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Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Mechanicsburg Mystery Book Shop – Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania

Debbie Beamer, owner of Mechanicsburg Mystery Bookshop in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, turned a lifetime love of mystery novels into a successful business that has kept readers flipping pages for decades. Since 1990, her mystery-themed bookshop has been providing customers with the best whodunits you can find on a shelf.  I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and oftentimes the cozier the better. From the classics like Sherlock Holmes to more modern series like Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache novels – and even the books…

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Main Street Books – Frostburg, Maryland

Main Street Books – Frostburg, Maryland

Fred Powell has owned and operated Main Street Books in Frostburg, Maryland, for more than 30 years. So what keeps him going after so long? “I can’t find anybody else to take it over,” he says with a laugh. But he’s only kidding. It’s a passion for books that has kept Main Street Books a thriving part of Frostburg’s downtown district since 1989.  That’s not to mention a consistent willingness to grow the business and enduring community support. “It sounds overused, but…

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Otto Bookstore – Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Otto Bookstore – Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Little did I know when I stepped into Otto Bookstore in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, that I was stepping into a landmark. Dating back to 1841, the Otto Bookstore is America’s oldest independently owned bookstore and has served its community for generations.  The shop’s website details its rich history and the multiple locations at which it has stood over the years – an interesting read that dated the shop’s origins even further back than present owner Betsy Rider originally thought.  The impressive origins were…

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Cupboard Maker Books – Enola, Pennsylvania

Cupboard Maker Books – Enola, Pennsylvania

Cupboard Maker Books in Enola, Pennsylvania, is a work of art – literally. The exterior of the massive shop is adorned with a colorful bookshelf mural, depicting the spines of many a classic. And the artistry doesn’t stop once you step inside. Handwritten customer messages adorn the shelves (“You guys have opened so many doors for me and I love it,” read one) and a Yellow Brick Road painted on the floor winds its way to a large Emerald City mural….

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Liberty Book Shop – Avis, Pennsylvania

Liberty Book Shop – Avis, Pennsylvania

Have you ever wanted to spend the night in a bookstore? If so, make you way to Liberty Book Shop in Avis, Pennsylvania, for an Airbnb stay like no other. The shop is located in a former church, and owner Linda Roller, who lives in the attached parsonage, rents out her spare room, providing guests 24-hour access to roam the store and explore the vast inventory of used and rare books. I recently spent a couple nights enjoying Linda’s hospitality…

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Books ‘N Friends – Sparta, North Carolina

Books ‘N Friends – Sparta, North Carolina

Sometimes it’s the shops you find by accident that are the most memorable. My gas tank was nearing empty when, after miles of two-lane country road, I reached the small town of Sparta, North Carolina, and saw an Exxon sign out of the corner of my eye. Little did I know, an even more exciting sign beckoned at a shop down the block. That’s how I discovered Books ‘N Friends Used Book Store. Narrow storefronts can be deceiving. I stepped…

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Pages Books & Coffee – Mount Airy, North Carolina

Pages Books & Coffee – Mount Airy, North Carolina

Mount Airy, North Carolina, is a bustling community. The hometown of beloved actor Andy Griffith, and the inspiration for Mayberry, the town famously portrayed in the TV series The Andy Griffith Show, the town capitalizes on the connection with a vibrant downtown district full of restaurants, boutiques, souvenir shops, and even a museum all with a Mayberry theme.  While the show was a mainstay in my household as a kid, it wasn’t nostalgia that lured me to the area. It was Pages…

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Foggy Pine Books – Boone, North Carolina

Foggy Pine Books – Boone, North Carolina

“A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.” This Henry Miller quote is listed in the Who We Are section of the Foggy Pine Books website. The Boone, North Carolina, shop is a warm, inviting, eclectic space boasting a carefully curated selection of books and gifts for readers of all kinds.  The shop opened in…

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Appalachian Books – Norton, Virginia

Appalachian Books – Norton, Virginia

Carlie and Lloyd Tomlinson had a very eventful 2020. The couple married, moved, bought a house, and opened Appalachian Books in Norton, Virginia, all in the span of a few months. It was a goal that they imagined would take years, until serendipity – and the COVID-19 pandemic – altered their plans. When the pandemic led Carlie to be furloughed from her job, and thwarted their planned honeymoon, the couple found themselves staying with Lloyd’s parents in Lee County, Virginia. “We were…

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Oracle Books – Wytheville, Virginia

Oracle Books – Wytheville, Virginia

Randy Shell, owner of Oracle Books in Wytheville, Virginia, had a simple yet potent mission when opening the used book and record shop in late 2018.  “People asked me, do you really want to open a bookstore? Can you make a living?” he says. “I said I’m not looking for a living, I’m looking for a lifestyle.” And, in that regard, he appears to be succeeding in spades. Upon entry to the downtown shop, Randy greeted me with a friendly smile, a…

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