Where to go for reads
- By Susan Drinkard For a town of 7,500, Sandpoint has a lot of bookstores. A tiny bookstore features what might be termed New Age books; a small bookstore partly in a railroad car holds used and new books with a Western theme; there’s a downtown store specializing in guidebooks and in locating hard-to-find books, and another downtown bookstore with a large collection of children’s books. A store with a comfy ethos and an old cat is located in Bonners Ferry. Here’s a brief rundown:
Baggage Car Books, formerly Books at Foster’s Crossing, on Oak Street (but the north entry faces Cedar) has a Western theme. Part of the store is in the historic building and part is in a restored 1907 baggage car. The store is open daily, with shortened hours on Sundays. Owners Dale and Katy Hefley sell hardbound and paperbacks, new and used. Phone (208) 263-7620.
Bonners Books garners quite a bit of press. An article by Denis Johnson in Travel and Leisure, termed Bonners Books “the best bookstore in the United States,” and you’ll find its wood floors and “startling range of new and used books” discussed in Fodor’s 2004 Montana, Wyoming & Idaho. Owner John O’Connor tries to keep the store “as general as good taste allows,” though minor specialties are classic fiction, blacksmithing, place names, field guides and maps. On winter days you’ll find Gypsy, the cat who has lived all of her 19 years in the store, sleeping on the baby grand piano. Bonners Books sponsors many cultural events. Contact the store for scheduled events. Phone (208) 267-2622.
Book Gallery at 823 W. Main, an eclectic generalist bookstore, was closed last fall for remodeling. Owners Shelby Rognstad and Natalia Ocasio will open most likely in December with a new name, Common Knowledge Bookstore and Tea Bar. In addition to a large selection of new and used books, the store will offer Internet services, DVDs and many new magazines. Simple, nutritious snacks will be available for purchase in the teahouse. Phone (208) 263-0178.
The Corner Book Store, at the corner of First and Main in downtown Sandpoint, recently expanded its floor space. There’s a section of hundreds of new books at 50 percent off. For special order new and out-of-print books, as well as Harry Potter collectables, this is the place to go. Sandpoint-born humorist Pat McManus will sign his first, full-length novel at the store in spring. Phone (208) 265-2886 or look up abebooks.com/home/cornerbookstore.
Inquire Within, formerly the Dolphin House, is now located downstairs in the Gardenia Center, across the street from the post office. It carries primarily new inspirational and spiritual books. The hours are different every day and are posted on the bulletin board outside. For information on discussion groups, call (208) 255-7903.
Livewire Café Christian Books and Bibles is part of the Calvary Chapel ministry at 521 S. Division, adjacent to the Federal Building on the Dover Highway. Phone (208) 255-7919.
Vanderford’s Books and Office Products, at 201 Cedar in downtown Sandpoint, has an artful selection of contemporary fiction and many books by area writers. In business for 26 years in Sandpoint, this is the place to go for its large assortment of children’s books, books by local authors and Book Sense recommendations. Vanderford’s sells only new books. Phone (208) 263-2417.