A Review of Beacon Reads


309 Main Street Beacon, NY

Beacon Reads is a small two-room shop next door to the Howland Public Library on Beacon’s Main Street, and they sell a lot of overflow titles, mass market paperbacks, and some older classics. Though it feels like a balance between a tag sale book table and a tiny bookshop, they do sell their own shirts and bags, and all the proceeds go to support the library itself, so you can feel good about dropping a few dollars on that David Baldacci book or the Michael Connelly novel you’ve been meaning to read. And to its credit, it has some other unique finds that make it worth exploring if you’re walking by.

Though the collection seemed eclectic and dated at first, I saw a few titles I recently bought at a higher price elsewhere, which always makes me want to kick myself. This includes Philip Kerr’s Berlin Noir series. I bought that full price elsewhere just two days prior. Damn. The whole place is a mix of fiction and nonfiction, with titles from each in both rooms, so it’s a bit of a “you’ll find what you find” kind of experience.


There are shelves of classic titles, including those by Virginia Woolf, Henry James, and Kurt Vonnegut, and they have another area for signed and first-print titles, plus some old classic hardcovers of books I’d never heard of from way way way back before my time. There are rotating racks of well read paperbacks that will still hold up, if you don’t mind a few creased spines.

While the selection is mixed, the discounts are DEEP, including an area where you can fill a bag for $3. Not bad. Add in a mix of CDs, movies, and décor that might remind you of a tag sale in your grandmother’s neighborhood (I say kindly with tongue in cheek) this shop is a quick and unique experience that supports a very worthy cause. So if you’re walking down Main Street, you may as well pop in. What’s the harm? Plus, a free book rack waits for your outside! We all win at Beacon Reads.     

Atmosphere — A tiny two-room shop of library overflow, with sales supporting the local library. The décor is a bit kitchy but the books may hold a surprise or two.

Quality — The used lean older, but there are a few newer bestsellers and classics mixed in.

Quantity ­­— The shop isn’t huge, but they have enough here that if you’re looking for yesteryear’s bestseller, stop here before you trek to Barnes & Noble.     


Diversity — It’s a real diverse mix, a tiny bit of everything, although it leans toward fiction and classics, and mass markets.  

Affordability — The prices for super low, like pennies per book low in some cases. Take advantage. Not to mention free books outside.    

Amenities — None really, it’s just a small annex. 

Location — Next door to the library in downtown Beacon. 

Customer Service — The one staffer was polite and was talking with a few people who came in during my quick visit. These are volunteers chipping in their time to support the local library, so treat them kindly!

Overall — It’s not a literary landmark but it serves a great purpose in supporting the local library and helping you stock up on inexpensive paperbacks and classics. Worth a quick look!