Browsing Bookstores

Pick up books at northside independent shops When it comes to Spokane, books and Auntie’s Bookstore have come to be more or less synonymous. With the store’s multiple locations and local infamy, Auntie’s has become an important point of pilgrimage for the literary-minded of Spokane.

While Auntie’s is nothing short of a one-stop shop, other small independent bookstores in the area may be just the things to pull at the heartstrings of Spokane bibliophiles. These stores have Main Street charm manifested in characteristics ranging from a teeny-tiny staff to overwhelming (but oh-so-exciting) spilling-over shelves.

Book Traders Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 907 W. Garland Ave.

Megan Hinzdel | Photographer Book Traders, a used bookstore in the Garland district, houses so many books that the store has begun to use cardboard boxes to organize popular titles, soon-to-be owner and current manager Erin Johnson said.

It seems no one is sure how long Book Traders, a long and lanky Garland bookstore, has been around. Store employee Rod Wells said he fondly remembers his first visit to the store in 1951, when he moved to Spokane from Colville.

“It’s gotten bigger since I came in here the first time,” Wells said. “We have 70,000 books in here roughly, all used books.”

Soon-to-be owner and current manager Erin Johnson said she describes the store as an explosion of books.

“We have no shelf space available ever,” Johnson said. “What someone has done is we take the more popular authors as far as paperbacks go, and we put them in boxes with the authors’ names on them, then we put the boxes on the floor and on the shelves. So we have stacks of boxes everywhere.”

Book Traders, as the name suggests, also trades used books for store credit.

Cal’s Books Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 2174 N. Hamilton St.

What sets Cal’s apart is its namesake: Cal himself. Cal Emerson, owner and operator, said he tries to make his store a familial place, which he does by making friends with many of his customers.

“People get to know me really well,” Emerson said. “I trade used books and deal used books, so people who read a lot know they can save a lot of money here.”

He said he creates an atmosphere where people can relax and enjoy perusing his shelves.

“Besides that there’s a lot of books here, I have some of my photographs on the wall,” Emerson said. “I play soft background music pretty much all day long.”

Cal’s books also accepts used books for store credit.

Monkeyboy Books Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. Sunday 12:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. 123 S. Wall St.

While most independent used bookstores have an eclectic charm, the owner of Monkeyboy Books said she takes pride in keeping her shelves organized.

The new sense of organization is what customers have commented on most since she bought the store, said Marina Drake, the French transplant who acquired the store in December.

“Before it was a man that owned the store, so maybe there’s a feminine touch that people appreciate,” Drake said.

Her pride in appearance extends to the quality of the books in the store, she said.

“We are pretty selective on the conditions of the books,” Drake said. “We like high quality books.”

Monkeyboy specializes not only in run-of-the-mill used books, but also in hard-to-find rare and out-of-print editions.

The Book Parlor Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. 1425 W. Broadway Ave.

Note: The store is connected to Indaba Coffee. Books may be bought through Indaba Monday - Friday 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

The Book Parlor’s missional goals make the store a unique addition to this list. A ministry of the Salem Lutheran Church across the street, The Parlor is a non-profit that works to benefit its community.

“The majority of the books that we stock are Christian spirituality, church ministry, Christian living-type books,” store manager Casey Laughary said. “But we also have novels, children’s books, young readers’ books, and other books that you wouldn’t find in a typical Christian bookstore.”

At the center of the store’s mission is its goal to be a safe public space to the residents of the West Central neighborhood.

“We’re a bookstore, but we also exist to benefit the neighborhood,” Laughary said. “In the area itself, West Central, there isn’t a lot of public spaces. There especially weren’t when we first started. People can come in and relax, and get a cup of coffee at Indaba.”

Another allure of The Book Parlor is its textbook buyback program, which is open to all college students.

The store also accepts used books as tax-deductible donations.

Lindsie Trego Staff Writer

Contact Lindsie Trego at lwagner14@my.whitworth.edu

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