Category Archives: Bookstore Travels

Scout & Morgan Bookstore – Cambridge, MN

Scout & Morgan Books is one of those super fantastic stores that reflects its region and it is one of my top ten favorite bookstores in the country. I’m not the only one who thinks highly of Scout & Morgan. They won the 2019 Bookseller of the Year Award from the Midwest Independent Booksellers Association. The MIBA’s write up of the shop and staff is great. And once you read a description like this. . .

Scout & Morgan has an elegant, welcoming atmosphere, with the latest books stocked alongside used and fine antiquarian books, a fireplace, and comfortable chairs for reading.

. . . how can you not want to go? It kind of checks all of the boxes, doesn’t it?

Located about an hour north of Minneapolis, Scout & Morgan has carved out a wonderful place that’s worth stopping for, if you ever find yourself up there.

Whenever I’ve visited they’ve always been super nice and friendly and certainly know their stock. They have a well curated selection of new books as well as shelves full of used books. The used books aren’t your “bent corner” variety either. They look great and are fun to peruse. And the used book prices are better than fair.

They have plenty of local books and being in Minnesota they are tied into the state’s rich literary culture. The Books About Books section at Scout & Morgan is a must. It’s a full bookcase and is mostly used books so you never know what you’ll find. Looking straight through, from the front door. and you’ll see a back wall FULL of fiction. It’s shelves and shelves of new, used, cheap, not-as-cheap, and a blast to shop.

Anyway, I hope you are doing well this week and that we all get to go out and visit our favorite bookstores again soon. Looking through bookstore photos helps some, but I’m ready to get back out there!

Here are some photos from one of my visits:

Thank You Books – Birmingham, AL

Thank You Books is one of Birmingham’s newest bookstores and an all around indie hot spot. This shop is a lot of fun and has so much energy for having just popped up in December 2019. I think this just shows how much care and consideration the owners are putting into their bookstore and the books they select. They’re selling new books and the care and consideration carries over into the way they deal with the shop’s visitors as well (both online and offline).

The seem to be most active on Instagram and I’ve enjoyed lurking during some of their “live” events online. Just good book people sharing the books they enjoy and doing what they can to foster a healthy book culture here in Birmingham.

I sure do miss visiting bookstores… but these photos will have to do, until the self-isolation period is over. Once it is, be sure to give them a visit, here’s some details (and I really do recommend following them on the social channels):

Thank You Books
5502 Crestwood Blvd, Unit B
Birmingham, AL 35212
205-202-3021
https://www.thankyoubookshop.com/
twitter: https://twitter.com/thankyou_bham
instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thankyou_bham/

And here are the photos taken back, in 2019, soon after the opened. It seems like years ago. Notice how the stars on the front sign are carried on throughout the store across the floor? So fun!

Best Bookstore in the South 2020

E. Shaver, Bookseller has been named the South’s Best Bookstore for 2020 by Southern Living magazine. It’s always good when an indie bookshop gets some recognition outside of its hometown.

E. Shaver, Bookseller is located in Savannah, GA and sits on one of the most idyllic and walkable squares I’ve ever visited. Savannah has a few great bookstores and E. Shaver, Bookseller is definitely on the “must visit” list.

When things aren’t so crazy in the world you can visit the bookstore during their normal hours:

E. Shaver, Bookseller
Monday-Tuesday 9:30am-5:30pm
Wednesday-Saturday 9:30am-7:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm
Phone (912) 234-7257

The shop is fun to walk around as it has lots of little very well lit rooms and a solid collection of local and regional books.

I have to admit I felt a little bummed while pulling up these photos from my last visit and getting them ready to post. It dawned on me–it’s been weeks since I’ve browsed in a bookstore. I haven’t been to my usual haunts in what seems like forever. So I think I am going to start posting photos from all my past shop visits. When I travel (work or family) we always make a point to visit local bookshops and I’m always taking photos. So there’s plenty to work with and I’m a little excited to start going back through the past couple of years of photos. None of the photos were taken with “these will go online one day” and for all I know some of the shops may have closed up.

But my hope is that by browsing virtual shelves and bookstores the senses will calm and help me look ahead to when we all can get back out there and visit our local bookstores. So more to come and I’m happy to be kicking things off with the E. Shaver, Bookseller photos.

I hope each of you have a good book nearby, are tucked in, safe and as well as can be.

The Booklegger -Huntsville, AL

I found a fantastic used bookstore in Huntsville, AL while on a recent trip. My time at Booklegger Used Books (4001 Holmes Ave NW; Huntsville, Alabama 35816) was way too short. This small shop is worth visiting if you find yourself in the Rocket City.

As soon as you walk in, you can tell you have entered a book lover’s world. Most of the books I picked up were good-condition hardbacks and priced in the $5-$8 range. The shelves and bookcases all go 8-feet high and they are fully loaded. Even though they are stocked full, they are well tended to and organzied. It’s was fun to meander throughout the bookshelf-lined aisles.

Once you enter, the non-fiction is mostly in the room to your immediate left. Those topics run the gamut. It’s all there. If you’ve been in many bookstores then you know it’s a special thing when to find one with so many sub-categories clearly marked and stocked well.

But the non-fiction I was most interested in was straight ahead – “Books About Books”, plus shelves & shelves of Literary Critcism and Essays. It was amazing! I’ve found very few bookstores (new or used) that had essays like this, much less have them in hardback (plus, a whole other shelf over in the “paperback” room).

From the front door, fiction starts off to the right and runs on into the “paperback room” off to the right just past all of the new comics.

They must do a constant business at Booklegger Used Books. The phone was ringing throughout my visit and I bet a dozen folks were in and out during my all too short time there. All that to say, I think it’d be worth it to check the “Newly Arrived” wall (just inside the non-fiction room) every visit. One can tell that these shelves have yet to be picked through, but the turnover is quick.

After a quick conversation there it sounds like they only buy hardbacks for around $1 per book, depending on demand. They will buy paperback books but for store credit only and the do limit how many “Walmart bags” you can drop on his counter during a week. Which is a pretty great metric to use for a used bookstore.

My one complaint is the way they manage their $1 Discount Books. Every book available for $1 is marked with an marker across the top with an X or O or XO. I totally get why they do this. When you buy as many used-books from patrons as they do, it doesn’t work to keep buying the same books that don’t sell. Plus, it helps with inventory and so forth and so on. I get it. I really do. It’s just always better to have books without those permanent markings. But for $1 per book, they’ll never hear me complain. 😉

Days and times of operation change, so I’d recommend giving them a call as I can’t find a good online presence for them.