Bookstores are some of my favorite places! I started this list as part of my 2013-2014 Year Project and thought it would be fun to keep it going. Started August 30, 2013…..
Main Street Books, Orleans, MA – A wonderful independent bookstore on Main St in Orleans. I wondered in on my birthday and found just what I was looking for. Some great recommendations scattered around the shop.
Yellow Umbrella Books, Chatham, MA – A mix of new & used bookstore, with some CDs. A little cramped and very full on an August afternoon.
Brewster Bookstore, Brewster, MA – I really want to like this bookstore. It has a great location on 6A on the Cape and seems to have a good collection (even a signed copy of The Orenda). However, both times I’ve gone in here I’ve left quite quickly. I think it’s that it’s not air conditioned and it’s very cramped. Too many people in too hot a space. I must go back off-season.
Barnes & Noble, Hyannis, MA – This is a great BIG bookstore that’s a good place to hang out, browse, have a coffee, pick out magazines, etc. With so many small bookstores on the Cape, they can’t really compete on the small personalized service, but they really excel at selection and things like magazines and journals.
Books by the Sea, Osterville, MA – This is a cute little bookstore in the village of Osterville. I had never been through the village, so this was a great excuse. Their selection is very small, but seems to be well chosen. Staff was friendly.
Mitchell’s Book Corner, Nantucket, MA – Mitchell’s has a fantastic location on Center Street. The store itself felt a little non-descript.
Nantucket Bookworks, Nantucket, MA – I really enjoyed this bookstore. It had a good, well laid out selection and lots of the ‘other’ things I love in bookstores. They carry my favorite pens, nice postcards, tote bags, etc and the staff is really nice.
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA – I may be wrong, but I think this bookstore moved this year a little closer to town. The layout is great, the staff is knowledgeable, they have lots of signed books, and their non-fiction is even strong. Well worth the extra few feet down Main Street in Chatham.
Montague Bookmill, Montague, MA – A favorite spot for me. I always ended up leaving with books I didn’t know existed but needed to have. In keeping with their slogan ‘Things You Don’t Need In a Place You Can’t Find’. Don’t be put off, it’s really not that hard to find. There’s an attached cafe where you can sit sipping your drink, read, and enjoy the rushing river below. Highly recommended.
Booklink, Northampton, MA
Odyssey Books, South Hadley, MA
Grey Matter Books, Hadley, MA
Barnes & Noble, Holyoke, MA – Yes, this is a big chain, but I like this one as it’s close to work and in an area with very few bookstores. Some nice chairs to sit in.
Barnes & Noble, Hadley, MA – This one is much more cookie cutter. Part of a strip mall. Single story. Sprawling. Much better bookstores nearby.
Broadside Books, Northampton, MA — My favorite local bookstore. A small shop, but their books are meticulously chosen. Some nice cards and journals in the mix. Their staff picks are hardly ever wrong.
Bookends, Florence, MA
Meetinghouse Books, Deerfield, MA – This is what I think of when I think of a used book store. Rooms and rooms and rooms stuffed full of books of all kinds.
Raven Books, Northampton, MA
Amherst Books, Amherst, MA – Just discovered this recently and love the mix of fiction and a serious collection of non-fiction. Not quite academic, but good for the rest of us.
Food for Thought Books, Amherst, MA – Sadly, this is closed now.
The Thirsty Mind, South Hadley, MA – A cafe/wine bar/bookstore/hangout space.
Cancer Connection Thrift Shop, Northampton, MA
Off the Commons Bookshop, Amherst, MA
White Square Books, Easthampton, MA – Since I live close to this bookstore, you’d think it would have been the first on my list. However, since it has limited hours (mostly when I’m at work) and a tagline of selling fine and art books, I hadn’t made it in. It turns out they sell lots of books. I bought two of them, including an autographed copy of a book by a favorite author.
Heritage Books, Southampton, MA – One of the things I’m loving about this project is the push to go into the little bookstores where you’re the only person inside. I don’t know if I would ever have gone into this imposing bookstore, but I’m glad I did. I picked up a copy of a 1939 book called Canadian Ways. Can’t wait to read it.
Brattleboro Books, Brattleboro, VT
Everyone’s Books, Brattleboro, VT
Basket’s Bookstore, Brattleboro, VT
Chapters, Halifax, NS – I know it’s a chain, but I love Chapters. Lots of books, jewelry, journals & paper, home goods…. It’s like all my favorite things in a store. This isn’t my favorite outlet (that one, in downtown Toronto, is now closed). Their recommended books are good and they have a good layout. This is how book chains should be.
Chapters, Dartmouth, NS
Bookmark, Halifax, NS – This is a tiny bookstore, but they have a lot of good stuff in there.
Type Books, Toronto, ON – This bookstore has been on my ‘must see’ list for a while now and I finally found it on my most recent visit to Toronto. Fairly small, but a great collection. They have a unique collection and are very author supportive. If you’re in Toronto and love books, make you’re way to Queen Street West. As a bonus, there’s a beautiful park across the street and lots of great cafes nearby.
Indigo Eaton Centre, Toronto, ON – There’s a whole wall of great Canadians. This made me smile. I’m not a huge fan of the Eaton Centre, but this is a good bookstore. I’m not a huge fan of their layout, but like other Chapters there are piles of good books and other things to finagle the money out of your wallet.
John W. Doull, Booksellers, Dartmouth, NS – Every book you can imagine. Take an anti-histimine if you have a dust allergy.
IndigoSpirit, Bedford, NS – You know a bookstore must be good when someone takes you to the next town over to see a mall bookstore that’s part of a national chain. My Mom really wanted me to see this bookstore. It was mostly the same merchandise as other Chapters bookstores, but it’s bright and well laid out. Plus, a cinnamon roll from Second Cup afterwards to round out the visit.
Kramer Books, Washington, DC – This was high on my list of things to see in Washington and I wasn’t disappointed. A well curated small space. Well worth a visit if you’re in Dupont Circle.
Second Story Books, Washington, DC – Yes, I’m a West Wing nut and was thrilled to find this bookstore from one of the episodes. Some of the books were a little obscure and highbrow. Perfect for Washington.
Capital Hill Books, Washington, DC – Bookstores are generally my escape, but this one made me claustrophobic. I took out one book to read the back and 20 more fell over. I left.
Heritage Books, Philadephia, PA – I stopped in here during a LONG layover in the Philadelphia airport. Since I enjoy the bookstore in the Hartford airport so much, I was disappointed by the poor selection (and poor layout) of this store. I came out empty handed, which is tragic since I went in planning to buy.
Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY – I go to Saratoga Springs often to visit friends, but we don’t always make it downtown. This time I researched bookstores in town and found Northshire. It was well worth the trip! And excellent fiction section with lots of insightful staff recommendations, a good selection of gifts, a cafe attached, and a whole floor for the kids. I loved the atmosphere and the staff were really helpful. If you’re passing through, support this independent bookstore.