Home to Yale University, historic literary giants Mark Twain, Noah Webster and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and more contemporary authors such as Wallace Stephens and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), it’s no wonder books are a plenty in Connecticut. Used bookstores are a myriad world of value, discovery, nostalgia, social connections and often, a warm coffee. Here are some of the best in Connecticut.
The Book Barn
41 West Main St
Niantic, CT 06357
(860) 739-5715

Ever been to a close friend’s or relative’s house who has a vast library and something on every subject you can imagine? That’s what you can expect at The Book Barn, or barns to be more accurate as there are four locations within a mile. The staff is warm and helpful and you can tell they love what they do and want nothing more than to help you find that perfect book. They will likely enrich you by opening you up to peripheral books and topics. The atmosphere is fun and eclectic where you can come, pet a house cat while browsing and hang out in the garden during your visit. You will walk out of there reenergized with a positive outlook on life and people. The amount of books is ridiculous at around half a million, so plan on spending some time there when you go.

The John Bale Book Company
158 Grand St
Waterbury, CT 06702
(203) 757-2279

Hungry for a delicious used book experience? Follow your nose to The John Bale Book Company in downtown Waterbury. They have over 10,000 books, including many out of prints and even books dating back to the 1400s, but the gold is in the entire experience. Your nose will quickly steer you towards their homemade frittatas, cupcakes, sandwiches and baked goods that pair well with a juicy out of print novel from 1923. You can easily spend the afternoon there, and never go hungry as their mind filling and stomach filling goods are the perfect blend. Thirsty for more? Take a class to learn how to write or make scones or join them on Tuesday and Saturday for British-style high tea. Up to 80,000 more books can be found online. Don’t’ worry if their website looks dated. Plenty of action is on their Facebook page and blog so check those out as well. Besides who has time for a website when it means you might burn the macarons?

New Haven Reads
45 Bristol St
New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 752-1923

With funding through Yale University, the New Haven Reads Book Bank is a special place. It’s passionate about encouraging kids and adults to read, promoting literacy and becoming involved in each other’s lives. The Book Bank is a free community book bank where you can find and donate used books, from adult non-fiction to board books for little hands. You can select up an unlimited number of adult books and up to five children’s books per day. New Haven Reads also offers many programs including free after-school tutoring services to SAT prep classes.

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On The Road Bookshop
163 Albany Turnpike
Canton, CT 06019
(860) 693-6029

Looking for a used book shop for the book purist? Try the On The Road Bookshop in Canton, located in Farmington Valley. The store is small but loaded with hard to find items and books that would scoff at the mass produced books of 2015. From the awning out front to the way they stack books both vertically and horizontally, people who love books will simply love the old-fashioned atmosphere. From the knowledgeable owner to the friendly labrador, it’s a true treasure trove.

The Book Bower

inside Main Street Market
386 Main St.
Middletown, CT
(860) 704-8222

Located in the heart of a college town near Wesleyan University, the Book Bower has over 20,000 books including 6,000 titles for kids and teens, and thousands of CDs. It maintains that college youthful vibe of trading in your old stuff for someone else’s old stuff in a crate then head to the diner and swap class notes. You can find the work of local authors, or even the author themselves browsing the quaint aisles. Established in 2008, the store is also environmentally friendly encouraging you to recycle the book back to the store when you are done, installing carpet made of recycled plastic bottles, using plastic bags are made of 100 percent post-industrial plastics and even hosting their website on wind-powered energy.

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Edward Main is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.