“You see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. They are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. They are, simply put, the best of places.”
― Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book
Bookshops are really and truly magical.
I’m fortunate to be able to frequent some seriously
Used bookstores are a fascinating combination of the scent of excited humans and the slightly mildewy smell of old paper. One thing I love about them is using mad detective skills while searching. There’s a sort of Indiana Jones feeling about it, never knowing what treasure you’ll find mixed in with dog eared paperbacks.
Right here in Manassas we have McKay’s. Y’all this place! From vinyl to blu ray discs, from board books for babies to fat biographies. McKay’s is our go to for donating and shopping. They’ll take your old books and give you store credit. (Much to Thing 2’s chagrin, you can’t use it to buy vinyl.) They also have this free bin out front, that if you time just right, is filled with the most random collection of books you can imagine. Occasionally I’ll choose some with cool fonts just to use for future projects. As a matter of fact, I have a stack under my work table, waiting for the perfect project.
I don’t get to Capital Hill Books as often as I’d like. But, it’s one of the coolest used bookshops I’ve ever entered. And the truth is one could actually get lost in this shop. Not because of the size, my God, it’s teeny and so packed with books you almost can’t get around them, much less other browsing humans, but because of the sheer volume of merchandise in the store! The owner is knowledgeable but crotchety, so be prepared to ask well thought out questions, he suffers no fools.
Prospero’s Books is here in Old Town Manassas. I don’t really like visiting this shop as much as McKay’s. There’s something about it that feels…well, off, somehow. I’m not sure how to explain it. I always feel like something bad is going to happen when I’m in there. But, it does have that delicious mildewy smell about it, and you know you’re in a building that’s seen a century of life in Manassas. This shop has an excellent first editions section, especially if you’re interested in the American Civil War.
Second Chapter Books in Middleburg, and Page Master Used Books in Front Royal are also good for a look.
In the five points area of Columbia (SC) there’s a little shop called Dr Books. Y’all this store has it’s own kitty! The people who run it have been doing so for a couple of generations. Eight or nine years ago, I was tickled to find a f.e. of Homage to Clio here for less than ten dollars!
Sometimes it’s simpler to get on the internet and search. I buy loads of books from both Abe Books and Alibris.
And while Amazon is handy for online shopping, and and B & N has a in store selection, I’m much more inclined to visit independent booksellers.
I adore Bard’s Alley! Vienna is a quick trip and grabbing a glass of wine and a snack in the bookshop is pretty much Heaven! The ladies here are well read and seriously helpful! I’ve been delighted by the books I’ve picked up in this shop. I swung by recently because I was early for an appointment and had just enough to browse, make a selection, and purchase before arriving on time at my appointment. Sometimes those are the best moments!
Politics and Prose has two locations in DC. The one at the recently revitalized Warf is chock full of great reads, fun little gifties and a knowledgeable and well read staff. They’re displays are playful and interesting. I love that! I think it makes it more of an adventure finding your next read! And I’m all about book adventures! The other location hosts some seriously cool authors on a fairly regular basis.
When spending time with Jessica, a trip to Kiawah to visit Indigo Books is always on the schedule. This shop has a small, but well thought out children’s section. The staff is helpful and can order pretty much anything into the store for pick up. This shop feels more casual than the ones in VA and DC, I mean of course it does! It’s on an island. It’s laid back atmosphere makes you want to search for beach reads and books to spark your imagination, but I’ve found some pretty cool serious reads there too. A mystery book for Thing 1’s Christmas Eve book came from this shop. My girl loves mysteries!
“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” – Stephen King
Dude knows what’s up.
I love to find my portable magic in these unique spaces!
Where do you get your book on?
What do you love about those spaces?
Let me know in the comments!