Octavia Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Octavia Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Located in uptown New Orleans, the charming Octavia Books was voted Best Locally Owned Bookstore in Gambit’s Best of New Orleans 2018 poll, and it isn’t difficult to see why.  The shop is beautifully decorated, impressively stocked with a wealth of genres, and operated by a friendly and well-read staff that is quick to offer a recommended read or a cool place to grab lunch. (I took them up on the latter during my afternoon visit.) Octavia Books was established by Tom…

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Garden District Book Shop – New Orleans, Louisiana

Garden District Book Shop – New Orleans, Louisiana

Located inside the historic Rink, at the corner of Washington Avenue and Prytania Street in the beautiful Garden District of New Orleans, is Garden District Book Shop. The quaint bookstore packs an impressive inventory of regional works, fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, art, gardening, and several other genres into a relatively small space lovingly adorned with literary posters and artwork.  Carrying mostly new books, with some used titles here and there, one of the most impressive things about Garden District Book Shop…

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Crescent City Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Crescent City Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans’s Crescent City Books specializes in vintage, rare, and out-of-print books, plus antique prints and maps from around the world. The shop opened in 1992 and moved to its current location, across from the famous Roosevelt Hotel, in 2010. With section titles such as “Creative Non-fiction” and “Esoteric,” the shop’s inventory is vast, varied, and nicely organized throughout the large shop. Book-themed quotes are hanging throughout, as is a variety of beautiful artwork and prints. Near the back is…

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Beckham’s Bookshop – New Orleans, Louisiana

Beckham’s Bookshop – New Orleans, Louisiana

Among the oldest independent bookstores in New Orleans is the fantastic Beckham’s Bookshop, a secondhand store that has supplied the French Quarter with books for five decades. Originally opened in 1967, Beckham’s has been operating out of its current location since 1979 by owners Carey Beckham and Alton Cook. Inside the large space, customers will find more than 60,000 titles spanning multiple genres, spread out over two spacious floors. As its website states, almost no genre isn’t accounted for: history, music,…

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Faulkner House Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Faulkner House Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Tucked into an unassuming storefront along Pirate’s Alley in New Orleans’s French Quarter is Faulkner House Books, a small, charming shop that has more than once found itself listed among the country’s best bookstores. It is a distinction that is well deserved. Stepping into the space, customers are greeted with beautiful, tall shelves lined with fiction, non-fiction, local interest, and classics, among other genres. A few smaller displays pepper the tight but not cramped-feeling space, and a center table includes featured…

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Blue Cypress Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

Blue Cypress Books – New Orleans, Louisiana

I visited several shops on my recent New Orleans bookstore crawl and found something to love about each of them. One of the most interesting aspects of the indie bookstore scene in the Big Easy is the uniqueness of each shop – and there are several. From the clean, crisp inventory of new books at shops like Octavia Books to the treasure trove of vintage books on Jenga-like display at Arcadian, each bookshop is full of its own singular charm…

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Arcadian Books and Prints – New Orleans, Louisiana

Arcadian Books and Prints – New Orleans, Louisiana

Russell Desmond, proprietor of Arcadian Books and Prints in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been called a magician, seemingly able conjure a book just by saying its name. If you’ve ever stepped inside his exceedingly crammed, cluttered (in the best sense of the words) shop, you’ll understand that this is no small feat. The small space is, quite literally, chock full of floor to near-ceiling stacks of books that are piled around the shop, creating a mazelike navigation that leaves very…

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Book & Bean – Bridgeport, West Virginia

Book & Bean – Bridgeport, West Virginia

Shoppers at the popular Bridgeport Farmers Market in Bridgeport, West Virginia, can stock up on books along with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and locally made crafts. The Book & Bean has become a market staple since it was added to the market five years ago, offering a small but handpicked selection of cookbooks, food-related books, West Virginia authors, and children’s titles.  “We want books that are appropriate to the audience of a farmers market,” says market founder Debbie Workman, who…

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Book Lover’s Warehouse – Johnson City, Tennessee

Book Lover’s Warehouse – Johnson City, Tennessee

Book Lover’s Warehouse in Johnson City, Tennessee, is perhaps the most appropriately named bookstore I’ve yet to find on my journey. The warehouse-sized store is large enough to be an antique mall, and in some ways perhaps it is. In addition to a wide variety of used (and some new) books of all genres and ages, the massive space is also chock full of records, CDs, DVDs, cassettes, artwork, antiques, dolls, and other knickknacks.  The shop’s Facebook page refers to…

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Downtown Books & News – Asheville, North Carolina

Downtown Books & News – Asheville, North Carolina

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…

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