Bookshop Review

A Review of Rough Draft Bar & Books

A Review of Rough Draft Bar & Books

82 John Street, Kingston, NY

I’ve been proud to shine a spotlight on a handful of bookshop / bar combinations in the past, and even a couple wine shop and bookseller combos too, but when it comes to putting a pint, a bite, and a book in front of a casual browser, Rough Draft is the top of the pile. At least so far, though I think they’ll be tough to beat. I stopped in on a rainy Saturday recently and it was such a warm, charming, bustling respite that I didn’t want to leave.

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A Review of Everyone's Books

A Review of Everyone's Books

25 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT

This shop bills itself as “Everybody’s Bookshop – For Social Justice and the Earth,” and that should tell you everything you need to know about its unique take on bookselling and the role it plays in the Brattleboro community. More than any other shop in the southern Vermont area, Everybody’s Bookshop has made a name for itself as a progressive, enlightened, and open-minded bastion for those interested in the literary, political, and philanthropic aspects of life.

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A Review of Word

A Review of Word

126 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY

During my five years living in NYC, I briefly stayed in a warehouse loft a short walk away from Word for approximately six months, and I made it my business to stop in to browse their new selection of books at least every other week, if only for the atmosphere and the comfort of being in a literary space so close to “home,” no matter how temporary a home it was. I was able to get back to the old neighborhood for a visit last month and was very happy to see they were open late into the evening.

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A Review of BOOK OFF

A Review of BOOK OFF

9 W 45th Street, New York, NY

About six years ago I worked a block from this multimedia shop, which stands within the general sphere of the Times Square area of Manhattan, and I used to make a habit of going about once a week. While it’s not my favorite bookstore, I went that often for two reasons: dollar books, and deeply discounted classic movies. I recently passed by on a NYC visit and I stopped in to see if the place held up after all this time, and it certainly does.

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A Review of The Spotty Dog Books & Ale

A Review of The Spotty Dog Books & Ale

440 Warren Street, Hudson, NY

A good beer and a good book go together so well, but it’s not very often you see them sold together. The Spotty Dog does just that, but they don’t stop there. This bookshop bar combo also sells art supplies, holds incredible readings by writers and poets from all over the map, and they have an incredible selection of books by bestsellers and indie authors alike, making The Spotty Dog a tough shop to beat.

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A Review of Fairview Books

A Review of Fairview Books

424 Fairview Ave., Hudson, NY

Much in the same way that The Bookloft bookshop in Great Barrington, MA is just outside of town in a large strip mall, Fairview Books is just outside of Hudson, NY in a busy strip mall too, but while Bookloft surprised me with the organized presentation of an indie version of Barnes & Noble, Fairview is a different animal altogether, and I’m still not quite sure how to categorize that animal. The shop has unique items and some discounts, but the quality and style are all over the map. This can be good, or not so good, depending on your book shopping needs and expectations.

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A Review of bookbook

A Review of bookbook

266 Bleecker Street, New York, NY

While hustling from Greenwich Village toward the Bowery section of Manhattan a sunny Saturday afternoon, I stumbled across bookbook out of the blue. (Ed. Note: They spell their name lowercased, so that’s not a typo.) I hadn’t heard of it before, despite living in the city for about five years not long ago and having walked up and down Bleecker more times than I can count. Dumbstruck by my ignorance, I walked in and found a real gem of a bookshop. Whatever you do, don’t make my mistake and overlook this place.

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A Review of Half Price Books

A Review of Half Price Books

3207 Broadway, San Antonio, TX

Let me start off by saying that I’m cheating a little here. This blog is about hyping small independent bookshops, and Half Price Books doesn’t reeeeally fall into that category. There are 120 locations (way more than I thought) but I have only ever been to two spots in San Antonio, Texas, and I have loved both. If they sold new books at new prices, I wouldn’t review them. But they sell everything under the literary sun and then some, and all at discounted (sometimes deeply discounted) prices. This place is a treasure trove and you absolutely must do yourself a favor and find one near you.

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A Review of Mystery on Main Street

A Review of Mystery on Main Street

119 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT

I previously reviewed a bookshop with a similar name in Johnstown, NY, but this one out in southeastern Vermont seems to be its own entity, and it had some cool little tricks up its sleeves. Unlike the Johnstown shop, this one actually focuses exclusively on mystery, crime, and noir titles. And being located right in the heart of downtown Brattleboro, surrounded by a plethora of cafes and shops, you can easily work this store into an adventurous afternoon of browsing.

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A Review of Idlewild Books

A Review of Idlewild Books

170 7th Avenue South, New York, NY

There are two branches for this travel-themed shop in greater New York, but on this day I visited the Manhattan/West Village location, with its rounded corner windows turning the little store into a bright and delightful place to browse. As stated, the books are travel related, but they don’t always contain themselves specifically to travel. If that sounds confusing, I assure you, it’s a really wonderful thing.

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A Review of The Twig Book Shop

A Review of The Twig Book Shop

306 Pearl Parkway #106, San Antonio, TX

Since I moved away from San Antonio in 2009, the Pearl Brewery area has absolutely exploded with development, and in a beautiful way. My friend Christina gave me a tour of the new digs, the coffee shops, hotel lobbies, plazas, and of course a beautiful little bookshop. It’s not a huge shop, but it’s a fun one, and fits the aesthetic of the updated neighborhood very well.

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A Review of Magpie Bookshop

A Review of Magpie Bookshop

392 Main Street, Catskill, NY

The small city of Hudson, NY has garnered a lot of attention in recent years as a bustling and growing hotspot for NYC transplants feeding its downtown revival, but just a short drive away and across the Hudson River is a somewhat subtler, quieter town that may be overlooked from time to time, but shouldn’t be. Catskill has a fun little downtown lined with trendy shops, cafes, a movie theater, and yes, an excellent bookshop. Magpie Bookshop is not one to overlook, and mixes small town charm with literary surprises that will make any bookworm happy.

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A Review of Brattleboro Books

A Review of Brattleboro Books

36 Elliot Street, Brattleboro, VT

One of the things that makes downtown Brattleboro such a fun place for a weekend road trip is they have 3-4 bookshops all within about two blocks of each other, and the best one for quality used books is Brattleboro Books. It looks quaint and old-fashioned on the outside, with a dark wood exterior, a lamppost, and antique-looking signage—perhaps something out of a Harry Potter village or a colonial-era downtown—but inside the shop is chock full of all the new, old, and quality goods you’d hope for in a used book shop.

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A Review of The Book Nook (Lenox Library)

A Review of The Book Nook (Lenox Library)

18 Main Street Lenox, MA

This bookshop review is a little different because The Book Nook in Lenox, MA is actually part of the town library, a little alcove just inside by the front desk. But what it lacks in size, it greatly makes up for in quality and value. I happened upon it while attending the annual Lenox Apple Squeeze, just a few minutes after purchasing a taco-in-a-bag, munching away and halting in my tracks when I saw the Book Sale sign. For anyone who knows me, you understand my feelings of exalted joy. 

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A Review of Bartleby’s Books

A Review of Bartleby’s Books

17 West Main Street, Wilmington, VT

Wilmington could be any anonymous crossroad town on a long road trip, but I assure you, it isn’t. Where that one small village exactly halfway to your destination might usually have a gas station, a diner, a mechanic, a traffic light flashing yellow, and then a cluster of homes, Wilmington seems to be an exception to that rule. Situated exactly halfway between Bennington and Brattleboro in Vermont, and serving as the entryway to such ski resorts as Mt. Snow and Stratton, Wilmington is probably a lot of people’s favorite little town, bustling with galleries, antique stores, cafes, restaurants, little hotels, and of course, a couple bookshops.

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A Review of The Bennington Bookshop

A Review of The Bennington Bookshop

467 Main Street, Bennington, VT

This little shop located in picturesque downtown Bennington, Vermont is almost like a miniature indie version of a Barnes & Noble, in that it features all new books in a bright, clean environment, and has a dash of all the major categories and styles. But it has just enough local flavor to make it unique to this particular town and region, too. Plus, it’s close to a handful of cafes and restaurants I really enjoy, so it’s always a must whenever I pass through Bennington.

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A Review of Saratoga $1 Book Warehouse

A Review of Saratoga $1 Book Warehouse

Stone Blvd. (?) Saratoga Springs, NY

This shop, more than any other I’ve visited in my life, has me torn about my experience. On one hand, you have a large selection of used books in pretty good shape that are one dollar each. This could be a goldmine for the right person. Dollar books are no joke for bookworms and there were some major deals on those shelves. But on the other hand, my experience at the Saratoga $1 Book Warehouse left me feeling…well, to put it mildly, a little unsettled.

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A Review of Northshire Bookstore (Manchester)

A Review of Northshire Bookstore (Manchester)

4869 Main Street, Manchester Center, VT 

This place is a long-time favorite, a standard bearer for what a great bookshop should be. This branch (they have two) is located in the town of Manchester, Vermont, surrounded by forests, beautiful mountains, long sweeping farm valleys, and outlet shops scattered throughout the area. It’s a trek from where I currently live (Albany, NY) but it’s definitely worth the drive whether you’re looking for new or used books, because they have both in abundance.

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A Review of Dog Ears Book Barn

A Review of Dog Ears Book Barn

Route 7 Hoosick, NY

Okay, hold up. I’ve driven past the sign for this shop hundreds of times in my life. It sits at a busy intersection outside Hoosick, on Route 7 between Troy, NY to Bennington, VT, right across the street from the incredible Big Moose Deli. But I always figured the weather-beaten sign for Dog Ears Books was for a tiny little shop in some country stable, the outdated books yellowing in the summer sun, hardly worth the time to stop. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This place is a treasure trove, and you have to put it on your “Must Visit” list as soon as you can!

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A Review of Troy Atrium Book Outlet

A Review of Troy Atrium Book Outlet

4 3rd Street Troy, NY

Inside the Troy Atrium off Broadway and 3rd, hidden among the many vacant shops and the large empty fountain still gurgling up water, there resides a horde of older books, rooms and rooms of them, all waiting for you to take the afternoon to sort through and pick up a gem. It’s a bargain outlet, nothing fancy, not much you’d call “new,” but the volume of books alone might make this shop worth a visit if you don’t mind a used copy of that old classic.  

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