The best part of any used bookstore, for me, is the smell. As an admitted bibliophile who used to while away hours in her grandmother’s used book shop, the smell of aging paper, binding and cardboard brings back a flood of pleasant memories. In a quest to replicate those cherished childhood memories, I have sought out used bookstores in every city where I have lived. The Denver selection of used bookshops does not disappoint. Following are five local shops that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The granddaddy of Denver used bookstores is certainly Books Unlimited, located in a semi-suburban shopping center on Colorado Boulevard. The shop has been voted “Best in Denver” several times by Westword readers and is a local favorite. The expansive shop offers some creature comforts like a grandfather clock and relatively easy-to-browse sections, but if the mini-mall environment is too industrial for your taste, they also have a website, www.booksunlimited.com, where customers can order online from their huge inventory.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Closer to downtown, on South Broadway’s retail row, is Ichabod’s Books. Ichabod’s also has a very large selection and many rare or out-of-print titles, and is home to Mrs. Crane’s, an in-store coffeehouse. The store staff is helpful at tracking down out-of-print and obscure titles, and there is even a section of used vinyl records for music-minded browsers.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Capitol Hill Books, located near the State capitol buildings on Colfax Avenue, is a long-standing Denver institution. The store, which belongs to the Rocky Mountain Antiquarian Bookseller’s Association, is home to a large selection of used and rare books as well as an eclectic but helpful staff. Capitol Hill Books also has an online database at www.capitolhillbooks.com for browsing or ordering.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ For those with a taste for the unique, Fahrenheit’s Books on South Broadway offers a variety of unusual used books ranging in subject from the occult to kitschy ’50s pulp fiction. If you can’t find it anywhere else, chances are good you can find it at Fahrenheit’s. The store is small but well-stocked and also offers an online database of books that are both in the store and in their online-only collection. For more information, visit www.fahrenheitsbooks.com.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ The Denver Book Mall, located at 32 Broadway, is exactly what the name would imply- a large, multi-dealer mecca of both new and used books as well as an art gallery. The book merchants within the mall include specialists in Asian culture, Western books and more. The Denver Book Mall also hosts book signings and readings for visiting authors, as well as book discussion groups, collecting seminars and other literary events.