When you want to read, you might think of reaching for a tablet, or eReader, or just perusing stories online, but there’s nothing that can take the place of physical media. There’s something about holding a book in your hands, thumbing through the pages. This feeling is especially true in the case of a used or antique book, pondering its history. You get to enjoy the adventure of hunting through the shelves for a treasured tome. If you still like books on paper, here are six local bookstores to explore around Mesa, Arizona.

Book Gallery

Image via Flickr by byzantiumbooks Licensed CC BY 2.0

Located in the heart of downtown Mesa at 50 W. Main St., the Book Gallery is a unique bookstore that stands on a former movie theater site from 1910. This charming book store smells of old leather-bound books and takes you down memory lane. Proprietor Randy is knowledgeable about books from all eras and genres and can help you find what you’re looking for, no matter how niche or obscure. This old-world shop is filled with endless treasures of the written word, including first-edition books, classics, and children’s picture books. You’ll even find old copies of magazines, such as Life.

With over 5,000 square feet of books, you’re bound to find something you’d enjoy. And, if you don’t find what you’re looking for at the Book Gallery on Main St., perhaps they may have it at their second location at 3615 E. Indian School Road. You can either make plans to visit their second shop or ask if they can have the items you’re searching for sent over. Book Gallery on Main is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday for all your book-browsing needs.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, located at 1056 S. Country Club Drive, is a unique store chock full of local flavor. The shelves are stocked with everything from books to electronics to musical instruments, with everything in good or nearly new condition. The idea behind this unique shop is to reduce the buying of new merchandise. You can bring your unwanted items and trade them in for store credit or cash. Once you get inside Bookmans and check out their selection, you’ll likely opt for the store credit.

They have special events like Poefest for youth poetry writing and celebrations for Star Wars Day. They even offer crafting classes and virtual events. Past events have included Barks & Books, Explore the Arizona Trail, Astronomy Day with Lowell Observatory, Unofficial Free Comic Book Day with Tucson Comic-Con, and Manga Virtual Book Club. Check out Bookmans Entertainment Exchange from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, open until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Changing Hands Bookstore

Changing Hands Bookstore is a new bookstore at 6428 S. McClintock Drive in Tempe with plenty of character. They have virtual writer’s workshops online, as well as book signings and author talks in the store. In addition to an ample selection of books, they sell cute gifts, trinkets, journals, note cards, socks, clothing, and more. This bookstore is ideal if you wish to find a specific book or need a fully stocked bookstore of current cutting-edge titles. They also have knowledgeable booksellers who can recommend the best new release adult and young adult books.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for at their Tempe location, you can check out the Changing Hands Bookstore located at 300 W. Camelback Road in Phoenix. Their Phoenix location also has the First Draft Book Bar, a bar within a bookstore serving draft and bottled beers, wine, and more. Both locations of Changing Hands and the First Draft Book Bar are all open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Uncle Aldo’s Attic

This blast from the past store at 6016 E. McKellips Road specializes in everything vintage. Uncle Aldos’ Attic has vintage books, comic books, vinyl records, star wars collectibles, toys, board games, vintage Nintendo games, and vintage record players. With such a wide array of cool merchandise, you’re sure to find something to spark your interest here. You can visit Uncle Aldo’s Attic from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Dog-Eared Pages

This comfy shop, located at 16428 N. 32nd St., Suite 111, specializes in used and rare books, fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and new books by local authors. The mission behind Dog-Eared Pages is to bring back the community bookstore. They’ve created a warm, welcoming atmosphere, with chairs dotted throughout the store, so you can sit down and thumb through a potential purchase. In the spirit of being invested in the local community, they also offer many social and intellectual events, including book clubs, writer’s groups, discussion groups, and open mic poetry.

Unlike some other used bookstores, Dog-Eared Pages also has their entire inventory online, and you can purchase books to be shipped anywhere or choose books for quick and easy local pick up at the store. By combining 21st-century technology with the warmth and hominess of a used bookstore, Dog-Eared Pages has found a way to keep the local independent bookstore alive. The in-person shopping experience is a joy, with many shelves to browse and discover unexpected treasures. They also accept trade-in books from local customers.

Store hours are 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, but you can shop 24/7 online.

Quo Vadis Books

Whether you’re looking for spiritual books in the Christian tradition, research, or personal reading, Quo Vadis Books at 1020 S. Mill Ave. in Tempe is your spot. This non-profit book shop provides new and used books to Arizona State University. They stock the Bible in 80 languages and can also order any other language. They also hold many events for the local community, such as author readings, art gatherings, and game nights.

Quo Vadis Books is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the second and last Saturday of each month from 11 a.m . to 3 p.m.

Bookstores can be a great place to spend a rainy day, browsing the stacks and soaking it all in from the shelves. Whether you’re looking for informational or entertaining reading materials, you’re sure to find what you need in one of these bookstores in Mesa and the surrounding area.