Where Do You Buy Books?


There are some great used books stores in town (like Idle Time in Adams Morgan pictured above). There’s also Second Story off Dupont Circle, a few Olson’s left, Borders, Politics and Prose, Kramer Books and others. And of course there is Amazon to purchase your books on line. Now I’ve often pined for a bookstore in our neighborhoods but I’m wondering if people still purchase books at the brick and mortar stores. If you do, what’s your favorite in DC?

21 Comment

  • saf

    Dude, your poll left off my favorite new book places. I go most often to Idle Times, Second Story, Georgetown Books (in Bethesda), and Olsson’s. I get kid’s books at Treetop.

    Oh, and if I buy on-line, it’s from Powell’s.

    I do so miss Moonstone Bookcellars, and all the Olsson’s there used to be. (How you could tell we were geeks when we were in college – the most exciting thing about Georgetown was the Olsson’s Books and Records that was open until midnight! Middle of the night book shopping – oooooooohhhh!) Oh, and I miss Cheshire Cat too.

  • Used books always make me think of Seinfeld and the bathroom book episode 🙂

    I always think about that episode when I’m reading my musty goodwill purchases. If books could tell other stories than what was just written on their pages…I don’t think I would want to know!

  • I love the crazy Capitol Hill Used Bookstore

  • I usually buy from amazon.com hard to find books, but I always make sure that I have them delivered to my office and not my house. I had one delivery stolen off of my stoop. I think the big Amazon on the box is a beacon for come and steal me. Also, I’ve told UPS in the past to not leave any packages on my stoop, but they do. So now I deliver all packages to my office.

    How many of you when you do order something from Amazon have it shipped to your office rather than your home?

  • blittle:
    A friend of mine secretly had a housewarming gift sent to me last June — before I moved into the apartment. When I got the DHL notice, I was pretty worried about what might happen to the package, but 2 days later it was still on the porch, unopened and unharmed. It gave me faith, so I continue to have stuff delivered to the house.

  • I usually have my books shipped to my house. The UPS or FEDEX delivery people will put my shippment under my front porch bench.

  • I have stuff delivered to the house. The delivery guys seem to be pretty good at hiding packages out of view. I sometimes wonder if they get a kick out it, trying to figure out the best place to hide a package.

  • I like Kramerbooks and Busboys and Poets (though the selection is admittedly limited). And I miss Candida’s (formerly of 14th St.) for travel books.

    More about the plight of Olsson’s here:

  • Who cares about books when Melissa is rumoring/reporting on CHnews.com forum that Ellwoods’s has finally signe a lease!! 😀 😉

  • blittle, I had a package I ordered during Christmas season stolen of my front porch. It was something that sold out quickly and I had to call tons of stores to find. Thankfully I found a replacement and it arrived in time. Also, I was lucky enough to get a full refund from the first company. I just hope whoever stole it REALLY needed a nice present for their mother or whoever. That bastard!

    So yes, I ship everything to work.

  • I ship everything to work, a habit for over a decade after some paltry package was stolen way back when.

  • The stealing of items off front porches should be a new PoP thread. My realtor left me a housewarming present, which was stolen off my front porch before I got it. He actually lived in Petworth and should have known better.

    And I had 4 huge bottles of DEER PARK water stolen off my front porch. my elderly neighbor told me he saw some crack heads loading them up in their car. That was ballsy, as those bopttles are heavy and you need to climb about 10 steps to get to my porch. I was wondering why my neighbor didn’t call the cops…..but I never said anything. I just canceled Deer park, as they couldn’t guarantee a specific delivery time.

    and several neighbors have had flowers, plants, chairs, etc stolen off their front porches. I can’t believe other neighbors would not notice this happening and call the cops. Sad and shocking.

  • Well that’s the nice thing about living in a building, there’s someone at the front door to sign for you and it’s not left around for someone to take. A lot of my coworkers and friends have things shipped to their office.

    A friend was getting his Netflix DVDs stolen, someone was watching them and returning them! So he had to start getting those delivered to his office as well.

  • When I order things, I have them delivered to my office. But other people send stuff to my house, and I too enjoy the ingenuity of the delivery people! The best one was when he took a snowshovel that had been lying next to the stairs, brought it up to the porch, leaned it against the house and concealed the package behind it. Genius! Rock on, delivery guy.

  • Idle Time sucks. The books they have are mostly of the same quality you get when your average library/church has a book sale and they allow you to fill a whole bag with as many books as you want for $1. So each book is worth just a few pennies. Idle Time sells these types of books for a few dollars each. Huge mark-up. But they’re books nobody wants. Except people that like to say things like “I love this ‘funky’ little bookstore in Adams-Morgan.”

  • I try not to buy books anymore, after having some really difficult experiences moving tons of books from one apartment to another. The problem is that if I let myself really go, I could buy books almost every week.

    The often-maligned Petworth Library has some really up-to-date books there; it’s great if you go and you’re not really looking for anything in particular. (It’s when you’re searching for a book that it can get frustrating.) But I’ve walked in several times and been surprised to find a book just sitting there that at other libraries (I also have cards to the Ffx and MoCo library system) would be on a wait list.

    When I do order things, though, I have it shipped to work. Delivery people won’t even leave things at my building because there’s no good hiding place — and good for them, for caring.

  • Book stores never ever have the books I want in stock. And it’s not even crazy weird books either. So I get frustrated and I don’t bother anymore, I order online.

  • oooh, great question… I dunno if I should reveal but I LOVE what Books 4 America is doing The collect and donate books to schools in need but besides that – their store on P Street NW in Dupont is a gold mine. I can find something anywhere but my bf who mulls book purchases SERIOUSLY came out with a bagfull. The Arlington library sale is also a favorite.

  • Automated Book Exchange FTW! 13,500 booksellers from all over the planet upload their inventory databases (including most used bookstores around DC). If it’s a book, they have it.

  • My favorite indie bookstore for new books remains Bridge Street Books on Penn in Georgetown. My favorite used bookstore is Second Story, simply due to volume, but I want to give a shout out to Red Onion for its book selection. Red Onion is on 18th, near T, NW.

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