Best Book Store (Independent) St. Louis 2009 - Left Bank Books
The "people don't read anymore" trope dates back to about a week after the advent of publishing, and today humanity publishes more books per annum than in all recorded history. People read. Or at least, people make books, and people buy books. Book retail has always been the eccentric nephew of the retail world. That's wrong. Left Bank Books proves it. In the past year, this highly regarded fixture of the nation's independent-bookstore landscape opened a location downtown to complement the Central West End base of operations. People buy books, and people in this city buy books from Left Bank. The downtown store is crisp and inviting, with spotless concrete floors and exposed ductwork invoking the lofts it neighbors. It's flooded with light from outside but somehow remains flawlessly peaceful within. The blond bookcases are stacked with everything from guides and photo tomes to cookbooks and thrillers and, yes, Literature-with-a-capital-L — in essence, everything a full-service indie bookstore should offer. Comfortable chairs too! One is tempted to compare and contrast the new place with the old (here used books are upstairs instead of downstairs, the floor is open and roomy instead of sectioned and carpeted), but that does the whole enterprise a tasteless disservice, akin to comparing siblings.