Awesome Bookstores in Montpelier, Vermont

Blink and you’ll miss it: That’s how small Montpelier, the capital city of Vermont, seems to be. Close your eyes, though, and you’ll be passing over an unusually wide array of bookstores for such a small town.

Bear Pond Books. 77 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (802) 229-0774. http://www.bearpondbooks.com. A book lover’s paradise tucked away in the heart of Vermont, Bear Pond has delighted bibliophiles for over three decades with its old-fashioned creaky hardwood floors and soaring book stacks. Stock here ranges from popular fiction to classics to local history, with a special focus on Vermont settings, Vermont historyâÂ?¦and Vermont authors, who may appear at one of the bookstore’s many author events. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the eager, knowledgeable staff will make recommendations or take special orders. I lose myself in the shelves every time I go here. It’s my favorite bookstore in the state!

Book Garden. 50 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (802) 223-2824. In the Book Garden, books both new and used bloom. The Book Garden has especially strong selections of fantasy, sci-fi and paperbacks. It’s also one of the few places in central Vermont where you can browse a selection of manga and graphic novels. Run by passionate book geeks who will gladly share lists of their favorites, the Book Garden has relatively late hours (11:00 AM to 9:00 PM every day except Saturday) to accommodate leisurely afternoons among the stacks.

Rivendell Books. 100 Main Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (802) 223-3928. http://www.rivendellbooksvt.com. Yet another gem of Vermont’s capital city, Rivendell Books contains a bit of everything in its snug but well laid-out store. There are new titles, as well as used, remaindered and collectible, available. Selection extends beyond the current bestsellers to include a strong showing of theology, spirituality, Vermontiana, children’s books, art books and cookbooks. Prices run more expensive than most (given the store’s collectible/rare focus), but you can always sell Rivendell your used books for store credit to ease the sticker shock. Note: Rivendell’s Web site contains its rare and collectible stock only. For general inquiries, give them a call. Their staff is attentive and very nice.

Waldenbooks. Berlin Mall Road, Berlin, VT 05602. (802) 229-5254. http://www.waldenbooks.com. Waldenbooks is actually just outside of Montpelier, in the Berlin Mall, which is your average collection of outlet stores, completely devoid of character and comfort. Waldenbooks concentrates on popular fiction, which fights for space with many greeting cards, calendars, magazines and knickknacks. You’ll find many copies of the latest Harry Potter books or romance, but not much in terms of classics or literary fiction. The unexceptional selection limits Waldenbooks to mediocrity.

Yankee Paperback Exchange. 11 Langdon Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. (802) 223-3239. Those who love bargains should investigate the Yankee Paperback Exchange. The cluttered, narrow aisles burst with all types of paperbacks in all conditions, from fair to like new. A garage sale of a store, the Paperback Exchange offers sketchy organization and sparse customer service, so you’re pretty much on your own. The store has vast amounts of romances, women’s fiction, self-help, nutrition, recent bestsellers (multiple copies!) and books on tape. You can bring in your unwanted paperbacks or audio books for store credit, but be aware that the amount of credit they offer is small compared to, say, Rivendell.

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