Hidden gem: Paperback Exchange
How do you know you've found this hole-in-the-wall book shop? Just look for the Cat in the Paperback.
By Dinkinish O'Connor
A big, black, silky cat slithers out of a nook from a North Miami Beach plaza. Inside is like the Ollivanders wand shop scene in Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone. And I feel Harry Potter. The tiny shop is wallpapered with thousands of paperback books, thus the venue's eponymous name -- Paperback Exchange.
There are rows and rows of everything: those racy, racist romance covers with the feathered Indian tupping a sweet Desdemona-looking damsel, tawdry Harlequin adventures, coffee table books, Judy Blume and Nancy Drew unforgettables and more contemporary titles: Eat, Pray, Love, The Millionaire Next Door and How To Succeed with Women. "Bibles are of particular interest," says Michael "Mike" McCall, an endearing, cartoon-like character who has been running the space for 10 of the venue's 25 years of existence. Loyal customer Steve Goodman, who sits at a wooden table reading A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity, says he's been coming here for 20 years. "Bill O'Reilly is one of my favorite authors," he says.
But what's most fascinating about the venue is the payment system. Clients exchange books with the ones on the shelves at a serious discount. McCall also purchases books that are brand new (two months old or less). He keeps a log of his clients' credit on a handwritten Rolodex card. "Clients will come from Toronto and buy $8,000 worth of books," says McCall. "So, I am always looking to keep my shelves stocked." You can also find comic books, books on cassette and VHS movies. Paperback Exchange is a refreshing discovery for local North Miami Beach residents and students, daunted by the pervasive Payless shoe store-movement, who desperately want a book store of their own. When you're in the area, just like out for Janie -- the big, black, silky cat who looks like she leapt out of a Harry Potter book.
Paperback Exchange, 1659 NE 163rd St, North Miami Beach; 305-940-2665
Shopped here? Leave a review!
See and Do
- 'Frida: Unmasked' explores the life of famed artist Frida Kahlo
- New World Symphony releases Wallcast concert series schedule for 2014-2015
- Stage Door explores the songs of the 1960s with ‘What’s New Pussycat?’
- Raw intimacy in Carlota Pradera’s ‘Bare Bones’ at the Miami Theater Center
- Miami choreographer Rosie Herrera turns life in a Cuban cabaret to art for ‘Show.Girl.’ with Ballet Hispanico
- Pérez Art Museum Miami: 10 features you won’t want to miss
- Accessible Art: Art Basel sets attendance record, color in time and space with Carlos Cruz-Diez, and the Bakehouse Art Complex builds first public metal-casting foundry
- Accessible Art: Arsht Center exhibit fuses fashion and art, a call for artists at Segafredo, and the Wolfsonian-FIU presents Rebirth of Rome
- LA artist Kenton Parker elevates the 'selfie' with solo exhibition at Primary Projects for Art Basel
- Big brands descend on Miami Art Week to expose emerging artists to the public