Books & Books is both an icon and an anomaly in Miami. In an era of online retailers and large chains swallowing mom-and-pop shops, this modest group of locally owned, independent booksellers has not only survived, it’s thrived. That could be because of its excellent selection of both fiction and nonfiction titles, or its series of frequent author events, but perhaps it’s the personal touch that keeps people coming back. The staff is always happy to recommend a title for you or your kids to check out based on what you’ve enjoyed before, so drop by the location on buzzing Lincoln Road in South Beach on your next family day and expose your family to Miami’s intellectual side. You’ll come away with more than just new books, you’ll have an education.
As you stroll among the shelves, run your hand along the spines of the books as you wait for one to catch your eye. If your kids are budding geniuses–and of course they are–direct them to the selection of “Books for Smart Kids,” with staff recommendations for kids who read beyond their grade level. Then, take a moment away from the bright colors of the children’s section to browse the collection of rare editions and signed copies of classic works. The significance of holding a first-edition copy in your hands, or happening upon a book bearing the signature of your favorite author, will not be missed on you. Your moment of quiet contemplation may not last long, though, as your kids will surely meet back up with a book — or three — that they cannot leave without.
If your kids can’t wait to bury their noses in their books, set up camp in the store’s in-house bar and coffee shop. While they escape into fantasy worlds, you can pull a magazine from the shelf and sip a café con leche or a Cuban espresso. Don’t make a big deal about it now, but you might be witnessing your kids transform from occasional browsers to lifelong readers.
Don’t leave before you check the schedule of events. Acclaimed writers flock to Books & Books for readings, discussions, and signings, and a personalized copy of a favorite book is a memento to cherish for any member of the family. Your older kids will love hearing from their favorite young adult author, while your little ones will delight in the fun atmosphere of its twice-weekly storytime.