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Favorites! > What's your favorite bookstore/library like?

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Feb 06, 2008 05:13PM) (new)

RandomAnthony What's your favorite bookstore and/or library like?

I was thinking about this in the Milwaukee Airport yesterday. The Milwaukee Airport has a used bookstore...a longtime tenant that has held on to its space forever. It's a solid bookstore that doesn't feel like it's in an airport at all...the space smells of dust and books (see the "book fragrance" thread for more details on that issue, ha). What a great store for an airport.

Anyway, my favorite used book store is the Half-Priced Books on the north side of Milwaukee. I guess it's the only used bookstore within driving distance, so the competition isn't exactly fierce for the "favorite bookstore" title (unlike in Chicago, where I grew up), but I would still like the space even if other used bookstores were nearby. The selection is strong, the decor low-key, and the vibe very mellow.

My favorite library is my local library...huge windows, a couple chairs hidden in corners, a "quiet" room with cool lamps, and most of the librarians know me well enough to pull my reserved books when they see me coming before I even reach the checkout desk. They're friendly, too. For what more can you ask? Someday I want to be one of those ancient guys who seems to be at the library every waking hour.

message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy (ldtchr) | 33 comments Milwaukee - thank you!! I was thinking that I was in the Minneapolis airport once and that was where it was, but I'm pretty sure I was rerouted though Milwaukee once and I fell in love what that bookstore too right away (if it's the same one)!!

I don't have another favorite used bookstore yet - had one but it closed a few years ago.

message 3: by Lisa (last edited Feb 08, 2008 04:36AM) (new)

Lisa | 42 comments My favorite used bookstore was a little shop called "For the Love of books". It used to be in Covington KY but it closed and recently, to my delight, I found it reopened in a nearby city. I have yet to get back to it, but the old store was a tiny hole in the wall sort of place just big enough for a few rows of shelves and the checkout. He had a display case of first additions that I remember my husband drooling over.
My favorite library was at the college I went to in Virginia. It was 2 stories of books which I haven't seen the comparison to since. My public library here in Kentucky is very small, and doesn't have lots of the titles I want to read so I sometimes go to the library in another county instead.

message 4: by Kenzie (new)

Kenzie I love Borders and Barnes and Noble, but pretty much any store that sells books is good for me.

message 5: by Matthew (new)

Matthew | 13 comments If anyone in the Denver Area has not been to The Tattered Cover on Colfax get down there immediatedly. I feel like i have died and gone to heaven everytime i walk into that place. And seeing as i only make it there about once a year if that, it really takes on religeous connotations for me.

I also want to say i have my own dream of moving to a small mtn town here in Montana that will remain nameless (dont want anyone else knowing about it and moveing in...stay away!) and opening up a book / coffee shop in their historic downtown right next to the worlds best candy store.

message 6: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne (suzie-q) | 3 comments I don't really have a favorite bookstore, but I do stop in every single one I see...(So sad!). But I do have a favorite library, or at least, I did. It was in downtown Ocala; dark and quiet with shelves and shelves of books. You could get lost in there within minutes...My mom took us all there as kids...they had crafts and storytelling...It was a weekly thing for my family. Unfortunately, they built a newer, "better" one and closed mine down. I really don't go to the new one anymore though...It can't compare with the one from my childhood...

message 7: by Elyse (new)

Elyse (elysedraper) | 6 comments I have to agree The Tattered Cover is incredible, an orgasmic experience absolutely. The smell of all those unruffled pages intermingling with the sweat and dream of yet to be discovered authors is breath taking. I don't know if you know this or not but the Tattered Cover has a policy to help put just about any author, who sends them their work, on their shelves. It is an amazing place to find talented new comers and unknown first editions alike.

message 8: by Rachael (new)

Rachael | 11 comments My favorite bookstore is the South Hills Barnes and Noble. My favorite library is my local library.

message 9: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (dwell_ondreams) | 12 comments My favorite library is the one I grew up with. They're a small town library & they always had what I wanted. After they joined up with the other libraries in a new (well, new in the 1990's) exchange system it was even better. My current local library sucks, they never have anything I want. *sigh*

My favorite bookstore is Half Price Books. Though any used bookstore is wonderful. I can't afford Barnes & Noble ect, but I enjoy going in for the "new book smell" & to browse for new authors or new books from authors I already like/love. :)

message 10: by Tana (new)

Tana Harrison I love our local used book store. It is next door to a chocolate company. I just love to browse the aisles and then go next door for treats.

message 11: by Mandy (new)

Mandy All of these sound great. It seems as though the bookstores over there are so inviting, comfortable, somewhere you could lose yourself for hours. Unfortunately that's not how things are over in Australia. I try not to go to the bookstores if I can help it, they're just not relaxing enough. I wish we'd get better stores over here.

message 12: by Mandy (new)

Mandy P.S. If anybody does know of a good bookstore in Perth, Australia please let me know :-)

message 13: by Beth (new)

Beth Like Tana, one of my favorite bookstores in located near a chocolate store. Book Sleuth in funky Manitou Springs, CO, a used/new mystery bookstore whose owner can find any mystery you're looking for, is across the street from a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store, my all-time favorite chocolate supplier!

message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreag) | 27 comments The Tattered Cover is also one of my favorites, though I was most familiar with their Cherry Creek location. I moved away from Colorado about 8 years ago, so I haven't even been to the Colfax location.

Powell's Books is my favorite place to buy books online. (and another really good bricks and mortar store.)

My favorite place to buy mystery books is from the Rue Morgue Press. The folks who run this used to run a mystery books store in Boulder, CO by the same name. They sold the bookstore, but have gotten into the business of bringing old out of print mysteries back into print. If you like cosies or old British mysteries check them out. They send out a regular newsletter that's full of reviews for both their books and other good mysteries that are sometimes impossible to find in the large chain bookstores.

I also love a good used bookstore, preferably in an old house with small rooms crammed floor to ceiling with bookshelves and piles of books. A used bookstore with a good selection in a strip mall is fine, but the atmosphere of a funky store just makes the whole experience.

I once ran across a used bookstore somewhere in upstate New York (I think) that was in an old barn. It was rambling and fabulous.

message 15: by Elyse (last edited Feb 12, 2008 10:19AM) (new)

Elyse (elysedraper) | 6 comments Hello Andrea; here's the scoop on the Tattered Cover: A few years ago they closed the Cherry Creek store due to lack of parking. Cherry Creek was horror stricken by the loss...especially when a strip club started looking at the property. The good news is though they have the Colfax store now and one in LoDo and Highland Ranch.

I agree one of the most incredible atmospheres to walk into is the chaos of a well stocked used book store.

message 16: by Andrea (new)

Andrea (andreag) | 27 comments I'll have to check out the new Tattered Cover location the next time I get back to Denver. (Maybe this spring for my 20 year college reunion... :^P)

I used to plan my trips to the TC to get there no more than 2 hours before they closed - to limit my book buying. I'd spend most of my time in their bargain book section. On a good day I'd only spend $70.... on a really good day over $100 (back when $70 bought more than 3 hardbacks). Usually I ended up with their big paper bag full of books.

4 stories of books...helpful, knowledgeable staff, comfortable chair, well thought out displays for good browsing.... talk about a booklovers dream... In my version of heaven, the bookstore looks a lot like the old Tattered Cover. Uhh oh.... I must be getting old, I'm waxing nostalgic.

message 17: by Charity (last edited Feb 13, 2008 07:29AM) (new)

Charity (charityross) Lynn...

My favorite used bookstore is HPB, too! I also live in the Columbus area...which HPB do you frequent? I usually shop at the Lane Ave. store...and I worked there for about 2 1/2 years (many years ago) I tend to hang out and chat about whatever I'm buying with the people I used to work with.

However, my favorite (new books) bookstore is The Book Loft in German Village. I have never seen its equal! Originally the location held a few general stores, a saloon, and a nickelodeon cinema. Now it has been converted into The Book Loft, which is a city-block long and has 32 rooms. The layout is VERY strange and books are filed into every nook and cranny. Exploring the store is half the fun! Whenever I take people to The Book Loft, they are always amazed and instantly declare it as their favorite bookstore of all time. Such a neat place!! Here is their website:

My favorite library is my local library in Grandview Heights (Was that the same library you were describing, Lynn? Because it sounds very similar). The library always has great activities going on for young kids, teens, and adults. They keep everyone interested and entertained. My favorite time at the library is when they have music on the lawn in the summer. It seems like the whole town turns out. My family must go to the library at least twice a week. Such an inviting atmosphere!

message 18: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (dwell_ondreams) | 12 comments I used to work at Half Price as well, though I'm from the Cleveland area (just down here for OSU), so I worked up there. Down here, I go to the Lane store & the one on High Street, though not often because I always buy something. I'm actually hoping one of them is hiring, I need a job & Half Price was by far the best job I've ever had (plus I get that fantastic discount). My favorite library is up in the Cleveland area as well, I grew up in that library. It's about 30 miles away from where my parents currently live (which is about 20 miles away from Cleveland), so I don't go out there very often, but most of the librarians still remember me! I love that place! Plenty of happy memories. :)

I love The Book Loft! I've only been there once. It's the kind of place I need money for. Lots of money (just like Half Price).

I count the entire Columbus Metropolitan Library system as crap. I had much better luck with the Clevenet library system up north. I've found a few branches that I like because of atmosphere ect, but a lot of the time I can't find what I'm looking for. Though the main library is beautiful! I've only been in there once, but it's a cool building (though, again, I think the Cleveland Library is prettier. I like Cleveland a lot more than I thought I did!)

message 19: by Charity (new)

Charity (charityross) You should check out the Grandview Public Library since you are at OSU. It is pretty close to OSU's campus (about 3 minutes) and it is NOT part of the Columbus Met system. Check out their website and see if you would rather go through them:

Some of my friend have moved away from Grandview, but still patronize GHPL because they have the same feelings you do about Columbus Met. Ironically enough, I heard on the radio that the Columbus Met was ranked the number one library system in the country. I said, 'What??' Four other Ohio library systems ranked in the top 10, including Cleveland's.

The last time I was at the Lane HPB store, they said they were looking to hire. I would definitely stop by and talk to them. I'm sure they would be thrilled to have a former HPB employee rejoin the staff. And I agree, it was the best job I ever had, too!

message 20: by Carol (new)

Carol Evans | 13 comments When I lived in Cols, I loved the Book Loft, too.

message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

i almost forgot
there is a tiny basement bookstore
or there used to be
in Manchester, NH either across the street from the jail or courthouse or very close
(big grey granite buildings downtown)
and it is packed full (yet neatly) of mostly old books
my find, thoreaus leather covered treatise on friendship

message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth my favorite bookstore is Annie's in (South) Nashua New Hampshire. It's tiny, no bigger than my apartment but it's got shelves lining all the walls, and the shelves in the middle are maze-like. In the middle of the store, they have this bucket shaped like a boat full of bargains. It's easy to lose all track of time.

My favorite library is probably the Worcester Public Library in Worcester Massachusetts. Three stories of BOOKS.

message 23: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie | 1 comments My favorite place is similiar, it is a hole in the wall. It is called the book exchange in Baltimore, MD. It is completely free! It is nonprofit and only open on weekends. It is completed run by volunteers and donations. You can bring books and you can take as many as you want, only stipulation is you can not re-sale the books. I love it.

message 24: by Emma (new)

Emma (elpryan) My favorite is the Strand in NYC. Their slogan is "18 miles of books" - you can imagine how much time you can spend in there. The prices are great too - discounted new and used.

I'm flying home through milwaukee this summer and looking forward to checking out the store there on my layover!

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Here in Toledo, OH we have a used bookstore called Frogtown books. It is a small shop stacked floor to ceiling. I wish they had more room, but it is a fun place to visit. We have a new startup called Encore Books. They don't have too much yet, and I hope they can make a go of it.

I am not a real fan of the large commercial chain bookstores. Can someone tell me why? It is more of a feeling than a physical thing. I just feel like I don't belong in them. I usually only go in to buy a gift and scram out of there.

The Book Loft in Columbus sounds like a great place to visit. Maybe this summer....

Most all the libraries in the Toledo area have been rebuilt or remodeled. They are nice, but don't have much of the library feel that the older buildings had. Seems they are geared more towards the multimedia than they are to books. Most people are at the computers surfing the Net. The books are on cold metal shelving instead of wood. It sounds petty, but that stuff makes a difference.

message 26: by Clackamas (new)

Clackamas Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, OR is my absolutely favorite bookstore. It's much smaller than the downtown Portland Powell’s, but still has plenty of selection. I also order a lot of books from the online and save postage by picking them up there. That way if it’s something at one of the other locations, I don't have to run all over town.

One of our favorite family activities during the wet months is hang out at Powell’s until nearly closing. We grab a couple of books and sit over in the fantasy/sci-fi section reading. Near closing time, the furry people that tend to show up. We both enjoy striking up conversations with the people who are afraid to talk... generally if it's about books, they'll venture a bit out of their shells. It's good fun.

As for libraries, the Newberg Public Library has events for everything. They do midnight parties for big book releases, have a banned books shelf in the kids section, and of course celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday with a sleepover in the library. How cool is that? They truly want to turn people into lifelong readers.

message 27: by Connie (last edited Mar 27, 2008 04:00PM) (new)

Connie | 4 comments I don't know that I have a favorite. I like anyplace with a fireplace and window and mood, and a good comfortable chair or couch or beach or mountain. I'm not picky. Home is OK too

However, has anyone seen the library in The Biltmore Estate, that took my breath away, something about the old world ambience, the isolation with a world of leather bound books, and the splendid view of mountains. That might just be in my heaven.

I liked the Barnes and Noble bookstore on the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and a little bookstore in Georgetown, DC, just on O or P street, forget which, it has little connecting tiny rooms on multiple levels, with ladders and interesting books.

I also liked Georgetown University Library, very old and Va Tech Library in the bridge over the street.

message 28: by Jo (new)

Jo | 6 comments I love, love, love The Strand in NYC. There is so much and it is so big that it can be overwhelming.
I love and support all independent bookstores.

message 29: by Jo (new)

Jo | 6 comments How could I forget Kitchen Arts & Letters. A bookstore devoted to cookbooks and all things food. Again, when I am there I get overwhelmed.

message 30: by Veronica (new)

Veronica (v_a_b) My favorite library is the one that I go to all the time. I like it because it has books, and thats pretty much it.

message 31: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ i love going to the library and i just got a job there (yaaay!!!). i also love going to the book store. whenever we get out of school early, me and my friends always go to the bookstore in the center of town. we spend hours there, just looking at books and talking about them.

message 32: by Lynn (new)

Lynn (dwell_ondreams) | 12 comments Charity -

Sorry, didn't catch your other message until now. Thanks for the link, I'll definitely check out the Grandview Library.

I don't understand how Columbus could rank #1 for library systems. They have NOTHING.

Thanks for the heads up about Half Price - they probably already hired someone, but it doesn't hurt to check. :)

message 33: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 4 comments I love just about anywhere that I can get books...the library...Goodwill...Borders...but I did want to post that I recently visited Wes's bookstore here in Concord!! I found it very charming...more than I expected from it is filled from floor to ceiling with books...little aisles here and there...and even a chair to sit in..and a chair back in the kids Wes!! Thanks for providing a quaint little used book store for the area!!

message 34: by Wes, Moderator (new)

Wes (pricerightbooks) | 473 comments Mod
a tear trickles endlessly from my cheek.
Georgia for stopping by PRICE RIGHT BOOKS

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

point loma used book store in san diego is similar to wes's it sounds like
great used books on everything
and can't be beat prices, floor to ceiling books and a couple of comfy chairs in the back
i bought the columbia river book there for $7.50 and he had a coffee table grandma moses that he was sick of kicking around
i got it for 67 cents (all the change i had after the first purchase and in the bottom of my purse) :)

message 36: by Georgia (new)

Georgia (wait4utopia) | 4 comments And I will be back!!! Next time hopefully with some contributions to your shop, as well as some extra time to spend and peruse some more!!


message 37: by Christopher (last edited Apr 21, 2008 12:00PM) (new)

Christopher (cmkeel) | 12 comments I love bookstores in general, but, of course, my favorite are used bookstores. I just can't get enough of them! I am like the one person who posted earlier that said she stopped at everyone she ran across. That's me!

There are two in particular that I enjoy going too as often as I can afford. I've learned to stay out of bookstore if I don't have the money cause regardless, I can not walk out of one empty handed. The two I most enjoy are:

Rainy Day Used Books in downtown Salisbury, NC.


The Book Shop in Morehead City, NC.

Both bookstores have very pleasant atmospheres where you can purchase a coffee and sit down and thumb through prospective buys, or even play games with other patrons. I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere of both stores and the smell of used books. There is nothing like it!

My favorite Library is the seminary library of Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am a religion nut. This seminary is a relatively liberal one, so they have very diverse holdings. I could literally spend hours there on Saturdays because it was open to the public. That is the single most important thing I miss about living close to Indianapolis.

message 38: by Mike (new)

Mike | 6 comments Does anyone have a favorite good bookstore to recommend in the Raleigh-Durham area? Planning to visit there soon and will need some book browsing time.

message 39: by Connie (new)

Connie | 4 comments Hi, Mike, this is my stomping ground, so I'll reply to your question on bookstores. I love good bookstores, but I don't know of any with personality in the area. They may be here and I just don't know them. I usually go to the Barnes and Noble at Southpoint Mall or the one on 15-501 between Chapel Hill and Durham at New Hope Commons. They have the most books and chairs you can sit in, Southpoint has more comfortable chairs, so I like it the best of the two.

Let me know if you find any other places with more personality.

Good luck

message 40: by Dianne (new)

Dianne Ascroft | 8 comments My favourite bookshop is Borders in Glasgow. For years we didn't live near a decent bookshop and I was overawed when I saw the size of this shop - and it's filled with everything imaginable. I just wander from floor to floor and lose track of time....They also have a fantastic magazine selection - I always get what I want there.

Dianne Ascroft, 'Hitler and Mars Bars'

message 41: by Bluedaizy (last edited Jul 21, 2008 06:06PM) (new)

Bluedaizy | 12 comments I don't really have a favorite bookstore, but have a dream about someday owning/running one. It would be in a 3 - 4 story house. I would live on the top floor and all the lower floors would be dedicated to books. It would be dark and atmosphery (new word!) with the fireplaces, deep chairs, fragrant coffee, and, yes, lots of CATS! Oh sweet heaven. I'm dreaming about it now...I would just shut the place up if I felt like it and read. Can you hear the thunderstorms outside with the rain hitting the panes of glass in the windows? (shudders in delight at the thought!)

My favorite online bookstore is

My favorite library is the Indianapolis Central Library off Meridian somewhere. It's beautiful and old. What a combo!

message 42: by Mindy (new)

Mindy Sullivan (melindasullivan) | 8 comments That sounds sooooo lovely....I love books, I love cats and I love fireplaces....WOULD YOU HIRE ME????? :-)


message 43: by Tom (new)

Tom Walsh (teew) All these sound inviting! My favorite used to be in downtown Philadelphia: Leary's Book Store. Next to it, there was a little cobblestone alley. They took the spill of used books and displayed them with old world charm: in stalls, with rows and rows to browse on a rainy afternoon.

message 44: by Bluedaizy (new)

Bluedaizy | 12 comments In a heartbeat, Mindy! Only people who love atmosphere, cats and books need apply or visit! :) And we'll take lots of coffee/tea breaks!

message 45: by jennifer (new)

jennifer (mascarawand) | 27 comments In Phoenix I shop at a huge used bookstore called Bookman's. They have a location in Flagstaff also.
In San Francisco I always hit City Lights, which has a good selection of books on the theatre and all the Jim Thompsons I could want. On my last trip I discovered The Alexander Book Shop, which employs a remarkable woman who seems to have read any book you're searching for.

Ashley (bookworm84) (bookworm84) I live in Ontario, Canada and I frequent the Newmarket library on a weekly (sometimes more haha) basis. I love the library. It's big and spacious, has gigantic tinted windows and has a place where you could read if needed. When I was in school I spent countless hours in the library studying and doing research. I found it a place I could go to get away from the distractions of my home (internet and telephone) and it allowed me to get work done. I still refer to my corner in the library where I used to study as my corner :)

I also go to Chapters to buy books (not so much anymore. I can't afford my reading addiction lol so I use the library more. It's just like any standard bookstore. I like to go to the used bookstore as well. I like the fact that I can buy a hardcover in near pristine condition for $10 or less.

message 47: by Annet (new)

Annet (abpg) | 6 comments My ideal bookstore....
It's a place where I can wonder round the shelves for hours and hours and find books which are on my wish list, but also books which are just appealing... the store has to be organised and yet not so organised so you have to find your way around and discover... But whatever bookstore it is, I always tend to walk away buying a whole pile of books. It's dangerous to put me in a book store if you are in a rush! There's a good chance you have to drag me out. I can spend the whole day wandering in a nice bookstore.... :-)
One bookstore that springs to mind which I really liked is the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. Lovely place.

message 48: by Emma (last edited Sep 07, 2008 06:59PM) (new)

Emma I like different bookstores for different things. My two favourites are probably Munro's Books in Victoria, BC, and The Book Warehouse. Munro's is gorgeous. And it's wonderful to just wander around in as it has a great selection. But the Book Warehouse usually has the best prices.

message 49: by Liz (new)

Liz (busy91) I prefer B&N over Borders. In NYC you have so many B&N stores it is hard to pick a favorite store. I also don't spend much time in libraries. I order my books on-line for the library and go and pick them up. We have the Mid-Manhattan library but there are so many strange people roaming around that place it is somewhere I don't want to spend any more time then I have to.

Southernbelle0326 | 13 comments My favorite bookstore is Barnes and Nobles. My second favorite bookstore is Books A Million.

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