bookstores I like

I’m guessing most academics can’t walk past a bookstore without stopping in and buying a book.  Here’s a set of bookstores I like.

Suomen Akateeminen Kirjakauppa in Helsinki.  Nice selection of both Finnish and English books.  Nice place to work.   Free wi-fi, I spent a few mornings working from there this summer.

Libraire Philosophique J.Vrin in Paris.  Ran into this little bookstore last summer.  Bookstore dedicated to philosophy.  Lots of English selections.  And – used books!

King’s English Bookstore in Salt Lake City.  Independent bookstore in the best sense.

My “local” Borders.  Sadly gone.  (Not before I was able to get a stack of books at a very steep discount.  Our university bookstore thankfully is excellent, and there’s always Barnes & Noble.)

Blackwell Bookstore in Oxford.  Lots of books.

Shakespeare and Co. in Paris, the Left Bank.  This bookstore is a religious experience. Stacks of books everywhere.  Used, new.  Beds and shrines upstairs.

Here are some other bookstores worth checking out.

Written by teppo

September 10, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Posted in uncategorized

11 Responses

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  1. Amazed that none of my fair city’s bookstores made the list. Might I suggest The Strand (bigger is better?), and Housing Works (books with hearts, they also sell their books online).


    Jenn Lena

    September 10, 2011 at 11:36 pm

  2. Thanks. Haven’t been to those bookstores. (That Guardian list only has one US bookstore, a comic book store in LA.)

    A side note – I have a big-time preference for bookstores that also carry used books – Shakespeare and Co. seemed to have about 1/3 used books (for great prices).



    September 11, 2011 at 12:23 am

  3. For the social sciences, it’s hard to beat the Seminary Co-op. Of course, maybe it’s changed, but it’s not exactly a “w[h]ile-a-way-the-hours-in-a-comfie-chair” type of bookstore. More of a “sit-on-hard-floors-in-cramped-aisles-and-be-surrounded-by-knowledge” type of bookstore. Very Chicago.



    September 11, 2011 at 11:09 am

  4. Academic bookstore in Helsinki is certainly very nice! Nordli’s bookstore in downtown Oslo (where I live) is also alright.

    However, I think my favorite is still Powell’ City of books in Portland, Oregon, ( It’s a few years ago since I was there last time, but their website still claim that it’s the largest new and used book store in the world, with more than a million new and used books.



    September 11, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  5. Allow me to yea-say the Strand in NYC. Different people find different values, which is why any active market is pluralistic. In East Lansing, Ray Walsh runs both Curious Books and Archives, variations on the same theme. I agree that a good bookstore re-sells as well as selling.

    I look to the city itself for its array of bookstores. Boston cannot be surpassed. It is sort of a general law of the sociology of commerce that some critical mass of actors creates a vibrant milieu. It is nice to have a great bookstore here or there, and maybe that is near you. I find that good commercial bibliophiles also reflect a strong public library system.

    The same may be true of music. Any town can have a symphony when all 40 musicians get together. Any large city can have a world class recording orchestra; but that is not necessarily the same as a thriving fine arts community.

    How these come into being and evolve is the stuff of our study.


    Michael Marotta

    September 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

  6. I second Jon’s comments on Powell’s. Look for the poster that Kurt Vonnegut signed…



    September 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm

  7. Let’s not forget Moe’s in Berkeley. A sociology collection unmatched even by the million volumes at Powell’s.



    September 11, 2011 at 8:05 pm

  8. I definitely have to second the Powell’s recommendation. It is an amazing place with used and new together, a must-visit if you’re ever in Portland. They have themed rooms, and their rare books room is fantastic.


    Molly King

    September 11, 2011 at 9:57 pm

  9. @cwalken: Really? I’m a huge Moe’s customer, but I always felt sociology wasn’t up to par. Heavy on Marxism/critical theory but light on other topics (like the Berkeley dept of old?). But it could have changed in the last year or two since my last visit.



    September 12, 2011 at 1:17 am

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  11. […] can’t pass up a bookstore without stopping in and buying something (here’s that post on bookstores I like, as well as favorites listed by orgtheorists)  The below bookstore […]


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