Despite the rise of e-readers, true lovers of the written word will always have a special place in their hearts for bookstores. There's something about plopping down in an aisle, flipping pages, and breathing in that bookish scent, warm, like cinnamon.
There is a fear that the American book business is being replaced by online copies and e-books with the expansion of the digital market. However, independent booksellers are still doing their part to make sure readers and writers have a place in the world to grab a cup of coffee and sit down with a few old pals.
The most important thing the average reader can do to make sure they live on is to patronize them. Walk around, enjoy, and for the love of god, buy a book or two.
Here's our guide to independent bookstores in Broward and Palm Beach County:
399 NE Spanish River Blvd, Boca Raton. Call 561-347-6455. Follow Bookwise on Facebook.
Bookwise is proud to be the largest used-book store in South Florida. Family owned and operated, the business is over 25 years old and offers customers a wide range of books including fiction, children's books, art, history, biographies, and even lovely leather-bound reference books. The 10,000-square-foot space houses over 100,000 books. Seating can be found in the back corner along with some tables for readers who want to browse through a book before they buy. It's a great place to find a novel to take on your next vacation, a coffee-table book filled with amazing conversation pieces, or some stationery and sketchbooks. "Used-book stores are very far and few between," says Ann Wulf, manager of Bookwise. "We're not a brick-and-mortar store. What we do is rare, and we've got customers from all over the country who list us as one of the top five used-book stores they've ever been to."
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore
273 NE Second Ave. in Delray Beach. Follow Murder on the Beach on Facebook. Call 561-279-7790, or visit murderonthebeach.com.
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore is a comfortable, friendly neighborhood bookstore specializing in mystery (adult and children’s), suspense, thrillers, horror, and true crime. Located in Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach, it is the only mystery bookstore in the state of Florida and boasts being the largest seller of signed Florida mystery books on the internet. Founded in 1996 in Sunny Isles by Joanne Sinchuk, Murder on the Beach moved to its present location in Delray Beach in 2001. Sinchuk came to Florida after 20 years of financial management in large corporations in Connecticut and New York to become a small-business owner and fulfill her dream of owning a small, specialty bookstore. This year she will be celebrating her 20th anniversary in the book business.
Murder on the Beach offers writers workshops, wine seminars, and literary lunches in partnership with local restaurants. The shop has supplied books for many writers conferences in South Florida including the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Mystery Writers of America SleuthFest, Florida Romance Writers, Romantic Times, and numerous Brandeis, Hadassah, and library author events. It also features book signings by prominent authors including renowned names like James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Linda Fairstein, Stuart Woods, etc., two book discussion groups, and many rare books.
Finding Forrester’s Books
5130 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 6, Fort Lauderdale. Call 754-202-2054, visit Facebook. Call 954-614-7855.
Second Edition Book Shop
6831 Stirling Road, Davie. Follow
Danelle Whatley and her husband opened the Second Edition Book Shop in 2003. It carries a wide mix of books from romance, suspense, mystery, paranormal, Western, children's, cookbooks, sci-fi, etc. "If you're looking for it, we have it," says Whatley of the 65,000 books in store now. "We work really hard to keep the store clean and organized, alphabetically by author's last name, separated by genre type, then alphabetized by author." Whatley describes the store as "kind of quaint," as nowadays, it's easy for people to download and read most books online. Coming to the store needs to be something special and make an impact for you to keep coming back. Second Edition has four to five different seating areas with chairs for kids to sit as well. Most decorative pieces and furniture in the store are family heirlooms; for example, there are sewing machines, toys, and antiques interspersed throughout the store. "My customers will always be book people," says Whatley. "They're not the techie, have-to-have-it-now clientele. They like to walk the aisles, feel and touch the books, have that special experience in the store." Whatley knows most of her customers by name and enjoys the fact that she can recommend books, suggest things to read based on what they read last, and give them
Big Apple Books
5461 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-772-7761, or visit bigapplebookshop.com. Follow Greg Philippi on Facebook and find him performing with Got U Laughing Improv Troupe.
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Big Apple Books is an all used-book store that sells books, records, CDs, and DVDs. There are a lot of records on the wall, giving the shop a vintage feel. Shop-goers are usually the culturally aware type who want to keep book culture alive. You can find a great mix of eclectic books, comic books, art, cookbooks, children's books, and recently, records have been a big hit in the store. One of Fava's employees, Greg Philippi, does improvisational comedy and was the musical director for ABC. His diverse and culturally apropos staff adds a lot of flair to the shop. "Customers often tell me, 'Thanks for still being
8910 Taft St., Hollywood. Call 954-432-5188, or visit volumeonebooks.com.
Volume One Books carries lots of gently used books in fairly good condition, with much more than just fiction, including a large variety of classics, history, sci-fi, children's, young adult, nonfiction, romance, poetry, plays, religious, cookbooks, and more. "I have everything," says owner Sharon Luippold. The newest addition to the store has been the growth of the nonfiction history section where Luippold has nine full shelves. Volume One Books takes books in for credit, giving up to 20 percent toward purchases. Teachers also come in to buy books in bulk for their classrooms because Volume One gives a discount for educators. The store has been around for over 20 years and continues to please customers with how organized its books are. "They can actually walk over and find what they are expecting to find," says Luippold. Volume One also buys textbooks back from students, and in the fall, Luippold rents out musical instruments for All County music. When customers who are moving call, Luippold will come by and pick up their books. Volume One Books is a proponent of bulk buying, taking donations, and making donations to several local libraries. "The books always find a home," says Luippold.
544-2 Gateway Blvd., Boynton Beach. Call 561-731-4422, or visit pyramidbooks.com.
Pyramid Books opened in June 1993 at its present location in Boynton Beach. As an African-American-owned and -operated bookstore, Pyramid Books specializes in new books, offering a wide variety of categories matching the Afrocentric interests of its customers. "We are a specialty bookstore," says manager Denise Evans, "meaning that we carry a lot of titles that relate to the African diaspora. We can get any book you want, but that is our specialty." Pyramid Books is a community bookstore, and thus it also appeals to educators. In addition to fiction, nonfiction, self-help, mysteries, spiritual, science fiction, urban, metaphysics, Egyptology, Pan African, spiritual, self-published, and small-press books, among other hard to find books, the store meets the needs of local school districts. Pyramid Books also partners with these districts to sponsor book fairs and conferences to promote literacy. Appearances by renowned authors and illustrators for different ages have drawn considerable crowds. Owner Akbar Watson began selling books out of the trunk of his car many, many years ago, and realized his ambition to open his own store. "It all started from that," says Evans. "But it kicked in when they couldn't find a specific book they were looking for. He wanted to be able to provide that for people, and now he can." Pyramid Books also specializes in hard-to-find books and encourages customers to call and speak with them personally if assistance is needed, as they may already have it in stock, even if the distributor says it's out of print. "We are the number one literary culture keepers, restoring the kingdom one book at a time," says Watson.
Brandeis Book Store
9070 Kimberly Blvd., Boca Raton. Call 561-852-2650.
The first used-book sale to benefit Brandeis University took place in 1958. It was an innovative approach to raising money, which has been carried through to today in many communities throughout the United States. Brandeis Book Store is organized and operated by dedicated volunteers. All books are donated, and the proceeds replenish the Brandeis University library shelves. The local Brandeis Book Store sells all kinds of books: bestsellers, nonfiction, fiction, biography, art, cookbooks, and more. The store has been open in its current Broward location for 20 years. There were other local locations, but this is the only one that remains. "Our customers can find a well-organized store," says Susan Gould, store
3020 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 5A, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-630-1900, follow on
"We're the funky place," says Aileen Liptak, owner of Undergrounds Coffeehaus. Not quite a Starbucks, not quite a Dunkin Donuts, Undergrounds Coffeehaus is a place where people can hang out in comfy chairs, chat in quaint little nooks, or sit down to work or play video games. "It's the perfect place for a first date, to get to know somebody," says Liptak. It still remains a good old-fashioned used-book store, carrying all kinds of gently used books, as well as vendor items like crafts, skincare, handmade clothing, jewelry, etc. Books are mostly $5 and under, and the shop sells all sorts of snacks to go along with the books and conversation carried on throughout the
Undergrounds Coffeehaus also has a rentable space, a side room used for baby showers, birthday parties, work meetings, presentations, computer workshops, etc. A few ongoing classes and workshops take place there, such as an acting star who leads a film class every Monday, swing dance instruction the fourth Friday of every month followed by a social, ballet every Sunday, writing classes, musical performances, a comedy group with a show once a month, art shows, and more. The next big upcoming event is Prom on June 18. Undergrounds Coffeehaus will also be celebrating 10 years of business this November. "It's your living room away from home," says Liptak.
Old Florida Book Shop
3426 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale. Call 754-400-9150, follow on
Old Florida Book Shop opened in 1976 in Akron, Ohio, then relocated to Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Virginia, finally finding its home in Fort Lauderdale five years ago. The shop is for intelligent and sophisticated book lovers, typically collectors with a specific niche in mind. "We have one customer, for example, who collects only 17th-century Blaise Pascal," says owner William
Bluewater Books & Charts
3233 SW Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-763-6533, or visit bluewaterweb.com.
Bluewater Books & Charts is home to nautical books and charts and has the area's largest selection of nautical navigation supplies, including cruising guides, electronic charts, and paper charts. Their electronic and paper charts cover all of the world's oceans and cruising ground. They've been around about 30 years, having changed locations a few times, but recently moving nearer to a lot of other yachting businesses with Vivien Godfrey as the CEO of the company. "Customers can expect to find anything they need pertaining to navigation and charts, along with electronic navigation systems," says Dayle Louwrens, marketing director of Bluewater Books & Charts. The store is not your average retail store, as it is located in a giant warehouse right behind Lester's Diner. "The inventory is quite large," says Louwrens. The store also has a shipping department for online orders, and it keeps some charts at a separate location. "We also have a superyacht division: Bluewater Bridge Services," says Louwrens. "We offer a complimentary onboard navigation inventory for flag state compliance, chart corrections, new build outfitting, and medical kits."
Thousand Pound Egg
908 NE 20th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-335-7060, follow on
Thousand Pound Egg started out as a culinary bookstore over four and a half years ago. But since 2011, it has expanded its merchandise to not only books on cooking, food theory, and entertainment but also other used and new books about design and architecture, vintage collectibles, or various items for sale such as serving ware, local artists' ceramics, jewelry, clothing, a new swim line, pantry items such as jams and honey, oils, vinegars, cookies, salts, spices, chocolates, and hot sauce. It's a great place to buy gifts, but you may just want to buy yourself a present. The store has kept the original terrazzo flooring and is predominantly done in white. The right of the store features lifestyle, ready-to-wear items, and there's a beautiful, round, white vintage pedestal table in the middle that has a seasonally changing display, such as the "summer celebration" complete with outdoor goods like spice rubs, hot sauce, serving platters, and grilling wraps made out of hardwood. "Some people walk in and ask, 'What kind of store is
Bob's News and Books
1515 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-524-4731, follow on
Bob's News and Books is nearly 50 years old, having been in business since 1975. "We've expanded our offerings as our customers made requests," says manager Seth Cohen. "We like to think that we have something for everyone, and if we don't have it, we will try hard to get it." That's always been the philosophy of Bob's News and Books, now with its third generation of