Antiquarian Book Mart – San Antonio, Texas

Antiquarian Book Mart – San Antonio, Texas

I wasn’t expecting to find a connection to my Appalachian home state in San Antonio, Texas, but that’s exactly what I found in Bob Kellel, proprietor of Antiquarian Book Mart. When he spotted my West Virginia alma mater’s t-shirt, he informed me that he lived for a time in a small town in the southern part of the state called Williamson.  “I grew up about twenty minutes from there,” I said, most likely beaming at discovering a little connection to…

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Paperback Exchange – Lancaster, Ohio

Paperback Exchange – Lancaster, Ohio

Some of my favorite bookstore explorations have begun quite by accident, when I’ve been driving along a downtown street and happen upon a bookshop that I wasn’t expecting. Such was the case with Paperback Exchange, which I discovered while en route from Columbus to Athens, Ohio, and happened to pass through the small town of Lancaster. A large, vintage metal sign reading “BOOKS” appeared on a quiet street corner, luring me inside. “Isn’t it fantastic?” said shop owner Leanne McClellan…

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Homeward Bound Books – Charleston, West Virginia

Homeward Bound Books – Charleston, West Virginia

An intriguing take on the indie bookstore emerged in the backroom of Sullivan’s Records in Charleston, West Virginia, when, in early 2017, bibliophile Joe Solomon approached shop owner Samuel Lowe about opening a “book nook” inside the shop. It was a unique idea that has since led to as many as a dozen nooks across several counties throughout the state. Known as Homeward Bound Books, the nooks are as small as one or two shelves or, as in the Sullivan’s…

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Paragraphs Bookstore – Mount Vernon, Ohio

Paragraphs Bookstore – Mount Vernon, Ohio

Looking for something creative to do with damaged or unwanted books? Paragraphs Bookstore in Mount Vernon, Ohio, has some ideas. The shop displays book art by a local teacher, including a book wreath that proved so popular the shop has begun holding workshops to teach curious customers how to make their own. “I thought we were going to blow all the fuses, because we had ten glue guns going at once,” jokes bookseller Jordan Shremshock when discussing the first wreath-making…

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Two Dollar Radio Headquarters – Columbus, Ohio

Two Dollar Radio Headquarters – Columbus, Ohio

One of the more pleasant takeaways from my recent trek along the Columbus Bookshop Crawl on Independent Bookstore Day (aside from a trunk-load of books) was experiencing the camaraderie and support shared among the city’s booksellers. More than once, a shop owner or clerk would ask, when hearing that I was doing the crawl, “Have you been to Two Dollar Radio Headquarters yet? It’s so cool!” While I wasn’t familiar with the establishment – and wasn’t quite sure what to expect…

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Prologue Bookshop – Columbus, Ohio

Prologue Bookshop – Columbus, Ohio

When computer scientist Dan Brewster opened Prologue Bookshop last fall, in Columbus’s popular Short North district, he had certainly done his homework. After attending a sort-of “bookstore boot camp” cosponsored by the American Booksellers Association and hiring a bookstore-specific team to design the space, Prologue opened its doors to a welcoming community and filled a void that had existed for more than a decade. While the Short North is rife with boutique shopping and unique dining experiences that draw tourists…

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Gramercy Books – Bexley, Ohio

Gramercy Books – Bexley, Ohio

Gramercy Books, located in the charming Bexley neighborhood near Columbus, Ohio, has established a loyal following in a relatively short existence, thanks in part to a prime location, an impressive selection of titles, and owners who know a thing or two about the business of books.

Capitol Hill Books – Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill Books – Washington, D.C.

An impressive collection of new and used books, friendly and knowledgeable staff members, and a wicked sense of humor help Capitol Hill Books stand out against its Washington, D.C, contemporaries.  Located in D.C.’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood, the shop has been a fixture for nearly three decades, opening in 1991 by Bill Kerr, a former bookstore employee who’d been known to take his paycheck in books. Bill lived upstairs and worked downstairs in the shop, in addition to holding down…

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