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A look inside the aisles of Second Edition Book Shop
A look inside the aisles of Second Edition Book Shop
Courtesy of Danielle Whatley

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.  

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:

Inside the well-lit, wide aisles of Bookwise used-book store.
Inside the well-lit, wide aisles of Bookwise used-book store.
Courtesy of Ann Wulf.

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."

Randy Wayne White giving a reading and discussion of his novel Deep Blue.EXPAND
Randy Wayne White giving a reading and discussion of his novel Deep Blue.
Courtesy of Joanne Sinchuk.

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.  

Outside of Finding Forrester's Books.EXPAND
Outside of Finding Forrester's Books.
Courtesy of Howard Musikar.


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."

Catsby, the 14-year-old rescue and resident shop cat, amongst the book collection at the Second Edition Book Shop.EXPAND
Catsby, the 14-year-old rescue and resident shop cat, amongst the book collection at the Second Edition Book Shop.
Courtesy of Danielle Whatley.

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' wall of records and album covers.EXPAND
Big Apple Books' wall of records and album covers.
Courtesy of Priscilla Cavalie.

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.

A look at some of Volume One Book's classical collections.
A look at some of Volume One Book's classical collections.
Courtesy of Sharon Luippold

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.

Literature inside of Pyramid Books.EXPAND
Literature inside of Pyramid Books.
Courtesy of Akbar Watson.

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.

Outside Brandeis Books.
Outside Brandeis Books.
Courtesy of Susan Gould.

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 manager and volunteer. "Right now, every book is 50 percent off. Paperbacks are normally $2, so that makes them only $1 now." Brandeis also carries collectible books and first editions. All proceeds from the store go directly to Brandeis University.

A quaint little reading nook inside Undergrounds Coffeehaus.
A quaint little reading nook inside Undergrounds Coffeehaus.
Courtesy of Truly Yours Photography

Undergrounds Coffeehaus
3020 N. Federal Highway, Ste. 5A, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-630-1900, follow on Facebook, or visit Undergroundscoffeehaus.com.

"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 balcony-situated store (even though it's called Undergrounds). "It's like a kid's clubhouse for adults," says Liptak. Undergrounds Coffeehaus isn't a restaurant either, but it is the king of snacks. It sells over 40 flavors of tater tots (such as basic salt and pepper to jerk, curry, and pizza flavored), and they're baked, not fried, which makes them not only tasty but a bit healthier. The shop also offers vegan ice cream, grilled cheese, personal pizzas, egg sandwiches, and pastries, among other fun snacks. It has all sorts of yummy dessert beverages such as the Peanut Butter Cup (peanut butter, espresso, and milk) and the Banana Split (espresso, milk, chocolate, strawberry, and whipped cream with sprinkles on top), along with over 30 different loose-leaf teas, and specialty sodas such as hazelnut colas and Italian and French sodas (ginger ale and Sprite with syrup and cream).

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.

Inside the Old Florida Book Shop.EXPAND
Inside the Old Florida Book Shop.
Courtesy of William Chrisant.

Old Florida Book Shop
3426 Griffin Road, Fort Lauderdale. Call 754-400-9150, follow on Facebook, or visit oldfloridabookshop.com

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 Chrisant, "and another who collects anything remotely related to Voltaire. We also have a small crowd of generalists, and some just come in to play the piano." Old Florida Book Shop sells good, clean books in collectible condition. The collection includes history, art, architecture, photography, antiques, and fashion with fine antiquarian books and many fine leather bindings, as well as sets from the 18th & 19th centuries. Prices vary from $20 and up, but there is an occasional $5 or $10 book. "In addition to memberships in regional antiquarian booksellers' associations and societies, we are members of the American Antiquarian Booksellers' Association & the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers as well," says Chrisant. Some lovely features of the shop are the 16-foot-high shelves equipped with rolling ladders, a baby grand piano, antique book and display cases as well as book accessories, antique prints, and maps. Their antiquarian stock, which is mostly sold on-line, goes back (in rare cases) to the 15th Century. This store has class and character, and you're sure to lose yourself in the most wonderful way among its monumental collection.

Inside the giant warehouse at Bluewater Books & Charts.EXPAND
Inside the giant warehouse at Bluewater Books & Charts.
Courtesy of Dayle Louwrens.

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."

Inside Thousand Pound Egg specialty store of cookbooks and more.EXPAND
Inside Thousand Pound Egg specialty store of cookbooks and more.
Courtesy of Karen Gavrilov.

Thousand Pound Egg 
908 NE 20th Ave, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-335-7060, follow on Facebook, or visit thousandpoundegg.com.

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 this?'" says Karen Gavrilov, owner of Thousand Pound Egg. "'Stuff I like,' is what I usually answer." The store is definitely unique with its one- or maybe two-of-a-kind items that Gavrilov seeks out from all over the world. "They're always the best things I've found, and it can be anything from a pitcher or serving bowl that's been locally made to something rare from South Africa or Europe. You'll never know what you'll find." Thousand Pound Egg features book signings and author talks. It recently hosted Hedy Goldsmith with her dessert book, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors. Gavrilov is excited about a new wine shop opening next door and hopes to collaborate with it on future endeavors.

Outside Bob's News and Books.
Outside Bob's News and Books.
Courtesy of Seth Cohen.

Bob's News and Books
1515 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-524-4731, follow on Facebook, or visit obsnewsandbooks.com.

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 family in the store. They sell a wide range of subjects from Bibles to bondage. Bob's News and Books prides itself on having a well-stocked and organized store, with over 1,600 square feet from floor to ceiling filled with magazines, books, and other interesting stuff from all over the world. "If you can't find it at Bob's, then you probably won't find it anywhere else," says Cohen. They also boast a collection of tobacco and accessories, as well as a full adult section including magazines, books, DVDs, and toys for adults 18 and over. There's a complete collection of newspapers and magazines, including domestic and foreign titles (also available in French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, and more). Bob's News and Books also proudly supplies magazines to major cruise lines, yachts, private jets, and more, and provides and ships books to correctional institutions. Not from around here? No problem, as Bob's will get its goods to you via UPS and USPS. This place is truly a one-stop-shop for all your news needs.

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