Best Used-Book Store St. Louis 2000 - Book House
Readers' Choice: Left Bank Books
If the Book House didn't have a sign in front of it, it would just look like an interesting, large old house. And when you step inside, you see that it still basically is an interesting, large old house. None of the walls, interior or exterior, appears to have been removed or moved, yet this place is no longer a residence but a three-story used-book store, with every available inch of space covered by bookshelves and books. The Book House is everything a bookstore should be, with winding staircase, readily attainable solitude in the stacks and the occasional cat. And books. There's a swell selection of forgotten, amusing and cheap used books, but, again, the kicker is the building itself. The 1865 manse is all creaky staircases, narrow passages and rooms both tiny and big lovingly plugged up with books. To enter the poetry section, you have to bend down and get inside a roof dormer! The "Bargain Basement" is a cool cellar lined with books that are $10 a bag, a bulk-buying bookworm's delight. I'm sure that more than a few bibliophiles have spent their first visit here thinking in amazement that this is their home fantasy library come to life. "Why can't I make my house look like this?" they think. ("Because my spouse would divorce me," the inner voice replies.) During the winter holidays, the Book House hosts a party that takes their inexpensive prices down a notch further and offers cookies and punch to all comers. Sure, you'll find what you want at Barnes & Noble or Borders, but the prefab environments there are a mockery of the old, romantic character that is the Book House. There is no substitute.