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October 22, 2014

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A brief, opinionated guide to Las Vegas’ used-book stores

So go stimulate the economy

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Jacob Kepler

Book Magician (2202 W. Charleston)

Dead Poet Books, at the northwest corner of Charleston and Rainbow. This store has lots of floor and shelf space. The atmosphere is friendly and cool, with enough books to browse for hours.

Pros and cons: Prices are good, but the selection isn’t particularly distinguished, beyond a couple of high-dollar items in the case. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Book Lover’s, on the east side of Rainbow just south of Cheyenne. This small store is all about value. There is a large $1 hardback rack, where it is possible to find some recent first editions in good condition. Literature, spiritualism, history and thrillers are also well represented, if on a small scale. However, everything is pretty new and generic.

Pros and cons: The price is usually right, but it’s over in about five minutes. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m-7 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Book Magician, at Rancho and Charleston, right by the Omelet House. This store boasts lots of shelf space, and a good sci-fi section. Beyond that, the sections are comprehensive, if a little generic.

Pros and cons: A good place to browse, with a large and friendly cat in residence. But very few thrills to be found. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Plaza Books, on the southeast corner of Warm Springs and Eastern. This is another big one, with boundless shelf space and thousands of books. The store has a large literature section and a good sci-fi section, plus everything else you might imagine down to romance paperbacks.

Pros and cons: A good one for killing an afternoon, but another store whose selection is not thrilling. The books are all in fantastic shape, but are a little pricey. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Amber Unicorn, recently reopened in the Trader Joe’s shopping center at Decatur and Obannon. This store is still getting on its feet. The large store is half-empty, but there is an incredible collection of cookbooks, and good-sized rock ’n’ roll and art collections.

Pros and cons: Definitely the place to go if you’re into cookbooks, but the prices and quality leave something to be desired. Sunday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Greyhound’s Books, in Sahara Pavilion at the northwest corner of Sahara and Decatur. This store is a favorite. Greyhound’s is not a large store, but the books are selected for the discriminating bookworm in many genres, particularly nonfiction, mystery and sci-fi. All of the books are in excellent condition, and you won’t even get to see the really good stuff on your first visit.

Pros and cons: The location’s not the greatest, and the books aren’t exactly cheap. But you won’t find a better copy, and Phil and Barbara have been known to discount for good customers. Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m.

Cat’s Curiosities, kind of hidden at the northern dead end of Western. This bookstore is actually a booth in the Charleston Antique Mall. Inside this 12-by-12-foot space there’s a pretty darn good selection of neat titles, mostly in general fiction.

Pros and cons: Good luck finding it, plus the prices are a little high, and the book quality can be low. But this is a place where you can find something you won’t find anywhere else. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Academy Fine Books, on the southwest corner of Charleston and Eastern. This is the bookstore you see in the movies. With dusty piles and creaky shelves, this bookstore screams “buried treasure.” The brave can dig for hours, and you just might find something very special.

Pros and cons:The location is terrible, and the prices aren’t really that great, considering the shabbiness of much of the product. However, there are gems to be found, plus a nice selection of Easton Press leather-bound books. Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Bauman Rare Books, inside the Shoppes at the Palazzo. Are you a super-millionaire eager to impress the neighbors with $5,000 signed first editions at your next dinner party? Then Bauman is the place for you. Every book lover in Las Vegas needs to check this place out. It has stuff signed by George Washington on the wall, for Pete’s sake! Not to mention every rare book ever. You owe it to yourself to browse.

Pros and cons: Even if you could afford one, you wouldn’t dare open and read it. Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

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