Blue Bicycle Books

South Carolina / Feb. 15, 2012 / by Amy
Blue Bicycle Books

This bookshop caught my eye as we were riding the free trolleybus into the center of Charleston, SC. The small hanging sign might seem to imply that the contents of the bookshops are all bicycle related but it most certainly isn't the case. 

There is, unsurprisingly, a blue bicycle outside the shop, complete with pile of books balancing on the back. The window display is made up of books as well as the words 'Brain Food' displayed letter-by-letter on dark blue books. What more could you need to catch your eye...?

Blue Bicycle Books really is a treasure trove. It sells both rare and used books but every single one of the books they sell is in excellent condition. It is far more than a used book store. And it is much bigger than first impressions convey. 

The door opens into a square room that has bookshelves on two walls and the large counter welcoming you into the shop. This, however, is not where Blue Bicycle Books ends. As you follow the corridor along the left, you are taken further and further back through the shop, past smaller rooms and nooks filled with books. 

It seems an endless (in an altogether positive way) passageway of books, lined on both sides with bookshelves, ending with a back room - more a storage room than the nicely decorated rooms in the rest of the shop - but just as filled with books. 

It is full of all sorts of genres, including a small but prettily decorated children's section, a selection of sheet music, and everything from history to fantasy and sci-fi. The 'Lit room', which contains the wonders of classics, hardback fiction, poetry and literary criticism, is nicely lit and has a table at which to sit. There's also a separate area for media, dance, theatre and film. All you could need to spend hours browsing. 

To add to the wonder that is the structure and content of the bookshop, there is the most beautiful of bookshop cats. I always love bookshops with cats – they feel a lot more personal, like someone's living room filled with books, especially in contrast to high street bookshops. That's not to say that the existence of a cat makes a good bookshop but in this case, it just added the cherry to the top of the Sundae. 

It was a shop I felt I could have spent ages in without feeling that I should leave. I would gladly have sat at the table in the Lit room (which happened to be the room in which the lovely cat was sitting) for hours, reading and browsing through the titles. 

If I hadn't had to leave so quickly, I would certainly have spent a lot more time (and money) there. It's most certainly worth a visit and I'm sure they would be able to help you find those elusive rare and used books that you need to complete any collection of books. Then you'd be able to move on to the next collection in your library...

Visit the Blue Bicycle Books website to see more about the shop, its history and to buy books from their online shop.