Jim Reed Books
Stepping into Jim Reed Books is like stepping into another world. Books spill from the shelves onto the floor, some from impossibly high stacks. Every inch of the “Museum of Fond Memories” is covered in books both old and new.
“This is an orphanage for books,” owner and author Jim Reed says. “There’s so many books out there that people don’t know about; this is where you find out about them.”
Reed’s store is full of treasures for the book lover, ranging from a 500-year-old, handwritten book to a Bible so small it must be read with a microscope.
“I choose what I think every bookstore should have,” Reed says. “So we end up with a lot of books that are popular but also a lot of books that you should just accidentally fall into.”
2021 3rd Ave. N | Tues. – Fri. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
205-326-4460 | jimreedbooks.com
At first glance, Alabama Booksmith looks like any other small, independent bookshop. The store is cozy and in pristine condition, with all of the latest titles neatly lining the shelves. There is even a section of staff recommendations.
Take a closer look, however, and it’s clear that there is something different about this bookstore—every book in the store is signed by the author.
It hasn’t always been this way. When the store began in the 80s, it only sold used books. Over the years it began selling signed first editions.
Last year, owner Jake Reiss made the decision that the store would only sell signed books. “Since the vast majority of the books we sold were signed, it seemed we were in a unique position,” Reiss says.
The store frequently holds book signings both on and off site. Some of the authors that have stopped by include former president Jimmy Carter, Tom Brokaw and Ken Burns.
2626 19th Pl. S | 205-870-4242 | Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | alabamabooksmith.com
Photos by Rachel Freeny