On our recent vacation, we visited Snowbound Books in Marquette, Michigan. An independent bookstore whose slogan is “The place for people allergic to life without books,” Snowbound Books has been a vital part of Marquette’s historic downtown since 1984. It was threatening to rain when we arrived, and a downpour began almost as soon as I walked in the door, but the staff were happy to have us wander around as long as we wanted to, browsing the shelves and yearning after all the books we couldn’t afford to buy.
The store packs a lot into what looks from the outside to be a small space. There are several rooms of books on the ground floor, and all of them are full but not crammed with bookcases. Everything is well-lit, and I never felt uncomfortably cramped or hemmed in.
The selection is amazing. They have a great fiction section, a wonderful mystery section, a surprisingly good collection of books on books and writing, plenty of local-interest titles and books by local authors, and excellent children’s and YA sections – to name just a few!
The only section I felt was a bit sparse was the science fiction and fantasy books. They had some good titles, but both the quantity and the variety were less extensive than most other genres. They did highlight Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind as a staff pick, though, which earned them extra points! There’s also no romance section, although they do have a paranormal/UF bookcase.
The books are a mix of new and gently-used, and the used books are shelved right in with the new books (but well marked so there’s no confusion. They also have some first editions and other rare copies. And they’re happy to order just about anything you want.
We did buy three or four books, including The History of the Book in 100 Books: The Complete Story, from Egypt to E-Book for me and Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Speculative Genre Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers for Robin (though I will probably get myself a copy someday as well.) We also came away with a long list of other books we’re each interested in reading at some point (from the library if possible.)
If you’re ever in Marquette, you should really stop by Snowbound Books. It’s a great place to spend an hour or an afternoon!