380 Delaware Ave., Delmar, NY
My first impression of I Love Books was one of hesitation, as it looked so much more like a chaotic trinket shop in some tourist town than an actual bookshop. But after looking around I discovered I was not only wrong, but I found I was really enjoying myself jumping from books to literary toys and gifts and right back into books again. Not only is there plenty here for the writers and readers in your life, but there’s something for almost anyone in I Love Books.
There’s a small discount rack of books just inside the door, all 50% off and full of both fiction and nonfiction, and good stuff too. There’s your usual discounted test prep and travel books, but also novels by notable authors like Colson Whitehead, Neil Gaiman, and George Saunders. In the main shop the books are to the left, with hardcovers and paperbacks separated, but there are multiple copies of most, making the store look like they just restocked after a big rush. They poetry selection is on the smaller side, mostly classics, and there are a few plays too. Beyond the large fiction and test prep sections you’ll find a shelf dedicated to cookbooks, another to biographies, plus history, Girl Power selections, humor, and a few others categories. Just a bit of each, enough to keep things interesting.
There’s a very large children’s section in the rear with everything from picture books for toddlers and beginners to YA and Harry Potter. They have a ton of fun gifts, games, puzzles, toys, and kits for curious children of all ages too, taking up a huge portion of the shop. There’s a ton to sort through as far as that goes, and I’d absolutely recommend this shop if you’re looking for unique gifts for kids. There are cards and magnets and assorted gifts for adults too, and I even found a magnet for myself that wasn’t too corny: “My Book Club Can Drink Your Book Club Under The Table.” True, so I brought it home.
It’s the kind of shop that’s hard to leave empty-handed, and I’m sure I’ll be back before too long. Go for the books, stay for the toys and gifts.
Atmosphere — Half bookshop, half gift and toy shop, this store is almost like a one-stop birthday/Christmas emporium for the readers, writers, and curious children in your life, full of games, trinkets, magnets, cards, and of course books.
Quality — The books are new and in top shape.
Quantity — There’s a moderate amount of books, with mainstream fiction and children’s books making up the largest sections, and there were a few copies each of most of the books, which you don’t always see in small shops like this.
Diversity — They had a little bit of everything, but most leaned toward fiction and children’s. They also had a larger test and SAT prep section than I see in most small bookshops.
Affordability — They had a 50% off cart just inside the door with a lot of notable hardcovers, including Neil Gaiman and Colson Whitehead, plus a bunch of other recent titles.
Amenities — It’s a packed shop with a ton of gifts and toys alongside the books, so don't look for anyplace relaxed and quiet to sit and take it all in. There are cafes and pizzerias nearby though.
Location — Right at a busy little intersection in the town of Delmar, a few minutes drive south of Albany and walkable to a handful of cafes and pizza shops.
Customer Service — The staff were busy behind the registers but were friendly and quick. They mentioned a discount program for repeat customers, so look into that if you go.
Overall — I had my reservations about a shop that looked like it was full of kitch and trinkets but this ended up being a really fun experience with enough books and book-related gifts to keep any bookworm busy. I’m impressed and I’d return for sure, especially when looking for gifts for others.