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Best Used-Book Store Orange County 2011 - {open} Books

{open} Books

2226 E. Fourth St.

Long Beach, CA 90814

562-499-6736

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Readers' Choice: Camelot Books

With its concrete floors and 2-inch-by-4-inch latticed ceiling, {open} Books has the lofty urban charm of its vinyl-store neighbor Fingerprints, as well as a comparable hipness quotient. The front foyer hosts a vintage Remington typewriter and vintage miniature TV sets, and a fixed-gear bicycle hangs from the rafters. We'll forgive the store the last one, reminding ourselves of its cool selection of books and live events. Shoppers are immediately greeted with some top-notch alternative titles, such as Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, a collection of poems by Andrea Gibson exploring the world of a wounded soldier. There's also a small cart holding budget titles, with one book available for $1 or 3 for $2. What sets {open} apart from many other bookstores is its eye for talent and desire to give voice to local artists by turning the store into a de facto gallery. A recent installation included the works of Suzanne Walsh, whose preferred medium is wood. The shop also serves as venue for the likes of Vacuum Bell singer Will Morrison.

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