Squeezed out of its longtime Mill Avenue digs last spring by the prospect of competition from a yet-to-be-announced national chain, this beloved independent bookstore didn't surrender. In fact, its second store is now thriving in its second location -- in a Tempe strip center just two doors from another used-book shop.
Like its defunct flagship store, the new offshoot hosts book clubs, travel talks, author signings, poetry corners, kids' story times, psychic readings and more. Gone are the musty old corners that inspired treasure hunts. But the larger spot offers bigger, blended collections of used and new books, a still-artsy greeting-card selection, an expanded children's corner, an adjacent cafe, and still-funky merchandise ranging from candles to kazoos.
Granted, national bookstore behemoths and their online cousins do offer convenience, selection and competitive pricing beyond Changing Hands' grasp. But you've got to hand it to this 26-year-old hometown fave: In addition to books, its shelves are stocked with soul, history and the guts to refuse to bow to the giants.
Readers' Choice for Best Bookstore -- Used: Bookman's