Best Used Bookstore (2006)

Kendall Bookshelf Incorporated

Okay, we're in South Florida, so there's no crackling fireplace with swirling snow outside, but dammit if this isn't the coziest, warmest, most conversation-inducing joint in town. People don't just exchange used copies of Dostoevsky or Darwin here; they trade thoughts, opinions, and ideas. And they go hunting, albeit in the shelves for things like a first-edition Jane Austen, an autographed Toni Morrison, or, say, the John Irving collection, 1982-1997. Steve Elliot and his family/staff might not have what you want in stock, but if it exists on this Earth, they will dig through tundra to find it for you. You can also bring in your used books. They don't always pay cash for them; sometimes they'll give you a ridiculously generous store credit instead. And, unlike some used bookstores, Kendall Bookshelf really doesn't carry new books, leaving that up to the suits down the street. In fact the Bookshelf folks love reading so much that they actually welcome the corporate stores with a "Woohoo! People reading!" attitude. What distinguishes this place from the Big B's -- and keeps it beloved -- is an emphasis on service and community. Staff members have a joyful and staggering knowledge of books and a near-photographic memory of customer preferences. Want a place where everybody knows your name? Skip the bar (and the corporate barista), grab some brewed java, and settle in.

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