Regular readers of Bookstore Explorer know I love a good used book shop, although when I actually began thinking about how I define “good,” I wasn’t necessarily sure. A trip to Speaking Volumes in Burlington, Vermont, however, has helped to provide some clarity. The inventory is vast and varied, covering genres across the literary spectrum. Décor is eclectic and spirited, resulting in what the shop’s website calls a “cozy living room atmosphere.” The shelves are tall and jam-packed with used and vintage fare. The layout of the space is organized enough to find what you’re looking for, but just cluttered enough to make for a thrilling hunt.
The more I considered these aspects of Speaking Volumes, the more I loved it. It is all of these things and more (the “more” meaning there’s also antiques, artwork, audio equipment repair, and a huge selection of excellent vinyl records).
Speaking Volumes was opened in 2006 by Austrian native Norbert Ender as a side project of his Austro Antiques online retail business. The shop has evolved over the years to now offer what it calls “one of the most diverse collections of vinyl records and gently used books in the greater Burlington area.”
Speaking Volumes recently expanded into a second location across the street from the original shop. So at the original Pine Street location, shoppers will find the used books, art, and antiques. A stone’s throw away at the Marble Avenue location is the shop’s collection of vinyl records, which is as vast as the book inventory, as well as audio equipment, vintage apparel, and even some additional books. Audio equipment repairs are also done at the second location.
If two physical storefronts aren’t enough, Speaking Volumes is active online, with a vibrant social media presence (including instructional YouTube vidoes), website, and online stores through Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Discogs and more.
But, trust me: the physical locations are worth your time and effort.
Speaking Volumes is located at 377 Pine Street and 7 Marble Avenue, Burlington, Vermont. Open daily.