The advent of the Internet has brought about the slow death of the American bookstores. No longer is it necessary to read books to get the information needed for success in life. But in New Orleans, a city steeped with rich literary history, it’s no surprise that we still have great local bookstores. They are quirky, cozy, and staffed by wonderful people. A really great bookshop should be a place that you can get lost in, a wonderful place where the mind can wander off to faraway lands. Digging through tight aisles, it’s easy to spend hours scanning the shelves for just the right old cookbook or novel. There is magic in the tactile experience of reading words on the printed page, a magic that will never die. The immortal words of the authors that fill the shelves are kept alive by the bookstore owners who are just as interesting as the books they curate.
Dauphine Street Books
Steve, a 40-year veteran of the second hand book business, runs Dauphine St. Books. And he knows every inch of his shop, which is extremely well curated. Every genre is represented well and it’s easy to spend hours picking through his amazing collection of used books. In fact, the last time I was there I found a first-edition copy of Confederacy of Dunces.
Recently voted the best locally-owned bookstore by The Gambit, Octavia Books is a wonderful place to discover local authors as they routinely host book signings and readings by the South’s best writers. The extremely well-read staff is always great at helping you find your next favorite novel.
Garden District Book Shop
Housed in a building that was originally a skating rink in the late 1800’s the Garden District Book shop is famous for their commitment to hosting author events and for having hundreds of autographed books for sale. Take the St. Charles Streetcar to Washington Avenue and hop over one block to get here.
Faulkner House Books
Located in the former home of William Faulkner, this quaint bookstore is one of my favorites. The selection here is a snapshot of great American literature that features Faulkner and his works, several of which were written right here. Its location just beside Jackson Square makes it perfect for travelers to pick up a great book for the pool or for the trip back home.
A culinary bookshop that carries in the vicinity of 9,000 titles, Kitchen Witch covers the full gambit of cookbooks. Foodies and home cooks in New Orleans will absolutely love this French Quarter shop. I like coming here before lunch to peruse the appetizing selection of new, used, and rare books.