Is any kind of store more important to a writer than bookstores?
Okay, maybe grocery stores, because writers need to buy chocolate in quantity. And eat occasionally. For some writers (not me!), liquor stores. But bookstores are dear to our hearts.
That’s why I intend to highlight some of the bookstores I’ve visited and loved.
Although I’ve been around the block a few times, I’m not extremely well traveled. Whenever my wife and I visit a new place, though, one of the first things we do is look for the bookstores. Back when we lived in the wilderness, before the Internet, we’d drive hours to a small town, hoping there was a decent bookstore. Of necessity, though, I’ll have a number from Tucson and Arizona in general.
(Except for Phoenix, which does NOT have much in the way of good bookstores—although that might be a Tucsonan’s natural prejudice against the behemoth 120 miles up the road. Compared to Phoenix, Tucson is cultural rather than commercial, hence more to my liking.)
I simply must start this series with the best bookstore I’ve ever loved: Bookman’s in Tucson.
Bookman’s started as used bookstore, though it’s now much more. For one thing, it’s huge. I don’t think I’ve ever gone into Bookman’s and been unable to find something to read. For example, when I started rereading the Hornblower novels I’d read as a teenager, every single volume in the eleven-book series was available.
The nicest feature? It’s a great place to exchange books, too. Over the years, I’ve brought in hundreds of books and gotten credit slips for later purchases.
They also carry videos, musical instruments, video games, sporting good, antiques—you name it. In fact, they no longer call themselves a bookstore. They’re an ‘Entertainment Exchange’.
To me, though, they’ll always be a bookstore. They even have comfortable chairs that encourage you to curl up for a while. For the wife and I, a wild night on the town is visiting the store for an hour or two, reading more than just a paragraph to see if we really want to buy. Heaven!
There are three branches in Tucson. Personally, I prefer the Speedway Blvd. store, across the street from where I used to work. The business has been so successful they also have outlets in Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Mesa.
My only complaint is that they sell used books. That means the author gets no royalties, so don’t buy any of my books there.
For sheer enjoyment, a visit to Tucson isn’t complete without visiting Bookman’s. Tell them I sent you.
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What about you? Do you have a favorite bookstore? Tell us about it in the comment section.
And be sure to check out other Bookstores I Love.