Bookstore. Newsstand. Magazine and comic shop. Fine art gallery. Asheville, North Carolina’s Downtown Books & News covers a lot of ground – and does it quite well.
Downtown Books & News was certainly one of the most interesting and diverse shops I visited on my recent Asheville bookstore crawl. The shop has a vast inventory of used and rare books covering all of the expected genres, but doesn’t stop there. The shop also carries an array of both regional and national newspapers and specialty papers — from The Asheville Citizen-Times to the USA Today to The Guardian Weekly. And, as its website notes, “oodles” of magazines on a variety of interesting topics, from almanacs and architecture to politics, music, tattoos, LGBTQ issues, yoga, and pets. There’s also a well-stocked rack of zines.
The shop was founded in 1988 by Emoke B’Racz, who also founded nearby bookstore Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café. While Malaprop’s specializes in new inventory, B’Racz opened Downtown Books & News in response to local demand at the time for used books.
“We created a place with gently-used books, newspapers, and magazines,” she said of the shop in a news release earlier this year, which announced that veteran Malaprop’s employee Gretchen Horn became majority owner of both shops’ parent company, Renaissance Bookfarm, Inc. B’Racz remains on as founder and minority share owner.
While the city has since seen the arrival of plenty of additional venues for purchasing used books, Downtown Books & News remains a vibrant, eclectic, and well-stocked option that is definitely worth checking out.
Downtown Books & News is located at 67 North Lexington Avenue, Asheville, North Carolina. The shop is open daily.