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Unsung book nooks kitty-cornered to campus

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With the invention of Kindles, e-readers and audio books, entering a bookstore is almost like passing through a portal in time. The clang of the doorbell, the rush of the stale, distinctly paperback air that fills your nose, and the chaotic, haphazardly organized piles of romance, adventure and mystery novels take you somewhere. And in this instance, they take you to a bookstore.

Milwaukee bookstores have distinct personalities and characteristics. So whether bookies are in search of a steal or a cuddly reading buddy, they have plenty of options.

The Hidden Gem

The Book Shop—275 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203

The small used book store, tucked away in the corner of Milwaukee’s Shops of Grand Avenue, can almost be overlooked by a passerby.

“Lots of people don’t know we’re here,” employee Ink Lowrey said. “It’s kind of interesting to have people come in and say ‘a used bookstore? In a mall? Amazing!’”

The Book Shop’s other location, Renaissance Books, is located in the airport, an equally unusual and surprising place. Whether you’re searching for a great book store or happen to stumble upon one, The Book Shop remains a unique and unlikely shop full of stories off the beaten path.

The Affordable

Bookseller Used Book Store and Café—814 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53233

Located in the main branch of the Milwaukee Public Library, this small book store has extremely low prices. The store has hardcovers for one dollar, paperbacks for 50 cents and all the books are donated or retired from the library shelves. On top of that, every child or teen that comes in gets a free book from the shop which is fully staffed by volunteers.  Like the rest of the library, it’s an affordable place for the community to share books. With an attached café, the library book store is an optimable destination for a quick pick me up.

The Eventful

Boswell Book Company—2559 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211

With the book selection and other perks of a large chain store, and the feel of an independent shop, Boswell Book Company has a lot to offer.

“We’re about nine years old now, and we just keep seeing the business grow,” employee Todd Wellman said. “What we’re really seeing is that people come in and say they’re really sick of giant online stores and they miss seeing people, they miss advice and they miss running into their friends.”

With more than 250 store-hosted events each year, there is almost always something going on at this book store. Whether it be hosting book clubs, participating in pop-up events or this fall’s hosting of author Stephen King at a theatre downtown, Boswell Book Company stands as an integral part of events throughout the community.

The Cats

Downtown Books Bought and Sold—624 N Broadway St, Milwaukee, WI 53212

Part of what sets this book store apart from the other used book stores throughout the city is the presence of two friendly cats. Milo and Merlin freely roam the store and help draw in many cat-loving customers. Currently, construction of the Milwaukee Streetcar has been a bit of a challenge for the popular book store, but store (and cat) owner, Keith Pajot, remains optimistic.

“I think it’ll be a help in the long run because it will bring more people past here, especially tourists, which seems to be a growing

percentage of our business,” Pajot said.

With its prime location, low prices of a used book store and friendly store cats, Downtown Books stands as a popular shop.

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