Great Bookstores

Readers, please let us know about your favorite bookstores! Send Kat a photo of the SFF section, the name and address of the bookstore, and a short explanation about why you love that store.

Great Bookstores: Singularity in Brooklyn

A few  years ago, FanLit reviewer Terry Weyna eloquently sung the praises of The Strand, the pride and joy of all literate New Yorkers. I myself have spent countless hours there, browsing among the establishment’s four copious floors; it truly is a bookstore second to none. But for the sci-fi/fantasy/pulp lover, The Strand can be a bit problematic. The single section devoted to those three genres is not a large one, the wares on display seem to be a bit static from week to week, and (or is it just me?) it always seems as if the book I am looking for is at the very top of one of the store’s 10-foot-high shelves.

Singularity storefront in DUMBO

But I shouldn’t complain, as it was in The Strand that I first got wind of what has turned out to be my new favorite store in NYC. ... Read More

Great Bookstores: The Signed Page

The Signed Page is a service provided by Shawn Speakman of Suvudu. Speculative fiction authors stop in at The Signed Page to sign stacks of their books for fans. Sometimes they'll write personalized messages, too. Readers can purchase these special first editions for reasonable prices. Shawn also takes photos of the authors signing their books. I enjoyed looking through these!

Jacqueline Carey told us about The Signed Page. She says, "Strictly speaking, The Signed Page in Seattle, Washington isn’t a bookstore, but owner and proprietor Shawn Speakman provides a great service in making signed copies of selec... Read More

Great Bookstores: White Dwarf Books in Vancouver

Eileen Kernaghan wrote in to let us know about one of her favorite bookstores: White Dwarf Books in Vancouver. You can find White Dwarf Books at 3715 West Tenth Ave, Vancouver, B.C., V6R 2G5 Canada, Phone: 604-228-8223, Email:

Eileen Kernaghan (pictured above at a book launch at White Dwarf Books) says:

"For over thirty years White Dwarf Books on Vancouver B.C.’s west side has been a favourite  gathering place for readers -- and writers -- of SF and fantasy.

Jill Sanagan and Walter Sinclair have hosted countless readings and book launches, by local writers and by international SF stars. Their knowledge of the SF/fantasy field is legendary, and they’re always ready to... Read More

Great Bookstores: Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park

We've been getting a lot of great bookstore recommendations -- thanks for sending those in! Today we're featuring Kepler's Books and Magazines in the San Francisco area. You can find Kepler's at 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA 94025 (phone 650-324-4321).

Blake Charlton wrote in to tell us why he loves Kepler's:

"Kepler’s Books and Magazines is a wonderful indie with a unique history, great staff, large SFF section, and a lively community. Kepler’s is a wide, well-lit, and comfortable store that opens onto a plaza it shares with the bustling and popular Café Borrone. The store resides in the town of Menlo Park, about halfway down the San ... Read More

Great Bookstores: Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney, Australia

Thanks to all the authors who've written in to tell us about the great bookstores they've been visiting! This week we hear from Janny Wurts and Karen Miller who wanted us to know about Galaxy Bookshop in Sydney Australia.

Galaxy Bookshop was established in 1975 and is an independent bookseller owned and operated by Abbey's Bookshop (also independent). They focus exclusively on science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal romance genres.  Most of their books are US imports of titles that don't have local distribution or whose author doesn't have a deal with a UK publisher. Mark Timmony, the store manager, says that the Galaxy staff reads the books they sell and are passionate fans of genre f... Read More

Great Bookstores: Word Bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC

Today I'm turning it over to Leanna Renee Hieber who wants to talk about one of her favorite bookstores, Word in Brooklyn, New York. Our own Kelly Lasiter is a big fan of Ms. Hieber's (read Kelly's reviews of her work) and is looking forward to her new young adult series, Magic Most Foul. which begins with Darker Still, releasing on November 1. You can follow Leanna Renee Hieber and her work at Leanna Renee Hieber's website, Twitter and Facebook.

"Leanna Renee Hieber here, author of the award-winning, bestse... Read More

Great Bookstores: Bookends in Kailua, Hawaii

A.A. Attanasio wrote in to recommend Bookends in Kailua, Hawaii. Bookends doesn't have a website at this time, but you can find it at 600 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734. Phone: (808) 261-1996. Mr. Attanasio says:

"To enter Bookends in Kailua Shopping Center is to find oneself in the mind’s eye of the western psyche. It’s a hodge-podge of every subject, a cultural kaleidoscope of both new and out-of-print titles. The street façade looks like a franchise outlet, but the inside of this independent bookstore is a well-lit and airy bibliocave crammed with both intellectual and entertaining fare.

This homey store arranges books in gregarious piles and stacks and jumbled shelves so that one always winds up finding something unexpected. Cozy chairs and reading nooks invite readers to sink in.

When my kids were little ... Read More

Great Bookstores: Village Books in Bellingham, WA

Alma Alexander wrote in to tell us about Village Books in Fairhaven, Bellingham, Washington:

"It's a big and wonderful indie bookstore which has a lot of cool stuff, comfy armchairs scattered around the place for laid-back browsing, and lots of author events scheduled in their reading gallery.

This photo is one of me at one of my own readings there -- I've had at least four over the last couple of years.

Chuck and Dee Robinson, the owners, are great book lovers, and friends of mine."

Here's a Video Tour of Village Books:

And here's their SFF Section:

If you live in the area, be sure to join Village Books for their Steampunk Masquerade this Thursday evening from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. They also hav... Read More

Great Bookstores: Larry Smith, Bookseller

Elizabeth Campbell went to Dragon*Con last weekend and wrote in to tell us about bookseller Larry Smith.

Larry Smith, Bookseller, is a conventions bookstore. He and Sally Kobee sell new science fiction and fantasy books in hardback, trade, and mass market bindings. They are out of Ohio, so in addition to Dragon*Con, we see them at ConText.

They've been doing this for freaking ever, they know freaking everybody, and it seems like they have every single freaking book in stock. Sally seems to know what you're looking for before you do. You can often find authors glomming around their bookstall signing their novels. It's a pretty powerful experience to be nosing around in the books, look up and see -- Holy Cow! Read More

Great Bookstores: Treehorn Books in Santa Rosa, California

One of my favorite bookstores is small but mighty. Treehorn Books, specializing in used, out of print, and antiquarian volumes, occupies a simple storefront at 625 4th Street, Santa Rosa, California, between a pizzeria and a taqueria.

Keith Hotaling and Michael Stephens opened Treehorn in Santa Rosa in 1979. Originally they were a few blocks farther west in an area called Railroad Square. In the 70s and 80s, the square was what you might call, tactfully, “un-gentrified.” In the late 80s they moved up to 4th Street. Keith doesn’t remember exactly when they moved, but he knows they were there on October 17, 1989, the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake.

The name “Treehorn” comes from a children’s book called The Shrinking Tree Horn, and children’s books are one of the store’s specialties. They also carry a lot of western and California historical books, and a lot of military history. Rare and antiquarian books are kept ... Read More

Great Bookstores: Orielis’ Books

Elizabeth Campbell wrote in to tell us about a bookstore she loves. Orielis' Books is an internet bookseller located in the Chapel Hill area. They attend the local SFF conventions:

"Orielis' Books are always in the vendor room at the Cons we get to attend in the Virginia/North Carolina area. They are an online used books business, and build their "brick and mortar" by wheeling in their treasure-crates of books into the hotel for the duration of the weekend.

I love having them at the Cons, as I can pop straight over to them after a panel and pick up a copy of whatever was recommended. They make an effort of being sure to carry the small press books authored or published by the Con's guests."

If you’ve been to a great bookstore recently, please... Read More

Great Bookstores: The Strand, New York City

Manhattan used to be a book-shopping mecca for me, with independent and used bookstores every other block. Alas, that is no longer the case, as I learned to my regret a few years ago when my husband and I tried to track down a few beloved stores. Said husband had printed out a list of Manhattan bookstores from the Internet, failing to note that the list was published ten years earlier. We walked from the West Side to the East Side and back again, discovering either that stores no longer existed or were mere shadows of their former selves. All that walking! And it was sleeting on top of it. As you might imagine, I suggested gently (!) that my husband check the date on any list next time.

One great Manhattan bookstore that survives is Strand Book Store. Like Powell’s (which we visited in a previous Great Bookstores column), it sells new and used books toge... Read More

Great Bookstores: Powell’s, Portland Oregon

We're starting a new feature in which we highlight great bookstores for speculative fiction readers. We welcome your input! If you've been to a great bookstore recently, please send us a photo  (the SFF section would be great!) and a paragraph or two about why you love that store. I'm kicking us off today with Powell's in Portland Oregon.

What’s better for booklovers than a good bookstore? As we watch Border’s extinguish itself, having itself already extinguished hundreds of independent bookstores (with help from Amazon and Barnes & Noble), those of us who still love physical books and brick-and-mortar bookstores fear the passing of an era. Fortunately, there are still bookstores that not only survive but thrive. If you’re a book tourist -- that is, one who visits good bookstores no matter where in the world they may be -- you know... Read More