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4 great independent bookstores in the Las Vegas Valley

Updated August 14, 2019 - 1:21 pm

On a lazy Sunday afternoon or a rare weekday off, little else beats the feeling of settling down in a cozy bookstore with a new book, while so many others stand by waiting to be read.

When searching for your next read and considering branching out from the chain store experience, these independent bookstores in the Las Vegas Valley might have what you’re looking for, and certainly all sorts of items you didn’t know you wanted.

Amber Unicorn Books: 2101 S. Decatur Blvd. #14

As soon as the door to this homey bookstore opens, customers are met by the smell of old books. They’re also likely to find owner Myrna Donato sitting near the door, ready to answer any questions. The store’s original location was opened 38 years ago by Donato and her husband before it reopened in the store’s new spot in 2008.

This used-book store offers an impressive selection with shelf after shelf filled to capacity with everything from cookbooks to leather-bound classics that can please any book lover. Rare and antique books can be found at this hidden gem, where customers also may sell or trade their books.

Alternate Reality Comics: 4110 S. Maryland Parkway #8

Situated a few blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip, this comic-book store is packed with comics of all varieties. The store is split into genres, including horror and historical fiction, with sections dedicated to children’s comics and local authors.

Owner Ralph Mathieu took over ownership of the store in 1995. A longtime lover of comics, Mathieu can direct newcomers to titles they might enjoy and engage with frequent customers about the newest arrivals. Along with comics, the store sells figurines and posters. The store also hosts events and invites authors for signings. With colorful titles popping out everywhere you look and a comfortable yellow couch, comic book fans could easily spend hours browsing the store’s shelves.

Copper Cat Books: 1570 W. Horizon Ridge Parkway #170

This eclectic store opened in 2017 with the slogan “Not a curiosity shop, but a shop for the curious” and stands alone as the only used-book store in Henderson. Offering an array of titles, customers likely will find the book they’re seeking. But if they don’t, customers can add a book to their “wish list,” according to the store’s website, and the staff will track down a used copy.

In addition to books, the store offers gift items that include tote bags, greeting cards, and handmade jewelry and soaps. Lounge chairs are available for people to try out a book before they buy it, or to work on a jigsaw puzzle among other browsing customers. A copper cat figurine also can be found lounging with a book on one of the store’s shelves.

The Writer’s Block: 519 S. Sixth St., Suite 100

No list of valley bookstores would be complete without this one, which has become a staple among local book lovers. Originally opened on Fremont Street in 2015 by co-founders Drew Cohen and Scott Seeley, the store gave downtown visitors and natives a smaller, meticulously curated selection of titles in a variety of genres set among quirky knick-knacks and an old printing press.

In its new location, which opened in April, even more books pack the shelves, and visitors can grab a cup of coffee from the shop’s cafe to sip while they read. The store’s self-proclaimed “artificial bird sanctuary” atmosphere features birds perched on shelves and an artificial bird adoption service. Young writers also can participate in creative-writing workshops at the store, and a variety of book clubs are open to all.

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