Every book lover has a favorite bookstore. For years, I made special pilgrimages to Oxford Books in Atlanta, which unfortunately closed its doors during the great consolidation--that period when the big chains forced so many independent booksellers out of business. But fortunately, there are still some great independents scattered about the country, and when I travel, I seek them out like I would a favorite restaurant.
For instance, I never visit Asheville, North Carolina, without stopping by Malaprop's Books and The Captain's Bookshelf. In Connecticut, there is Reid & Wright Gallery in New Preston. And a trip to Rockport, Maine, wouldn't be complete without browsing the shelves of photography books at Timothy Whelan Books.
The biggest of all the independent bookstores is Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon. I once shipped my dirty laundry home via UPS so that I could fill my rolling suitcase with used books from Powell's. And perhaps my favorite book town and most frequent destination is Berkeley, California. I suppose it's the ultimate college town, so that means good bookstores. There are almost too many to mention, but my favorites are Black Oak Books, Moe's Books, Builder's Booksource and Mrs. Dalloway's Books.
And finally, there is Santa Fe. Right next to Garcia Street Books, a worthy browsing spot, is Photo-Eye Books. Admittedly, the inventory in the Photo-Eye store is a bit limited, but the staff is incredibly helpful and there is nothing quite like their online bookstore. If you want the latest and greatest photobooks, hard-to-find photobooks and signed photobooks, this is the place to go. They have a wonderful newsletter that I always look forward to receiving and that, quite often, gets me into trouble with my accountant. Oh, but I do love my books!