Shoptober – Metro Detroit, MI

The holidays are coming up fast, and you may be thinking of buying books as gifts for your friends or family (or yourself). Over the next few weeks I’ll be featuring some of my favorite bookstores for both new and used books, all of which I’ve visited in the last few months. If you live in any of the areas where these stores are, I hope you’ll consider checking them out.

John K. King


John K King Books is one of the best used bookstores in America. Housed in a formerly abandoned glove factory, John K King boasts a collection of approximately a million rare and used books. The collection very much lives up to the hype. Whether you’re looking for a single classic or looking to complete a collection, King is the place to look.

The building very much lives up to it’s reputation as an abandoned factory. Its four floors are accessible via a single staircase, though they do have a freight elevator for disabled patrons who may need a lift. Additionally, I don’t know if the building is wired with functional heating, but at the very least it is drafty enough that visitors in the winter may want to plan to keep their coats on. And visitors in the summer may want to plan their visit for a cooler day. All this may sound horrible, but it all combines to form one of the most unique book shopping experiences you’ll ever have. Imagine the stereotype of a dusty old bookstore, multiply it by four enormous floors, and you’ll capture only a portion of the wonder that is John K King.

Purchased: Nothing this time because I limited myself to a specific list of books. But plenty caught my eye

John K. King North


You can spot John K. King North by it’s distinctive sign as you approach it driving down Woodward Ave. in Ferndale, MI. This sign beckons you from afar. The storefront of the North location of John K. King is just one story, about the size of a large strip mall space. It is much smaller than the main location (barely 1/16th the size I’d guess), but they use the space well. I was surprised to find more recent books on the shelves here than I usually find at the main location.

Purchased: The Great Tree of Avalon: The Eternal Flame, by T.A. Barron

Honorable Mentions:

Library Bookstore in Ferndale, MI is a cute little shop crammed with so many books that I find I occasionally must turn sideways in the isles. The shop always smells amazing, but unless I’m looking for older books I don’t often find what I’m looking for here.

Books Connection in Livonia, MI is a shop i stumbled upon when I needed to kill some time before a Dungeons and Dragons session. Nestled into a strip mall on the corner of Five Mile and Merriman, Books connection stocks both used and new books. Their shelves are primarily stocked with used paperbacks, with a large selection of horror/suspense and scifi/fantasy. I was really impressed with the selection here. For such a small shop, they have a lot of really good stuff.

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