Baby Got Book
While Amazon can satisfy most bookworms or bibliophiles, there is something a little more magical about stumbling into a brick and mortar bookstore.
Mysteries… thrillers… history… self-help… romance… There’s something incredibly special about opening up the first pages of what will soon become your new favorite book. The smell of the printed paper, the way its binding feels, the stylish cover art, and the crisp sound a book makes as you flip the pages — it’s a magical, sensory delight only found while you have an actual, honest-to-goodness book in your hands.
In the past decade, we’ve watched brick-and-mortar bookstores such as Waldenbooks and Borders fall by the wayside as e-books seemed poised to take over the industry. But these days, the independent bookstore is making a strong comeback. Some people like having a book in hand, but there’s more to it than that. Even though it has become the easiest thing in the world to buy and read a book, what gets lost with e-books is the sense of community a bookstore provides.
Buying a book isn’t just about having choices as a consumer. It’s about supporting your local community. When purchasing a book from a mom-and-pop shop, you’re not only supporting a local business, you’re becoming more a part of that community’s identity. That’s something you can’t get with the click of a computer mouse.
Fortunately for bookworms, the Tulsa area has many amazing spots where you can find your new reading jam. Plus, these special retailers also provide a way to connect to the community in ways that your next Kindle purchase can’t satisfy. Here’s our list of Green Country’s favorite places to find a book to get lost in.
Boarding House Books
300 W. Will Rogers Blvd. | Claremore
Over 100 years ago, this building was the Ward Boarding House, welcoming tired travelers during the days of new inventions like the pop-up toaster, the short-wave radio, and arc welders. Now, it’s a bookstore for children, general readers, collectors, and perhaps even inventors. Thousands of books line the shelves in each of the former living spaces, as well as a bathtub full of books to peruse, in what used to be the boarding house’s upstairs community washroom. Find a history book within history itself in this one-of-a-kind Claremore treasure.
502 S. Boston Ave. | Tulsa
One of Tulsa’s unique gift shops, Decopolis offers classic toys, books, ice cream, and all kinds of other curiosities and wonders. Close to the corner of Fifth Street and Boston Avenue, in the heart of the downtown Deco District, Decopolis is a bookstore you can lose yourself in for hours. Home to creations by local authors and artists, Route 66 and art deco souvenirs, it’s an excellent place to find either that unique stocking stuffer or a book on the history of Tulsa and the surrounding area. With two completely jam-packed floors of magic and fun to explore, this is one of Tulsa’s favorite attractions.
Gardner's Used Books and Comics
4421 S. Mingo Road | Tulsa
Try to count the titles in this enormous used bookstore, and you’ll realize you’re going to be browsing for quite a while. We don’t know how many books it contains, but with almost 25,000 square feet, Gardner’s Used Books and Music is the largest of its kind in the state of Oklahoma. A heaven for bibliophiles, from weighty tomes to graphic novels, this shop’s massive selection is sure to have something for everyone. You’ll get lost in what will seem like the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s almost that big, anyway.
Impulse Creations, Comics and Collectibles
8228 E. 61st St. | Tulsa
With new releases landing on the shelves every day, this store is a reliable source for the hottest comic books, graphic novels, and other forms of pop culture collectibles. Regulars rave about the excellent service and selection the store offers. Special events like Free Comic Book Day and local comic book writer signings make Impulse Creations a favorite among comic book enthusiasts. On any given day, cosplayers dressed as Superman, Batman, and Harley Quinn can be found choosing their favorite titles and showing off their latest costume skills.
Lavender's Bleu Literacy Market
8210 S. Harvard Ave. | Tulsa
If you can read this, it’s likely because, as a child, the adults in your life took the time to show you how. Dedicated to literacy, this independent children’s bookstore in the Harvard Parke Shopping Center is a real jewel. Parents and educators alike appreciate the environment of learning the shop promotes. Children love the nurturing atmosphere of magic and whimsy found in the story reading hours throughout the week. Book nooks with cozy little chairs for snuggling up with a good book and a wardrobe leading to the fantastical world of Narnia are just a couple of the surprises waiting at this cute little bookstore.
Magic City Books
221 E. Archer St. | Tulsa
An endeavor of the nonprofit Tulsa Literary Coalition, Magic City Books specializes in carefully curated books for adults, teens, and children. Enjoy delicious, freshly-brewed coffee or sip from a glass of wine while browsing in one of Tulsa’s newest bookstores. Also home to another TLC project, Booksmart Tulsa is an author event juggernaut, bringing in the likes of Stephen King, Salman Rushdie, Jodi Picoult, and scores of other literary giants for talks and signings. This bookstore is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for Tulsans and its visitors.
McHuston Booksellers and Irish Bistro
122 S. Main St. | Broken Arrow
The beautiful Rose District in Broken Arrow has an equally attractive destination for book lovers. McHuston has a charming feel that makes it a pleasure to wander the shelves in search of something fun to read or add to your collection. Shelf after shelf of new, used, and rare print books are waiting for you to pick them up and take them home. Stop browsing for a moment and enjoy anything ordered from their bistro chalkboard menu. After satisfying your appetite for Irish fare, fulfill your desire to find a good book.
Peace of Mind Bookstore
1401 E. 15th St. | Tulsa
Cherry Street’s gem of a bookstore is genuinely a Tulsa treasure. Feast your eyes on one of the country’s largest collections of conscious living and metaphysical books at this unique shop. Books on dreams, UFOs, ancient civilizations, and so much more can be found on many shelves. They offer other items too. Choose from over 175 different herbs, stones, crystals, incenses, runes, tarot cards, or other wonderful gift items. From new to out-of-print volumes, Peace of Mind has what you’re looking for.
Phantasmagoria Books and Records
4624 E. 11th St. | Tulsa
Located on historic Route 66 (11th Street), this cozy bookstore is quietly becoming a Tulsa favorite. It boasts an excellent selection in all fiction and nonfiction genres and is the perfect spot for browsing before or after a visit to Flo’s Burger Diner or any other nearby Route 66 destination. For those interested in the craft of writing, the bookshop also hosts a weekly writers critique group called Nevermore Edits that bolsters the efforts of emerging local writers in the Tulsa area and promotes diversity in the literary arts.
2407 E. Admiral Blvd. | Tulsa
If you don’t know this bookstore by now, what pile of books have you been living under? At the same intersection as Circle Cinema and Fair Fellow Coffee Roasters, Whitty has become a Kendall-Whittier District staple for new and used books. Walk into this store, and you’ll be greeted by friendly and knowledgeable staff willing to usher you to your next favorite book or two. Sit down on a comfy couch for a spell and thumb through your selections. One visit to Whitty will remind you why we can’t let the independent bookstore become a thing of the past.
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