Here is a select list of some independent bookstores worth exploring in Metro Detroit and points beyond:
Book lovers bid a melancholy adieu to Marwil’s this year, and newcomer Leopold’s closed as well. But now Detroiters have Pages on Livernois as well as the niche booksellers Ditto Ditto and Source Booksellers. And we’ll always have John K. King Books.
Pages on Livernois, 19410 Livernois, Detroit (an interim location for Murphy, until the permanent storefront at 19344 Livernois is ready).
Specialties: Literary fiction, general fiction and the classics. A selection of nonfiction, with an emphasis on Detroit-themed books.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Sat.
Ditto Ditto, 1548 Trumbull, Corktown.
Specialty: Art books.
Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.,Thurs.-Sat.; noon-4 p.m. Sun. Closed Tues.-Wed.
Source Booksellers, 4240 Cass #105, Detroit. (313) 832-1155
Motto: “Making Literary Arts Visible”
Specialty: Nonfiction in four categories: history and culture, health and well-being, books by and about women, and the metaphysical and spiritual.
John K. King Used and Rare Books, 901 W. Lafayette, Detroit. (313) 961-0622
Specialty: King claims to have a million books on hand, and that may be an understatement. Vintage books, both popular and rare, on many floors in a vast, former glove factory.
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat.
The Book Beat, 26010 Greenfield, Oak Park. (248) 968-1190
Motto: “Serving the collective unconscious since 1982. Feed your brain!”
Specialty: Art, photography, quality literature, children's books and a vast collection of music biographies.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Fri:, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
Sept. 21: Author/poet Charles Baxter and author/poet Stuart Dybek will read and sign copies of their work at 1 p.m. at the store.
Oct. 10: Tavis Smiley, at the Detroit Public Library (3 p.m.) and a ticketed event at 7 p.m. at the Southfield Public Library
John K. King Books North, 22524 Woodward, Ferndale. (248) 548-9050
Specialty: Used books on every subject, some 60,000 volumes.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
The Next Chapter Bistro and Books, 141 E. Main, Northville. (248) 465-0010
Specialty: Everything from bestsellers to local authors.
Mission statement: “Relax, read a book, write a book, drink coffee, drink tea, eat scones, gather your thoughts, lose your thoughts, gather your friends, make new friends, gather before dinner in Northville, get dinner or get dessert after dinner!”
Hours: 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Tues., Sun.; 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed., Sat.; 7:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thurs.-Fri.
MacNeill’s Books, 3155 12 Mile, Berkley. (248) 543-1177
Specialty: Used books, with a focus on literature and history. There’s a wonderful array of vintage radios on display, but not for sale — nor are the two dogs.
Hours: Noon-7 p.m. Tues.-Fri., noon-6 p.m. Sat., but sometimes the owner wanders in a little late, he advises.
Blue Frog Books, 3615 E. Grand River (Grand River Plaza), Howell. (517) 552-6080
Hours: 10 a.m-8 p.m. Mon.-Sun.
Schuler Books & Music
Locations: 2660 28th St. SE, Grand Rapids; 2820 Towne Center Blvd., Lansing (517-316-7801); 1982 Grand River, Okemos (517-349-8840); and Ann Arbor (Nicola’s).
Specialty: Used and new books, general interest. Schuler Books & Music is a family-owned independent bookstore company with four Michigan stores.
Sept. 22: In Grand Rapids, former president Jimmy Carter will appear in events co-sponsored by Schuler Books. At 3:45 p.m., there is a book signing at Calkins Science Center, 226 Bostwick NE, and there is a 5 p.m. lecture at the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse, 111 Lyon St. NE. Tickets required; $28 ticket gets you his new book, “A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power,” entry into the book signing and reserved seating at the lecture. Call (616) 234-3908 for a book signing ticket.
Curious Book Shop, 307 E. Grand River, East Lansing. (517) 332-0112
A long-time favorite of Michigan State University students and professors since 1969, Curious Book Shop has always specialized in popular culture, including comic books, vintage movie magazines, sci-fi, Michigan-specific titles and the usual used bookstore fare of fiction, cookbooks, history, etc. Be sure to ask to go upstairs, which is sometimes locked.
Summer hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
Archives Book Shop, 517 W. Grand River, East Lansing. (517) 332-8444
Archives boasts that it stocks “more than 30,000 volumes,” from the 16th to the 21st centuries. Books with leather bindings, hard covers and paperbacks. Vintage catalogs, automotive ephemera.
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Fri.
Everybody Reads, Books & Stuff, 2019 E. Michigan, Lansing. (517) 346 9900
Motto/mission statement: “To be known as a neighborhood resource center where individuals and families find a heart of social vitality, kinship and belonging.”
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Fri.-Sun.
Book Bound, 1729 Plymouth, Ann Arbor. (734) 369-4345
The store touts new releases, fiction and nonfiction, as well as an extensive selection of children’s books and thousands of bargain books at 40-60 percent off the cover price.
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Sun.
Literati Bookstore, 124 E. Washington, Ann Arbor. (734) 585-5567
Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.
Common Language Bookstore, 317 Braun Court, Ann Arbor. (734) 663-0036
Specialties: Books of interest to the LGBT community, rainbow merchandise, etc.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-midnight Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.
Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, Westgate Shopping Center at Jackson & Maple in Ann Arbor. (734) 662-0600
Specialties: A wide range of fiction and nonfiction. Now owned by Schuler Books, Nicola’s will retain its name.
Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun.
Aunt Agatha’s Mystery Book Shop, 213 S. Fourth, Ann Arbor. (734) 769-1114
Motto: “Ann Arbor’s Only New and Used Mystery Bookshop!”
Specialty: More than 25,000 new and used mystery and true crime books.
Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. Sun.
Sept. 14: authors William Kent Krueger, Denise Swanson and Julia Keller will each talk about their new novels at 2 p.m.
Oct. 9: Hank Phillippi Ryan discusses her new thriller, “Truth Be Told,” and Lev Raphael will talk about and sign his new mystery, “Assault With a Deadly Lie,” at 7 p.m.
Motte & Bailey’s, 212 N. Fourth, Ann Arbor. (734) 669-0451
Specialties: Used and rare books, with a focus on “American and European history, books about books, children’s books, and scholarly titles.”
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat., closed Sun. Call for an appointment.
Fenton’s Open Book, 105 W Shiawassee, Fenton. (810) 629-8000
Motto: “We are a full-service independent bookstore.”
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.-Sat., noon-4 p.m. Sun.