Three Lives & Co.
New York City, NY
Hey bookstores, don't tell anyone, but we have a BIG 'OL CRUSH ON YOU!
This Valentine's Day, the booksellers of Powell's are confessing our love to our fellow indies. These are the stores that first nurtured our love of reading, surprise and delight us around unexpected corners, bring us joy from afar, are our dream destinations for future adventures, and inspire us every day to be better booksellers ourselves. We love you and we like you.
Dear Three Lives & Co.,
Elliot Bay Book Company
I’ve only visited you once but I’ve been talking about you non-stop ever since. The red corner door, the gorgeous wood details, the bookseller who immediately asked a customer (by name!) how they enjoyed their last read (by title!)… Magical.
Your admirer from afar,
Dear Elliott Bay Book Company,
Books with Pictures
Every time I’m in town I stop to visit you, without fail. There’s so much to praise you for, but I will limit myself to this: as a former buyer, I recognize and appreciate that you carry many difficult-to-source and low-discount items because you care about your customers and our unending need for scripts from obscure off-Broadway plays.
Thank you for always indulging me,
Dear Books with Pictures,
Your store is one of my happy places. You gave me a place to feel safe while shopping for comics. I've also found so many of my favorite titles because of your staff and your super-human ability to take one look at me and say, "You should read this." You are ALWAYS correct.
Thank you for existing,
Dear Massy Books,
Magic City Books
I still have the sheet of paper a bookseller filled out when I asked for recommendations of great Canadian authors in August of 2017. It was obvious your staff was passionate about their profession and I’ll always think of your wonderful store when I see a copy of No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod.
Your American friend,
Dear Magic City Books,
Newtown Book & Record Exchange
I found you on a walk through the Tulsa Arts District and fell in love with your beautiful bookstore and the work you do to help literacy thrive through the Tulsa Literary Coalition. Someday, I'll be able to visit you again!
All my love,
Dear Newtown Book & Record Exchange,
Raven Book Store
Though we’ve been apart for over 25 years now, I still think so fondly of our time together. Whether it was a well-worn Dean Koontz mass market, C+C Music Factory’s debut album on cassette, or a place to spend all of the loose change I regularly pilfered from my dad, you were always there to slake my insatiable thirst for books and music.
Thanks for helping a young kid find his way so many moons ago,
Dear Raven Book Store,
San Francisco, CA
You probably have a lot of valentines to read, so I’ll keep this brief: I think you’re great. Your advocacy for independent bookstores and the United States Postal Service makes me swoon; every social media post featuring your bookstore cats makes me smile (happy retirement, Ngaio!); and the announcement that some of your workers would share ownership of you made my heart grow three sizes. One day, I hope to walk your aisles, meet your booksellers, and sneak Dashiell some treats, but until then, I’ll settle for admiring you from afar.
Yours in bookselling and resistance,
To my enigmatic Borderlands Books,
Cape Atlantic Book Company
Cape May, NJ
I have wandered your aisles lost in fantasy, sci-fi, and the imaginations of your store. You introduced me to the provocative, illusive, and, out of this world stories. I have since moved away from the Bay area, but you are always in my heart and mind. Ripley, the sphynx cat, will always be at mind when I visit next.
Till our next meeting,
Dear Atlantic Books in Cape May, NJ,
It's been 22 years and there are 3000 miles between us these days, but you'll always be the place I discovered reading for pleasure. I hope you're holding up okay these days.
Editor's Note: The original Atlantic Books that Angelo is writing to has closed! Cape Atlantic Book Company is a successor nearby, opened by a manager of the former Atlantic Books shop.
Bob's Beach Books
Lincoln City, OR
Dear Bob's Beach Books,
Books 'N' Bears
I almost drove by on Highway 101 without stopping, but then I saw the airplane cockpit sticking out of the side of your bookstore, and of course I had to STOP. It's obvious that you own the building. Inside, I lost myself in the tiny nooks and crannies of your amazing bookstore and spent 30 minutes reading a book about Tom McCall and his iconic beach bill. Your bookstore is gloriously disheveled and full of personality. My favorite kind.
I can't wait to see you again for my next beach read,
Dear Books 'N' Bears,
I fell in love with your perfect little bookshop as soon as I stepped through the door. Though your footprint is small, you had exactly the book I needed. As if a trip to the sand dunes wasn’t magical enough on its own!
Planning a trip to Florence to visit again,
Dear Browsers Bookshop,
Your stacks and sweet gift displays warm my heart on even the rainiest of days. Your kind and charming booksellers are always willing to talk and listen, offering the best recommendations. I pine for your sweet window displays and brick walls.
Your friend in books,
Dear Wallace Books,
Left Bank Books
From the moment I first laid eyes on the cozy, yellow bookshop in the heart of Sellwood, I was smitten. I am absolutely head over heels for your floor-to-ceiling selection and wide variety of new and used books.
Here's to many more rainy afternoons together,
Dear Left Bank Books,
Twice Sold Tales
My heart always leaps when I arrive in Pike Place Market & see you! When I had a car it was covered in bumper stickers I got from you, & for you I make an exception to my only-purchase-books-I've-read rule & take a chance on something new.
Dear Twice Sold Tales,
While your labyrinth of floor-to-ceiling shelves and stacks of books is definitely worth the trip, what I really love is your menagerie of store cats.
Dear Tsunami Books,
Dudley's Bookshop Cafe
Thanks for being a comfy place to go whenever I was feeling down. Your big bookshelf of cheap, used classics is one of the best things I could ever ask for!
A big fan,
Dear Dudley's Bookshop Cafe,
Lincoln City, OR
I loved meeting you last summer, even if it was only for a short while. When one of your cashiers saw my selection of books and wrote down a wonderful recommendation for me to look up later, I knew I would someday return to see you again.
Dear Robert's Bookshop,
Your many rooms leading into rooms and then more rooms of every kind of book provide hours of diversion in what seems to me to be possibly the second biggest bookstore in Oregon, a dreamlike treasure built into a coastal forest hillside in Lincoln City.
from Andy, a fan when I can
Dear Brused Books,
The Ripped Bodice
Culver City, CA
A date with you was always spent unearthing adventure. Stocking my college years with secondhand vamps, Palouse maps, and a severely deteriorated Le Morte d'Arthur I miraculously still have, you really knew me best. ♥ ♥
Tin Can Mailman
From one Romance bookseller to another...Ripped Bodice, you have my heart ♥ when it comes to tracking down those hard-to-find swoony titles.
xoxo Mecca, a fellow ROMANCE enthusiast
Dear Tin Can Mailman,
Shakespeare and Company
Your overflowing shelves and quiet corners were as much a part of my college days as a walk in the redwoods or a climb up to Founders Hall. Your iconic blue corner building is still a must-visit anytime I'm back in Arcata!
With love and fond memories,
Dear Shakespeare and Company,
Books Are Magic
Your labyrinthine, cramped, musty, historic, toppling-over, floor-to-ceiling, half-organized bookstore is the epitome of what a bookstore should be, and if my one visit ends up being my only visit, I can say that I will remember it forever.
Dear Books Are Magic,
Cannon Beach, OR
You’re everything I’ve ever looked for in a bookstore and my love for you is *magic*! You are relatable, approachable, cultured, and kind. You’re creative, informed, warm, and witty. You’re small and humble, with a big heart and bigger impact on readers. Thank you for the love you show to this indie community and any time we interact on social media (swoon!).
Dear Jupiter's Books,
Fact & Fiction
There is something so comforting about your books stacked to the ceiling, the smell of the books, and the quiet treasure hunt within your walls where time means nothing. I love stopping by any time I am in Cannon Beach!
Until next time,
Dear Fact & Fiction,
A trip home wouldn't be the same without your cozy embrace. I fell in love with you years ago and distance has made the heart grow fonder. I long to browse your staff picks and your local author section. I'll see you soon.
Dear Eclipse Bookstore,
You are the platonic ideal of a used bookstore. The perfect blend of organization and chaos; the incredible view; the charming location. Whenever I adventure to Bellingham, trawling your shelves for surprising hidden treasures is a must-do. Thank you for the Tamora Pierce mass markets that completed my collection.
As the conversation hearts say, “U Rule,”
Dear Auntie's Books,
Still North Books & Bar
A first love always holds a special place in your heart, and you are no exception. I may have moved on to new cities and different bookstores, but you will always be my favorite place to come browse the stacks.
To Still North Books & Bar,
East Sandwich, MA
I got to have the first beer your ever poured!
There could be no greater happiness than sitting in your sunny front windows, watching little Hanover cycle through its seasons.
Thank you for 100 perfect afternoons,
The Comp Lit major
Dear Titcomb's Bookshop,
Your dark woody banisters lead to three floors of new and antiquarian treasures, all part of your charm as a three-story bookstore add-on to a 1690 house on Cape Cod. The Titcomb family built the store (along the wrought iron sculpture/landmark out front) and they've been masterfully hawking tomes there for more than 50 years. Viva Vicky!
From Andy, a former browser, now a continent away
Dear Lucy's Books,
Magers & Quinn
I discovered you on an apocalyptic day, the summer of 2020, when smoke was everywhere. Everything else was closed due to COVID and the fires, but yet you soldiered on. Thanks for taking me in and for having a Tardis in your store.
You are the coolest!
The Booksellers of Magers & Quinn,
Los Angeles, CA
When I'm missing Minneapolis, which is often (yes, even in the coldest months of winter), I think about the many hours I've spent in Magers & Quinn, browsing the recently arrived used books, and finding hidden gems in the poetry section. It's been a couple of long years since I've been home, but I hope to see you again soon!
Still a Minnesotan at heart,
Dear Skylight Books,
In my favorite recurring dream, I am petting your store cat, Franny, and sitting under your sun-spackled ficus tree. With a teetering stack of books beside me, I am reading (to Franny) the opening pages of Salinger's Franny and Zooey, when Zooey Deschanel approaches me and hands me a copy of a very rare Aimee Bender book, that no one even knows about yet. It is festooned with Post-It Notes, Book Darts, pressed flowers, and marginalia. I'm not sure what it all means, but I feel like I'm in love. Happy Valentine's Day.
Dear Longfellow Books,
Another Read Through
You're one of my favorite places to visit when I go home to Maine. A lovely quiet space in the middle of the city, it's as much fun to quietly browse the shelves as it is to people-watch out the window onto Monument Square.
With love from the Other Portland,
Dear Another Read Through
I’m missing your lovely brick-and-mortar store and its sweet tree since you had to close physical doors, but what I’ve always loved the most about you is your spirit, which lives on in your online form — and I’m so happy knowing you’re out there, still selling books and supporting your community and being you. Long live Another Read Through, and I hope to one day walk through your doors again.
Dear Vintage Books,
You are a bright, sunny day in this dreary world of rain. The thought of spending a cozy afternoon within your bookshelves brings me joy. I adore Maisie and Dickens! I eagerly await playing hide and seek with them, even though I know they will win.
Eternally your admirer,
Dear Housmans Bookshop,
Iowa City, IA
My beloved, though an ocean separates us, I dream every night of your beautiful books, kind staff, cozy isles, and radical commitment to social justice. Our paths may have crossed for just a moment in time, yet I have left forever changed and long to return to your literary embrace.
Dear Prairie Lights,
Even though I broke up with you, I'll still always love you a lot. You made the dark, sub-zero nights on the Iowa prairie seem almost cozy when you hosted stellar writers, while serving hot coffee and wine. I left a small piece of my heart at the back of the poetry stack on the first floor. ♥
Dear Adventures Underground,
Writer's Block Bookstore
Winter Park, FL
Thanks for putting so much effort into providing a place for nerds of all kinds to be themselves and discover new friends/writing/comics/games/etc. Adventures Underground is a lifegiving oasis in the figurative and literal desert of SE WA! I love you and I'm in love with you.
Dear Writer's Block Bookstore,
Green Bean Books
I first visited you at your original location in Winter Park, where your cushy reading chairs and tall white shelves offered a second home. Your chalkboard signage became as dear to me as any piece of art, so moonstruck was I.
Your enamored patron,
Dear Green Bean Books,
A Room of One's Own
You are an amazing and vibrant neighborhood bookstore specializing in children's books. Immediately upon walking inside, you're enchanted and all those magical feelings you felt as a child with a book in your hand come rushing to the surface. For kids of all ages (and those buying books for kids), it's a dream come true.
Dear A Room of One's Own,
Cavalier House Books
Denham Springs, LA
I'm in awe of the work you do, from Bookstores Against Borders to Queer Qare Packages and beyond! Your staff picks make my heart sing, your Twitter feed brings joy to my otherwise terrible scrolling. I was lucky enough to spend a crisp, sunny, snowy afternoon in your old location, and I'm looking forward to making my way back to Wisconsin and absolutely failing to play it cool in the new space.
♥ ♥ ♥,
Dearest Cavalier House Books,
The Town of Hay-on-Wye
It's been far too long since we've seen each other. I can still picture the rainy Antique District of Denham Springs reflected in your perfectly polished windows. Wishing you and your owners the happiest of days. I love you forever.
Your distant and faithful friend,
Shaker Heights, OH
Your entire town is dedicated to bookshops and what could be better than that! Shout out to the Children's Bookstore for helping me to track down the UK edition of the best children's Christmas book ever, Christmas in Exeter Street by Diane Hendry. I dream of visiting your bookstore-lined streets again.
Dear Loganberry Books,
Word After Word
Every time I went home to visit my dad in Cleveland, we'd set aside an all-too-short afternoon to wander through your vast and lofty and book-filled depths. Now when I go, I go to remember him.
Thanks for the memories,
Dearest Word After Word,
White Whale Bookstore
I visited you during the summer of 2020, and it was the first time I had been to a bookstore in 6 months. Your recommendations were thoughtful and authentic and I left teary eyed with a stack of books. Thank you for being my home away from home.
Dear White Whale Bookstore,
Call me Moby Dick because I just can't seem to quit you. I know, I know: we still haven't met, but there's something about that storefront appearing on social media that makes my heart swoon. Thank you for being here. ♥
♥ ♥ ♥,
Dear Munro's Books,
New Renaissance Bookshop
I absolutely love your airy, open space and your bookseller's depth of knowledge. The last time I was in, I asked about Canadian poets who aren't well known in the US, and walked out with 6 or 7 books from marvelous poets I'd never read before.
Talk about well recommended!
To my old friend New Renaissance,
Queen Anne Book Company
I have been visiting you since I was a child, and every time you welcome me into your warm embrace, I feel at home. The people who care for you and your customers are always happy, and the incense that floats around your shelves is calming and warm. As always, I look forward to our next exchange of ideas.
With much love,
Dear Queen Anne Book Company,
San Diego, CA
Your name is befitting you. A queen in her glory, ruling over Queen Anne, my heart, and my bookshelf. Though our time was brief, you left a lasting impression I shall never forget. Thank you for introducing me to the kingdom of Russian Chyerti.
Much LOVE to Mysterious Galaxy for making sure my moody girl Harrow edition had the black sprayed edges during those pesky lockdowns...plus your lovely thank you notes in my orders make my heart pitter patter.
Meu Amado Livrario Bertrand,
You don't know me, and I don't know you. But how I've admired you from afar. My family immigrated from Lisbon and the Azores to the US in the '40s, so there's a lot of my heart in Portugal. But to peruse the aisles of the oldest bookstore in the world for myself would be a dream come true. One day, perhaps, I will get the chance. But until that day, I shall remain a distant and most fond admirer.
Com tudo meu amor,