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Best Used Bookstores in New England | Honorable Mentions

Best Used Bookstores in New England | Honorable Mentions
3 votes, 4.67 avg. rating (89% score)
chicken barn bookstore

Photo/Art by Aimee Seavey
Big Chicken Barn Books & Antiques

Saving the rural New England bookstore is more than a pastime for Richard F. Wright; it’s a passion that drives him to visit, patronize, and write about local independent bookshops selling used and rare volumes. Here are his ten honorable mentions.

To see his five favorite venues, visit Best Used Bookstores in New England.

Big Chicken Barn
The 150,000 used books at the Big Chicken Barn aren’t all priced at $3 each, but enough are that you can fill your basket to overflowing without resorting to a credit card. The shop has been operating for 26 years; the indoor plumbing has been operating for three years, so progress continues. 1768 Bucksport Road, Ellsworth, ME. 207-667-7308;

Carlson Turner Books
A true antiquarian bookshop and bindery, Carlson & Turner houses 40,000 volumes, ranging from the scholarly to more-general categories such as nautical, railroading, history, and travel. 241 Congress St., Portland, ME. 207-773-4200;

Bar Harbor Book Shop
Actually in Hulls Cove, down the road from Bar Harbor, this store used to be known as Mystery Cove Bookshop. A strong fiction collection is balanced by good history, biography, literature, classics, and local-interest collections. 1 Dewey St., Hulls Cove, ME. 207-288-4665;

Whitlock Farm Booksellers
For more than 60 years, Whitlock’s Book Barn has provided rare and out-of-print works for the scholarly buyer. Its second building, however, offers used books for as little as $5, which makes this a destination shop for all book lovers. 20 Sperry Road, Bethany, CT. 203-393-1240;

The Traveler Book Cellar
The basement of a restaurant is an unusual place for a bookshop, but the well-labeled aisles, a helpful wall chart mapping the shelving plan, and the ridiculously low prices for thousands of used volumes all make The Traveler a great source of bargains. Upstairs the folks there give away books with the meals, so that’s an added bonus. 1257 Buckley Highway, Union, CT. 860-684-4920

Vintage Books — CLOSED
A turn-of-the-century barn is home to Vintage Books, which has been operating at this location for 24 years. Well-lighted and well-organized aisles make browsing among the 30,000 volumes a pleasure, and fair pricing makes the selection of rare and unusual volumes a delight. 181 Hayden Rowe St., Hopkinton, MA.

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7 Responses to Best Used Bookstores in New England | Honorable Mentions

  1. Kathy January 7, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Clearly, the author has never been to the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT. The reading nooks, the comfy seats, the smell of the old wood shelves, the most knowledgeable staff… I could go on! It is my favorite place on earth.

    • Richard Wright January 19, 2015 at 5:08 pm #

      The AUTHOR loves Northshire Bookstore. It’s a favorite in my book, A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores. If you want to see the book, they have been carrying it for the past two years in the shop and online through the shop. It’s also on Amazon. The Best 5 is a challenge as you can imagine! I list 70 shops in the book, and the new edition will have 100.

  2. Jo Duhaime January 7, 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    So glad to see the Chicken Barn in Ellsworth, Maine and the BookBarn in Niantic, Ct. My 2 favorite books nooks in all of New England!!

  3. Patti January 7, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    check out Titcomb’s Bookshop on Cape Cod, East Sandwich, MA. :)

  4. MB January 8, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    Hi Patti @ 1/7/15 6:55pm. I was just going to post the same thing about Titcomb’s. My family and I love Titcomb’s to pieces. They have some great visiting authors there too!

    • Richard Wright January 19, 2015 at 5:05 pm #

      Titcomb’s is definitely a favorite. i included it in my book, A Vacationer’s Guide to Rural New England Bookstores. The book is in a lot of local shops and on Amazon. There were so many great book shops on Cape Cod that I treated it as a seventh state in New England.

  5. jim hildreth May 11, 2015 at 5:03 pm #

    Harding’s in Wells Maine has been open for at least 30 years, always worth a stop. Freeport Book Shoppe is my latest find, and has a large selection of old postcards in addition to rooms full of books.

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