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Book lover paradise in Sarasota

Outside A. Parkers Books and the Book Bazaar (Image via Facebook)

Regular visitors here know I love books (did you notice the Hamlet quotation on my homepage?), but I don’t just love reading them — I also love the process of shopping for them. Few pleasures can match wandering the cramped alleys and navigating the towering stacks of an out-of-the-way independent bookstore with a sprawling collection of reasonably priced tomes.

In Sarasota, the opportunities for quality book shopping have dwindled over the years: We lost Sarasota News & Books (although we eventually got Bookstore 1 in return), Brant’s Books (at least temporarily — they’ve got a new location) and even Barnes & Noble’s big-box competitor, Borders. But two stores have endured through it all, each under the same Main Street roof: A. Parker’s Books and the Book Bazaar.

Parker’s offers a wide variety of rare and antiquarian tomes, and maintains an impressive rare book room, while the Bazaar sells a more conventional selection of used and out-of-print books. No frills here: There’s no café, no baristas, no lattes. Just books. Lots and lots of books.

I love the smart and friendly staff. I love the hushed quiet right on Main. I love the very smell of the place: that musty old-paper scent that only old bookstores have earned.

I heartily recommend visiting both — if you can’t find something you’re interested in, well then shame on you.

Posted on July 29th, 2012Comments RSS Feed
2 Responses to Book lover paradise in Sarasota
  1. Mary, some of my fondest memories of working in Detroit, were of the times I dropped in the John King Used and Rare bookstore. I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I used to walk into the old clotihng warehouse – turned bookstore on a cold winter day, walk up to my favorite literary floor, walk on the creaky old wooden floors, place a milk crate under my feet so I could reach up to turn on the fluorscent lights.. to browse the old books.

    Mary, this bookstore is amazing. They have every single issue of National Graphic, Life, Look, etc.. magazines in print. They have behind glass door bookcases, journals written by explorers immediately after Lewis & Clark. And with an appointment, and assisted by a bookseller, you can see first editions by authors such as Dickens, Faulkner, Hemingway… even pages from original typed manuscripts..

    This store is just so cool. I still remember the smell of the old books, the smell of the aging pages as I leafed through the books.

    Yea Mary, I spent so many hours there and will hold the memories forever.

  2. […] Books: You know how much I love bookstores, particularly independent ones that carry unique titles, the kinds of places where you can always […]


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