Cicada Books & Coffee – Huntington, West Virginia

Cicada Books & Coffee – Huntington, West Virginia

Nestled amid a row of quaint antique stores in Huntington, West Virginia’s Old Central City district, Cicada Books & Coffee is providing a welcome respite to visitors, while bringing a long-held family dream to fruition for mother-daughter owners Dawn and Katie Norman.  Owning and operating Cicada – a name which conjures a sense of rebirth and fresh starts – isn’t the first time the Normans have worked together, but it is a venture that has been a family dream for…

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COVID-19 Edition: Chop Suey Books – Richmond, Virginia

COVID-19 Edition: Chop Suey Books – Richmond, Virginia

While bookstore explorations are on pause, let’s look at how a Richmond staple is keeping books in the hands of customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Richmond, Virginia’s Chop Suey Books was named Virginia’s best bookstore in 2019 by MentalFloss, and it’s easy to see why. From an expansive inventory spanning two floors, a friendly staff, a cool vibe, a unique history, and a friendly bookshop cat, Chop Suey checks all the boxes of a fantastic indie.  The shop came by its…

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Riverrun Books – Greensboro, Pennsylvania

Riverrun Books – Greensboro, Pennsylvania

Tucked away on a quiet side street in Greensboro, Pennsylvania, is Riverrun Books, a gem of a used bookshop that has served its community for decades. I happened to be coming to the shop from a direction that led me, at times, along rather winding, narrow stretches of two-lane, small-town highway. “There’s a bookstore along this road?” my traveling companion asked aloud more than once.  Yes, there is, and it’s fantastic. I’ve noted several times throughout the blog that my…

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Taylor Books – Charleston, West Virginia

Taylor Books – Charleston, West Virginia

The word “homey” comes up more than once when asking staff and customers at Charleston, West Virginia’s Taylor Books to describe the bustling shop located in the capital city’s downtown shopping district.  “It has a homey feel,” says Aaron Justice, who works in the shop’s café. “You have everything here. The shop plays a big role in the community.” And he’s right. Opened in 1995 by local entrepreneur Ann Saville, a native of England, Taylor Books is the epitome of…

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Wonder Book & Video – Hagerstown, Maryland

Wonder Book & Video – Hagerstown, Maryland

Boasting over four million books across three retail locations, the aptly named Wonder Book & Video is indeed a wonder to behold. Wonder Book is a book lover’s paradise that has been serving the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area since 1980 and online audiences since 1997. I took a break from book signings in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia to hop across the Maryland border and check out the Hagerstown location. If wading through long, tall rows of books is your cup of tea, Wonder…

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The BiblioFiles: Gordon Simmons, Former Bookseller

The BiblioFiles: Gordon Simmons, Former Bookseller

In this excerpted essay from Bookstore Explorer: West Virginia, former bookseller Gordon Simmons recounts his years in the indie book trade at such Charleston, West Virginia landmarks as the former Major’s Bookstore and Trans Allegheny Books. Bookshop Memories, or Keeping the Aspidistra Flying It was probably around 1979, while working split shifts as a directory assistant operator at the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company on Lee Street in Charleston, West Virginia, that I first became a nearly daily regular in…

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Cathedral Café – Fayetteville, West Virginia

Cathedral Café – Fayetteville, West Virginia

Nestled in the New River Gorge region of southern West Virginia, the small town of Fayetteville draws tourists from all over the world looking to experience the outdoor adventure offerings boasted by the area, from rock climbing to hiking to whitewater rafting and more. And amid the downtown district’s eclectic array of boutiques, shops, and restaurants is the popular Cathedral Café, an eatery, juice bar, bookseller, and all-around community hub. Locals and tourists alike frequent the café, which offers an…

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Robie Books – Berea, Kentucky

Robie Books – Berea, Kentucky

Tucked into the small college town of Berea, Kentucky, is a jewel of an independent bookstore called Robie Books, a lovely shop selling new and used titles for nearly twenty years.  The shop opened its doors in 2002 as Robie and Robie: Fine Books. Owners Harry and Laura Robie opened the shop because of a love of both books and their Berea community, which at the time lacked an indie bookshop. Having retired from his job at nearby Berea College, Harry…

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Glover’s Bookery – Lexington, Kentucky

Glover’s Bookery – Lexington, Kentucky

For more than forty years, Glover’s Bookery has been providing Lexington, Kentucky’s book lovers with rare and vintage volumes. With over 80,000 titles spread across two levels, the shop has an expansive and impressive inventory spanning the genres, including specializations in such subject matter as horses, military history, and Kentucky culture. The shop, owned by John Glover, has been buying and selling antiquarian books since 1978. A great deal of the inventory at Glover’s is hardback, and there are plenty…

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Unique Books – Lexington, Kentucky

Unique Books – Lexington, Kentucky

Located in Lexington, Kentucky’s Woodland Triangle, just around the corner from Black Swan Books for you bookstore crawlers, is Unique Books, which features a large collection of used titles, as well as plenty of regional works. The shop was opened in the early 2000s by Kathy and Tom Rather. As its namesake implies, the origin of Unique Books is itself rather unique. “It all started because I was irritated with my kids,” Kathy told Smiley Pete Publishing in 2012. “They were voracious…

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