If you find yourself only ever reading maps and GPS systems as you travel and are hankering for a good page turner, take a detour off the highway and head for one of the best independent bookstores scattered around New Mexico. Not only will you find enormous selection, but many provide sustenance and a place to put your feet up and sit awhile. These bookstores will give you your next favorite book. Stop and browse through any one of these great bookstores and you won’t walk away emptyhanded.
Voted the best used bookstore last year by the Best of Burque poll, this independently owned and locally operated store has a 30-plus year history of success, in large part due to the great selection of both new and used books and top-notch staff. This is a quiet place to browse and sit awhile with a favorite book. They have a fun children’s area and a varied selection of local history books. The RPG (roll playing) section is one of the few in town, as is the rare book room. New Mexico teachers get a 20 percent discount off new books. Sign up as a member and get some great deals. Open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The bright orange sign that identifies Coas Books stands out against the backdrop of the Organ Mountains, which anchor the eastern side of the Mesilla Valley. Like a beacon, it draws customers in to this second-hand bookstore that has more than 500,000 books in stock and more than 200,000 online. On-hand at this behemoth of a store is every genre imaginable, plus an exceptional selection of regional books, as well as out-of-print books. Other highlights include $1 books, CDs, DVDs and the option to turn books in for trade. Two locations, but the flagship store is on Main Street and is open daily.
Curl up on one of the sofas with a good book and a cup of coffee for a relaxing afternoon at Santa Fe’s oldest independent bookstore. With an inventory of more than 30,000 titles you’ll find everything from local travel books to Southwest and Native American history to art, architecture, poetry and children’s books. It’s truly a community hangout, not far from the historic downtown Plaza, that showcases local authors, local and regional books and periodicals, and will special order books as requested.
What do you do when you inherit 18,000 books? Open a bookstore! That’s the story be-hind Under Charlie’s Covers, a place with books for all ages and interests. Since the opening, close to 10 years ago, the inventory has increased to 40,000 hardback and pa-perback books, both fiction and nonfiction. It’s a bibliophile’s paradise of 3,000 square-feet of wall-to-wall books. Last year, it placed in the top five of Albuquerque Magazine’s best of the city poll. You can bring in books for trade or store credit, too.
The literary heart of Luna County is located right inside Readers Cove, a labyrinth of used books in a myriad of categories. You’ll find Southwest history, nature, science fic-tion, popular fiction, western, Native American literature, mystery, children’s stories, esoterica, science and history just on the first browse. Inventory also includes hard-to-find, out-of-print, used and rare books. The gallery component features art prints of Southwestern flora and fauna and photographs by one of the owners. The store, a refur-bished 100-year-old adobe home, is a fixture in town just across from the post office.
If you’re a book addict then a store with more than 100,000 books is a dream come true. That’s Amy’s Bookcase, a used paperback exchange that’s been a Farmington habit for readers of all ages for years. What keeps customers coming back is the exchange pro-gram: a credit of one-fourth of the manufacturer’s price on all paperbacks, and only a charge of one-half the manufacturer’s price, plus a 50-cent trade fee when you buy. This policy keeps the inventory refreshed. Shelves are well-organized with all books categorized by subject and author. Book signings, special events and fun gifts makes this store a community favorite.
High in the mountains of the Pinos Altos Range just north of town is this one-of-a-kind book shop that, if you’re up for the drive, wants you to come by anytime, as long as you call first. In addition to publishing books on western Americana, hunting, fishing and natural history, they also have a collection of about 4,000 new, used, rare and out-of-print books on everything from memoirs to rocks and minerals to country living to World War II and the Civil War. A slightly quirky, off-the-beaten-track store worth exploring.