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Best Indie Bookshops In Miami

November 6, 2011 10:19 AM

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Spellbound Books & Gifts does stock new books, but owner Dennise Sleeper also features gently used ones. (Credit: spellboundbooks.com)

Spellbound Books & Gifts does stock new books, but owner Dennise Sleeper also features gently used ones. (Credit: spellboundbooks.com)

When it comes to independent bookstores in Miami, there’s not much competition. But don’t go thinking that the chain stores dominate. Sure, we’ve got our Borders and Barnes & Nobles, even our Books-a-Bajillion or whatever those discount places are called. But that’s not exactly what we’re talking about here. The book market is bound in a completely different way in this town – and oh yeah, we like it. –Jen Karetnick
booksnbooks Best Indie Bookshops In Miami

Books & Books has grown to three local locations, plus one in the Miami International Airport. (Credit: booksandbooks.com)

Books & Books

Coral Gables
265 Aragon Avenue
Coral Gables, Fla. 33134
(305) 442-4408

Miami Beach
927 Lincoln Road
Miami Beach, Fla. 33139
(305) 532-3222

Bal Harbour Shops
9700 Collins Avenue
Bal Harbour, Fla. 33154
(305) 864-4241

Miami International Airport, Concourse D, Gate D25
(305) 876-0468
www.booksandbooks.com

Opened in 1982 as a single unit by Mitchell Kaplan, a high school English teacher who found himself more enslaved to literature than his students, Books & Books has grown to three local locations, plus one in the Miami International Airport (there’s also a spot in the Hamptons and a site in Grand Cayman Island). But Kaplan doesn’t rest on his paperback laurels. He also runs the Miami International Book Fair, where nearly 400 prominent authors gather to read every November, and nearly all of his bookstores have had full-scale cafes added on to them as well. No local author considers himself “made” until he’s read at Books & Books, and no lit-minded visitor considers a vacation complete until he’s browsed for autographed stock in at least one of the stores, which is easy to do considering the hours – the Coral Gables and Miami Beach locations, for instance, are open until midnight on the weekends. But do call first to inquire. Special events and readings are always going on.

bookstoreinthegrove Best Indie Bookshops In Miami

A former Borders, The Bookstore in the Grove qualifies not only as the best indie bookshop in Miami. (Credit: thebookstoreinthegrove.com)

The Bookstore in the Grove

3399 Virginia Street #620
Coconut Grove, Fla. 33133
(305) 443-2855
www.thebookstoreinthegrove.com

A former Borders, The Bookstore in the Grove qualifies not only as the best indie bookshop in Miami, but also as the bravest. After all, it’s taken over the site of the enemy. For all that, though, it’s thrived, running 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily (from 8 a.m. on the weekends) in the Shoppes at Mayfair since 2007. The store is greatly personalized by owners Felice Dubin and Sandy Francis, who give personal recommendations based on their preferences. Other features include a book club that provides special discounts, a unique computer repair center on the premises, and custom order options. This indie bookshop is even dedicated to organic ingredients in the wraps, empanadas and shade-grown, organic coffee that they serve. Where else can you get all these services and be picky, too?

spellbound1 Best Indie Bookshops In Miami

Spellbound Books & Gifts does stock new books, but owner Dennise Sleeper also features gently used ones. (Credit: spellboundbooks.com)

Spellbound Books & Gifts

11 SE 2nd Drive
Homestead, Fla. 33034
(305) 247-5097
http://spellboundbooks.blogspot.com

To be one of the best indie bookshops, you don’t have to be new all the time. Located south of Miami in Homestead, Spellbound Books & Gifts does stock new books, but owner Dennise Sleeper also features gently used ones. Open since December 2006, Spellbound operates much like a community library, with children’s story hour, art and culture events, and tutoring taking place on the premises. Much of the activities dovetail with Sleeper’s stated intentions to improve the quality of the local education and assist the elementary and secondary children in getting to the next levels of their education. Though it closes on the early side (open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.) Spellbound also keeps writers’ groups in its sights. We can’t help but applaud all of that.

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