Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Bookstores of the West

One of my favorite things in the world is shopping for books. I love books. I love the way they feel in one's hands, the way they smell, the differences in paper, binding, and cover art. Even though I also own lots of electronic books and a Kindle DX, I will always love and own lots of books.

I do a lot of shopping for books online, partially because books are often cheaper from Amazon or Half than in a store, and partially because it is convenient. However, nothing compares to browsing a bookstore. My job on campus when I was in college was at the bookstore and I bought a lot of books because of the discount.

Two of my favorite bookstores in the world are in the Northwest. I splurged, with the remainder of a gift-certificate, and bought six books today because one of them was having a sale. So, I thought I should profile these two great stores:

Powells, and specifically the immense location on Burnside, is one of the greatest places ever. The store is two stories tall and takes up about half of a city block. It includes a coffee shop and a rare book room. The books are organized by subject and color coded by room as well as given a Dewy Decimal number. It's amazing. Used books are interspersed among the new books and rare editions are displayed in glass cases. It's awesome. Right now, they are having a set of sales to celebrate the 16th anniversary of their founding. They also sell books online.

The other great Northwestern bookstore is Elliot Bay.I fell in love the second I set foot in this store. Most of the books are new, but there is a huge used book room and when I was there the coffee shop walls were lined with shelves of $1 books. It is absolutely fabulous.

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