The Bookery – Lexington, Virginia

I was thrilled to discover The Bookery, a fantastic, mostly used bookshop, while passing through the quaint small town of Lexington, Virginia. Boasting over 50,000 new, used and rare books, The Bookery is the kind of shop a book lover can get lost in for hours. 

Smaller downtown storefronts often have to make the most of limited space. The Bookery does this by packing its tall shelves full but keeping things also well organized. Okay, mostly organized. Okay, somewhat organized! It’s what owner Marysue Forrest calls “organized chaos.” But she’s the kind of indie shopkeeper that can usually tell you if a book is available by memory alone.

This inventory knowledge is attributed in part to Forrest’s by-hand method of bookkeeping. Her old-school approach isn’t limited to stock. You won’t find a computer in The Bookery. A telephone is as high-tech an instrument she keeps around.

Forrest opened the shop 35 years ago. After growing up in Lexington, she moved around the nation as a military wife, eventually finding herself managing a chain bookstore shop in Dallas, Texas. That experience proved handy when, after moving back to Lexington, she befriended a couple who had initially started The Bookery. 

She quickly moved into a manager role at the shop, eventually took over as owner, and has been making The Bookery a Lexington staple for decades.

In addition to a wealth of books on any genre imaginable, The Bookery also specializes in newspapers, topographic maps and out-of-print searches. The tall shelves, large stacks and creatively organized stock – coupled with Forrest’s old-fashioned approach to shopkeeping – creates that classic used bookshop ambiance that is personally one of my favorites. 

The Bookery is located at 107 West Nelson Street, Lexington, Virginia. Open daily.

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