READERS' PICK: The venerable Bookman's is something of a paradox: it's popular because it's popular. In other words, it's so well-trafficked that the turnover is rapid, making repeated visits very worthwhile. The watchword here is "abundance." This place is well-stocked and well-staffed. There's a lot of room here, a lot of books filling that room, a lot of places to sit, a lot of people to help you and a lot of fellow browsers to bump into. And as long as we're talking about quantities, the number of subjects covered here is huge, making it easy to pinpoint just what you're looking for.
The music section in particular has a brisker turnover than anywhere else in town. If you don't find what you're looking for, come back in a week. Practically everything will have changed.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: The Book Stop Used Books, 2504 N. Campbell Ave. Few experiences can match the pure adrenaline rush of uncovering that passionately coveted, long out-of-print literary treasure hidden in the stacks of a great used bookstore (it's the bibliophile equivalent of bungee jumping). And few used bookstores in town can match the sheer pleasure of discovery offered by The Book Stop, a literary Shangri-La for the last 30-some years. The wildly eclectic and diverse stock, friendly and knowledgeable staff, the distinctly casual ambiance (ice cream from next door and even the occasional dog are welcome inside), and the distinct possibility of finding "that book" make the Book Stop tops for shaving untold hours off your life as you peruse its packed-to-overflowing shelves. Other stores may be bigger, but none are better when it comes to unadulterated browsing bliss.