There’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of a bookstore – the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, the hushed voices of Dickinson, Dostoevsky and Dickens whispering from the lines of shelves, the texture of worn-out paper, the stories floating inside. Miami’s bookstores tend to have a different binding, though. There’s the new and digitized (Barnes and Noble and their Nook, aka traditional readers’ worst nightmare), and the classic and quaint, where if you crease a page too much it might fall from its seams. Bibliophiles, read on.
The Bookstore in the Grove
3399 Virginia Street #620, Coconut Grove
Injected into the walls that at one time held a Borders (rest in peace), this indie bookstore features an astonishing array of new and used books in an environment that boasts community camaraderie. Owners Felice Dubin and Sandy Francis are especially interactive with fellow book enthusiasts, offering their own touches of personal recommendations and advice. It’s known as the best indie bookstore in Miami, and with its computer lab, book club and computer repair service, you can understand why. Plus, there’s a café that boasts all-organic ingredients, allowing you to get lost in a writer’s work from a far away time while munching on delicious treats that didn’t come from too far away.
Books & Books
265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables
Books & Books epitomizes the genre of the traditional neighborhood bookstore, bordering on more of a community center than a place to walk into, purchase a book in and leave. The store features around 60 author events each month – Leonard Pitts Jr., Chelsea Clinton and Sharon Millar are just a few well-known visitors – to add a customized inscription and firsthand account of the novels you’re devoutly reading. Three Miami locations expand their facilities to a wider quantity of zip codes, and all locations include a café that serves quality, farm-to-table meals.
1111 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach
For a more modern, artsy bookstore, enter Taschen, where shelves are sprawled with art and design titles that tend to be splayed out in Brickell coffee shops and South Beach chaise lounges. Fierce blue and orange striped walls store a collection of eccentric novels, such as “20th Century Classic Cars,” “All-American Ads of the 40s” and “Fashion Designers A-Z,” allowing photography, fashion and music aficionados to find their niche here.
Fifteenth Street Books
296 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables
Most used bookstores flaunt the hand-me-down versions of teen novels from the early 2000s, rarely possessing the ambiance that the dust-coated covers of rare or treasured antiques give to a place. Fifteenth St. Books carries treasures within their own right – collectibles, limited-edition prints, first editions and more. Art is heavily emphasized inside, with detailed reproductions from Palladio to Pollock available for purchase. The dimly lighted floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves recall a scene from a Bronte novel, taking you deep into a place where stories never run out and the written word trails off the page and follows you afterward.