Boulder County’s Best Used Bookstores


The prolific reader knows that books can get to be an expensive habit. A new book can cost upwards of $30. That can add up quickly, especially for someone who tears through two dozen or more books a year. The seasoned bookworm, however,  knows never to pay retail when it comes to his or her favorite tomes.

The used bookstore is like a church for the well-read. Sure, you can buy anything on the internet, but the online retail experience doesn’t offer the joy of finding that hard-to-find copy of an old detective novel or a stack of children’s books for that smart little kid in your life.

Fortunately, if you find yourself in Boulder County, you won’t want for used book stores. Boulder has four of them on or adjacent to the Pearl Street Mall, all within walking distance of one another. Longmont has two within a couple of blocks. It’s hard to come to Boulder County and not leave with a stack of paperbacks.

And used bookstores can often be a great place to find weird gifts for your favorite nerd. Plus, there’s never been a better time to support your favorite local small businesses, which are really struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Bookworm

3175 28th Street, Boulder

The Bookworm has books of all genres and a sizeable children’s book selection, graphic novels, movies and some music. The store has a section of beat literature set aside so you can usually find a used copy of Allen Ginsberg or William S. Burroughs. The store has a coffee bar.

The store is currently accepting two bags or boxes of books per customer to trade for store credit. Because of COVID-19, employees will hold books for 24 hours before going through them. They usually accept four bags or boxes of books up to half an hour before closing.

Red Letter Books

1737 Pearl Street, Boulder
Facebook page.

Red Letter Books is situated just east of the Pearl Street Mall. The store features loosely organized books of most genres and has a selection of graphic novels. The back of the store has a sizeable selection of used genre paperbacks, mostly science fiction and mystery. Closer to the front is a collection of collectible pulp novels in plastic bags.

Boulder Book Store

1107 Pearl Street, Boulder

Boulder Book Store offers new and used books spread across two stories of building on the Pearl Street Mall. The store usually has live events and book signings. The upper floors offer a large variety of bargain books in multiple genres, and the store has gifts including jewelry and blank journals. Boulder Book Store has a large periodical selection. The store buys used books.

The store is offering curbside pickup during the COVID-19 pandemic and people in high-risk groups can make appointments to come in before normal hours. Call 303-447-2074.

Beat Book Shop

1200 Pearl Street #10, Boulder
Facebook page

It’s located below ground off the Pearl Street Mall and offers a wide variety of genres and some rare titles along with other literature-related ephemera. The books aren’t neatly organized, so the shop is a great place for people who love to dig for treasure. The owner, Tom Peters, also hosts a weekly poetry reading. Call for the location. The store buys used books.

Photo courtesy of Trident/Facebook

Trident Booksellers and Cafe

940 Pearl Street, Boulder

Trident offers used and new books in a variety of genres. It is currently offering a mystery bag of books and coffee or tea for $50 that will help the store during the COVID pandemic. Trident also has a large selection of teas for purchase.

The store has a cafe that currently offers heated patio seating with six feet of social distancing because of COVID-19. Tables are sanitized after each use.

Barbed Wire Books

504 Main Street, Longmont

Barbed Wire Books offers a big selection of used books in most the popular genres. It also has a fairly large selection of new books. The store also sells gifts and used DVDs for cheap and has a children’s book section. The store opens up its space for different groups to use after hours. Trade credit is offered on gently used books.

Customers are asked to wash their hands upon entering because of COVID-19. They are limiting the number of people in the store at any given time.

Photo courtesy of Used Book Emporium

Used Book Emporium

346 Main Street, Longmont

Used Book Emporium has a selection of fiction in both hardcover and softcover and new and used. Genres range from science fiction to Western. The store also has a selection of non-fiction, including cook books, sports and business. They also carry gifts. They take trade books and offer half the selling price in credit.

Alley pick-up is available, and the store offers special hours for seniors and at-risk people because of COVID-19 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Little Horse Books & Vintage

820 Main Street, Louisville

Little Horse offers a healthy selection of used books, both hardcover and paperbacks. The store also has a wide variety of vintage items, including vinyl records, musical gear, some furniture and other strange surprises. The store now has four spaces inside its Louisville location and another location opened in Fort Collins a couple of years ago.

The Read Queen Bookstore & Cafe

129 N. Harrison, Lafayette

The Read Queen emerged from the ashes of Louisville’s shuttered The Book Cellar, when the current owners acquired the former store’s stock and found a new location in Lafayette. The store offers trade credit for used books The store offers puzzles, games and other gifts in addition to books.

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