you can probably guess by my love of Amazon. With a new baby I don’t have tons of room for new books so I’m trying to either get all my books from the local library (which has an AMAZING collection, by the way – much better than any local bookstore I could go to) or get ebooks because they take up no room. 
So those are my favorite bookstores. I know there are a lot more out there that I haven’t used yet, so I would like to know what your favorite bookstores are and why. Maybe you can broaden my horizons. 

10 Responses

  • Anonymous

    Waterstones, although they're UK based. Nice environment and a wide range of choice in any store, and until recently, they did 3 for 2 offers on most books.

  • Jared

    People are incredibly passionate about their favorites!

    Here's a list that Anne, Bex & I did – http://www.pornokitsch.com/2011/07/friday-five-great-bookstores.html

    I definitely like Foyles & Forbidden Planet for my new stuff and all sorts of dodgy ones for my second-hand purchases.

  • Lessa

    Here in Salt Lake we have some great small book stores. Sam Weller's is my favorite, but King's English is quaint and adorable. I am not a big fan of purchasing books though, and Salt Lake's public library system is one of the best in the world (no exaggeration)

  • melita66

    Beyond B&N (on the way home from work!), Amazon, and ABEbooks (for used books), I have several favorite book stores in my various stomping grounds:

    1. Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for new SF/F and Mystery, http://www.mystgalaxy.com

    I don't get there that often because it's 2hrs away, but will stop by if I'm in SD. Lots of authors do signings and MG is quite happy to take orders.

    2. Bookman's in Orange, CA, http://www.ebookman.com

    3 storefronts worth of books. Very good SF/F sections, sometimes has ARCs and I've found some impressive academic/nonfiction works in areas that I'm interested in.

    3. The other Bookmans, located in Arizona (several stores), http://www.bookmans.com

    Huge selection, also carries music, dvds, board games, jigsaw puzzles, computer/device games. Pretty good trade-in policies too.

    4. Half Price Books, various areas, northern CA, Arizona, Texas, Ohio, etc., http://www.hpb.com/

    Another excellent used chain, excellent trade-in policy (if you just want to get rid of books, they'll recycle/donate them for you if they don't want them), also carry games, music, dvds

  • redhead

    My local indy place, Kazoo Books is great. If you're a regular, they take very, very good care of you. Decent trade in policy, excellent collections of vintage SF. I'm facebook friends with one of the guys who works there, and he's gotten used to me placing special orders via facebook.

    Another favorite is Dawn Treader Books in Ann Arbor Michigan. I love getting lost in that place. It's in an old rickety building that seems to go back forever, with books piled to the ceiling. Ann Arbor is home to University of Michigan, so Dawn Treader has the best foreign language and music areas I've ever seen at a used bookstore.

    great topic!!!

  • FantasyLass

    Most of our local independents have been swallowed up by the big boys 🙁 Ottakars used to be my favourite but they've been taken over by Waterstones now, who're probably my new favourite, although they're scrapping the 3 for 2's now so….*sigh*. Forbidden Planet are cool, but pricey (http://www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk)

  • pat

    Milwaukee has the best airport used-book store ever, Renaissance Books.

  • benito

    I just became addicted to Amazon, much to my partner's annoyance and of course, Barnes & Noble because they're everywhere. But since moving to Orange, Ca last year, I have to agree with melita66 about The Bookman; its a great little store for finding used books!

  • Jamie (Mithril Wisdom)

    There aren't that many local bookstores near me, sadly (there's a Waterstone's but that's about it). I love finding those little gems that are hidden in alleys or between shops that aren't that easy to spot. Quite often I find some awesome fantasy reads. There's a market stall in my hometown that always has some kind of fantasy novel for me to gorge myself on (and I think I was the only one who actually read fantasy, so I had them all to myself :P)

  • hippogriff

    I've been to many bookstores, but there's nothing like Powell's Books – one of the greatest places on Earth. I've never been to Utah, but if I go I'll be sure to check out Sam Wellers.

    My post on Powell's:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.