Photography by Drew Hyland
A bookstore! In the age of Amazon and ebooks, independently owned bookstores are alive and well in Humboldt County. Each of our local shops is as unique as their owners. Here's a trio of favorites in which to get lost among the shelves on a winter's day.
The Booklegger's window displays wrap all the way around its corner location, enticing pedestrians with ever-changing themed selections. Inside, the low ceiling, meandering wooden shelves, hidden nooks and warm welcome help you slow down. Nancy Short and Jennifer McFadden have owned the Booklegger since 1993, and they can think of nothing better than talking with people about books. The store has a limited selection of new books, which the staff is happy to order for customers. But it is their wide array of used books, including an expansive literature section and a great collection of children's books that fills the nooks and crannies. The "Staff Picks" shelves provide the questing reader with inspiration and recommendations. Browsers and children are welcome.
At Eureka Books, housed in an 1879 Victorian storefront and named one of the country's 10 most beautiful bookstores by Huffington Post, huge glass-paneled doors lead you into a bright, open space with books on two levels. Amy Stewart, author of Girl Waits with Gun and The Drunken Botanist, her husband Scott Brown and business partner Jack Irvine bought the business eight years ago. Established in 1987, Eureka Books is known for its antiquarian and new books, including local authors. Brown says he appreciates the diversity of the local bookstores, and if Eureka Books doesn't have what you want, the staff will refer you to another local shop that might.
Tin Can Mailman is a rambling, two-story structure that's over 100 years old and filled to the rafters with used books. Shelves along the outer walls are arranged in alcoves that channel light from the tall, narrow windows. Established in 1972, the range of books reflects the community's interests, like the extensive selections of how-to books, science fiction and environmental offerings. Owner Wadeth Bory says that when the staff opens the gates, the books keep coming in. You're likely to see students hunting down or selling new and used. Bory also says people seem to be coming back to real books and the chance of discovery a bookstore provides.