So… Part 1 of the story was dedicated wholly to a specific bookstore, Capitol Hill Books. It’s my most favorite in DC based on my trip, but it doesn’t mean that there’s no other cool bookstores in the city.
I will write about two other bookstores in this post, still secondhand ones, and although I didn’t shop as many as in the Capitol Hill, I still found some good books in those places. Ow.. before I forgot, I will post the picture of my bookhaul in the last posting about Washington, DC, so please stay tuned 🙂
The first shop I visited is Idle Time Books – located near my hotel, in Adams Morgan area. This is a hipster kinda neighborhood, with lots of cafes, jazz clubs, bars, fusion and ethnic restaurants. Idle Time Books is a small two story building, old fashioned from outside but has this cozy ambiance in the inside.
Some bookshelves are left outside during the summer days, inviting pedestrians to stop by and browse the books that are on sale. Some of the books are only $1, very cheap indeed and sometimes you could actually find hidden gems there.
Entering the bookstore, the old school vibe remains, the smell of papers, leather and wood created this homey feeling that makes you realized you can actually find home away from your home.
Inside, wood bookshelves are standing side by side, packed with books from various genre. I come here with my two colleagues and we all have different taste for books. So we separated and went to different directions, browsing the shelves that are most interesting to us.
Of course I went directly to the Fiction and Literature shelves, followed by the Children’s Books section. There are lots of options of course, but Idle Time is pretty serious with their vintage collections. I found some old children’s books from the 60s or 70s, with their covers a bit torn and the pages were yellow.
You really need some time to browse the bookstore, because even in the uninteresting looking shelves, there are some hidden gems somewhere. I love the layout of the bookstore because there are even shelves at the unexpected spots, like at the stair landing between the first and second floor, or some small rooms dedicated to rare or very specific genre.
Another thing that made me loveee Idle Time is their knicks-knacks collections, from comic books to postcards to greeting cards to bookmarks. Very very tempting! I bought some vintage postcards for me and my colleagues at the office, because the price is not that expensive too, and I think it will make a better souvenir than keychains 🙂 This place is definitely recommended for any booklovers and also so-called nerds 🙂
Idle Time Books
2467 18th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
The second bookstore that I would love to recommend in this post is Books for America, another secondhand bookshop that is located near the Embassy Row area, including near the Indonesian Embassy.
The store doesn’t look very impressive from the outside, only a brick building with blue awning and a small “Book Sale” sign outside. But inside, it’s another lovely book haven, full of wooden bookshelves that are lined around the room, with the books aligned with alphabetical order, made it easy to browse. You can walk from one end to another end of the room, or just go directly to your favorite bookshelf or look for your favorite authors.
Some oldies style decoration can be found around the store, such as a vintage typewriter or wooden tables. The collection itself is pretty massive, with reasonable price. I found a hardback of one of my wishlists for only 7 USD, and the paperbacks are about 5 USD.
The other cool thing about this store is they provide the donation bin, where we can deposit any unused books to be donated to local schools, shelters, and other institutions/organizations. Sweet!
Books for America – A Bookstore with a Purpose
1417 22nd Street, NW
Washington, DC 20037
(near the corner of 22nd & P NW in Dupont Circle)