When you think of Palm Beach, I'll bet the first thing, or even the third or fourth thing, to come to mind is not bookstores. Mansions, old money, new money, fancy stores, beautiful beaches, elegant hotels and so forth. But bookstores?
Spending an afternoon in the ritzy enclave, home to 2% of the world's wealth, I was delighted to find that tucked among shops catering to the ultra-wealthy were three shops catering the ultra-bookish.
Classic Book Shop, a smallish but packed-full-of-bookish-goodness store with new books and remainders along with a healthy selection of Florida books (and an impressive selection of books signed by local Palm Beach author James Patterson). When I stopped in, an elegantly dressed lady was looking for a book to read on her upcoming flight to Paris. Sounds about right for the neighborhood!
Our next stop was Worth Avenue, the Rodeo Drive of Palm Beach. After buying a plastic bangle bracelet and dropping in on a Florentine paper store (that I have actually been to in Florence, which was fun) we found ourselves at Raptis Rare Books, a real treat for the egghead. Their selection was truly amazing- a first edition of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, signed by Carson McCullers, firsts by Douglas Adams, J.M. Coetzee (signed!) and more. The prices were as extravagant as the editions. We did not buy anything lol but left with a catalog offered by the friendly saleslady.
The Palm Beach Bookstore, a modest-looking storefront near an ice cream store (almost as appetizing) is a little jewel of a shop with a neighborhood feel and a selection made extra-special by the store's relationship with the publisher Rizzoli; it's a showcase for the luxury publisher's coffee table books on Florida and Palm Beach, and features an extensive selection of fashion, design and architecture books as well as new fiction, nonfiction and Florida books. We had a great chat with the owner and a bookseller and really enjoyed our visit. And since we visited off season and post-Hurricane-Irma, I even have a feeling I may not have seen it as its best and I still loved it.
So that's my bookstore tour of Palm Beach. I can't wait to go back and visit again!