7325 N. La Cholla Blvd.
READERS' PICK: Every time we go in here, we feel guilty about all those little mom & pop bookstores across the country that have closed down because of the price-cutting practices of the monster bookstore chains. But then we look around at two stories of books, books by the bazillion, books at 30 and 40 percent off list price, and (have mercy on our consumers' souls) the guilt just sort of passes. We LOVE this place. A lot of the criticism is aimed at the golem of Corporate Bookstore, but you can't have a place this cool if the people running it didn't love books. It's not as though a bunch of corporate geeks got together, decided to sell widgets, and then substituted the word "book" for "widget." These are book-lovin' folk, same as you and we. Or is it you and us? Just think of it as a mom & pop bookstore, writ large.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Borders Books and Music, 4235 N. Oracle Road; 5870 E. Broadway Blvd. Here is a bookstore so confident in its product and its clientele that it provides comfy chairs in that people can sit and read to their heart's content. That's a gutsy move, one that pays off with some serious customer loyalty. Add a huge selection of music, a kiddie's reading place, a trendy café, a friendly, knowledgeable staff and extended hours and you've got a book lover's paradise.
LOOSE CHANGE: Antigone's, 411 N. Fourth Ave. Do yourself a favor and remind yourself just what a good independent bookstore is all about. No Rush Limbaugh. No Jackie Collins. Just great books displayed in a warm, convivial atmosphere. Antigone's specializes in women's books, but don't be scared off by that. It also carries a wide selection of modern literature and new books in all categories. It's even brave enough to keep an enticing poetry section, where you can find the latest by Tucson's finest poets. If you can't find the book you're looking for the helpful staff with gladly order it for you. There's an especially good kids' place and a sensitive collection of children's books. Bravo to the UA profs who send their students here. Let's hope this independent never leaves the Avenue.