There is no shortage of used bookstores in the country, and each of them have their charms. From the small, niche bookshops covering only psychology to the Half Price Books littered across the nation, there’s plenty of used bookstores to go to.
And then, there’s Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
My wife and I visited a friend in Arkansas over Labor Day weekend, and this bookshop was one of the places she suggested taking us. But she didn’t warn us that we would be walking into the most impressive bookshop I’d ever been to.
When you first step inside it doesn’t look that different from your typical bookstore. It’s a bit chaotic, there’s books from floor to ceiling, and everything is organized with labels on the shelves.
But then, as you look down one of the aisles, you realize the store keeps going. And going.
It’s actually a maze inside. It’s possible to get turned around in this bookshop. That’s because the layout does this very unique thing where it splits off into different rooms, which sometimes are only accessible by taking a strange one-way route.
For example, I took a right at a shelf, followed immediately by a second right down some stairs. Suddenly I was in a mini branch of the bookshop, with rows of bookshelves and small gaps between shelves where I could see the main corridor. But there was only one way to get into the section I was in, and it had been hard to find. You can literally spy on people shopping from these little nooks.
I spent the first half hour just wandering around the bookshop, discovering all the nooks and crannies before I even started to browse. Pretty much any topic you’re looking for is covered somewhere in this shop.
The shop also carries a wide selection of rare and out of print books near the front of the shop. These books are absolutely beautiful. I love old books, so I got a lot of joy out of staring at them.
Plus there’s all these fun literary cartoons and odd book advice taped to the walls and shelves.
There was something just a little bit magical about this bookstore. It felt like one of those places where an adventure could begin.
Basically, if you ever find yourself in Arkansas, stopping in Dickson Street Bookshop is worth the time. I could have spent a full day there if my group allowed it. I hope someday a couple copies of my novels find their way into the shelves of this beautiful bookshop.