These days, when most bookstores have become insubstantial online warehouses or indistinguishable big-box retailers, it’s gratifying to find independent booksellers who still offer unique environments to browse for books.
Used bookstores are more likely to embody this feeling of old-time bookishness, but there are a few independent stores, who sell new books, that are hold-outs for what bookstores used to be like. Here are a few examples from my recent trip down South.
Haslam’s Book Store in St. Petersburg, Florida has been around since 1933, and boasts the largest collection of new and used books in the state of Florida with over 300,000 books in stock. What makes this store distinctive is its collection of resident cats!
E. Shaver, Bookseller in Savannah, Georgia is the city’s oldest bookstore, selling new fiction and non-fiction books for over 36 years. It has 12 rooms (some decorated with fireplaces) offering books on every subject, but it specializes in local topics, including the Civil War. I loved the literary dolls (from a line called Little Thinkers) that were interspersed among the books on the bookshelves, including Emily Dickinson and Charles Dickens.
The Book Lady Bookstore in Savannah, Georgia has been around since 1978 and sells used books of all kinds (although they’ve got some new ones as well). It includes an onsite cafe, lots of comfy sofas and chairs, and has so many books that they are stacked on the stairs!