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Guide to Independent Bookstores in Broward and Palm Beach

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.  

"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."

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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:
Bookwise
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.

Howard Musikar worked many years in sales and advertising, but always, in the back of his mind, was the desire to open an independent bookstore. Musikar was always passionate about collecting and hunting for books. In 1999, with the release of Finding Forrester, Musikar knew he had to pursue his dreams and name his store after the awe-inspiring film about writing and human connection. "It's kind of like going back to the past," says Musikar. "You're always finding lost treasures in the books in my store. People can feel at home with all their author friends here." The shop is organized into three different rooms. The first, the Cole Porter Room, contains anything related to music and entertainment, i.e., CDs, DVDs, music books, art, theater, poetry, Hollywood biographies, etc. The second is the Hemingway Room, which carries everything fiction, alphabetized from A to Z, including fantasy, sci-fi, tons of classics, and children's books as well. The last is the nonfiction room, which remains unnamed and holds a mix of every genre from Eastern philosophy, Western philosophy, psychology, self-help, metaphysics, religion, history, American history, world history, military, war, politics, anthropology, finance, starting your own business, entrepreneurship, sales, etc. Finding Forrester's recently celebrated two years in business, having opened in May 2014. It remains popular because of the niche books it carries and the organization of the store. "I try to make it a very user-friendly store where people can browse and peruse and not have to dig through boxes, finding things by potluck," says Musikar. "If we have it, it'll be visible and easy to find."
Second Edition Book Shop
6831 Stirling Road, Davie. Follow Catsby on Instagram.  Call 954-961-5063,  follow on Facebook, or visit secondeditionbookshop.com.

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 superior attention that other bookstores might not be able to. The store feels more like you're in somebody's private home than a cold, stuffy library. The store also has a resident shop cat, Catsby, a 14-year-old rescue. Catsby was rescued at a Petsmart, Oakland Plaza, adoption fair after being picked up from Cat Crusaders, a local rescue crew that helps cats in need of homes. "He's great with the customers, very lovable, and has lived full-time at the store for a little over four years," says Whatley.
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.  

Robert Fava, owner of Big Apple Books, used to be a jack of all trades. Before he opened the store 11 years ago, he was a scuba instructor, DJ, stockbroker, and sold silver in Thailand and Mexico at flea markets. Fava had 12 tables with beautiful displays of jewelry, although he never wore any of it himself, and sold it to make money and read books while waiting to make sales. When customers came around he'd put his books underneath the tables. Funny thing was that eventually, people talked more about his books on the ground than the jewelry on the tables. "The business found me," says Fava.

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 open!'" says Fava. The vibe of the store is true to the '50s and '60s, and customers get a nostalgic feeling when inside. "Some people have a fear that books will go away one day," says Fava. "When they come in here and see what we're doing, they think maybe it's not. I'll help keep it alive." Big Apple Books gets most of its customers from recommendations and referrals.
Volume One Books
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.
Pyramid Books
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.
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