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WINNER: This is metro Atlanta’s favorite bookstore, AJC readers say

Tied for fifth: Charis Books & More in Decatur. Tied for fifth: Book Exchange in Marietta. Fourth place: A Capella Books in Inman Park. Third place: Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. Second place: Brave + Kind Books in Decatur. First place: Bookish in East Atlanta Village

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is committed to continuing our normal features, where appropriate, during the coronavirus outbreak. For full coverage of the outbreak in Atlanta, please check our Coronavirus News Section. We have decided to continue Best of Atlanta voting for the time being, despite social distancing. We encourage our readers to support local businesses after the authorities loosen the social distancing rules — along with supporting those businesses that offer delivery or pickup during the outbreak.

Bookstores are where children can listen to stories or discover a new literary best friend, and adults can explore ways to escape or to become more grounded.

They are also valued members of a community, as evidenced by the dozens of write-in emails and hundreds of votes in last week’s Best of Atlanta poll.

Although most are closed for in-store browsing and shopping, you can order online and either have them delivered or pick them up curbside.

Here are the top six finishers (there was a tie for fifth):

Fifth place was shared by Charis Books & More in Decatur and write-in nominee Book Exchange in Marietta.

Charis Books & More is the oldest independent feminist bookstore in the South and one of the oldest bookstores in Atlanta. It moved to Decatur in 2019 after 45 years in Little Five Points. Although you can’t go in the store now because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will be “open” for pickups and phone inquiries from noon to 6 p.m. daily. Customers can shop online and then select “in-store pickup” under shipping options.

Dozens of AJC readers emailed to nominate Book Exchange. “They are truly one of the best in the state!” Deirdre Butti wrote.

“It should definitely be added to the list for the best bookstore in the metro area,” Julia Gabert wrote. “I love the atmosphere. They have an amazing selection of both new and used books.”

The fourth place winner was A Capella Books in Inman Park. The store interior is closed, but you can shop online and pick up your books curbside or have them delivered. A Capella has been “Atlanta’s only in-town, full-service bookstore since 1989,” its website states.

Third place went to Little Shop of Stories in Decatur. A fixture on the square for 14 years, Little Shop of Stories is firmly established as one of the nation’s most influential children’s bookstores. The store is closed for shopping inside, but open for phone orders and curbside pickup.

“But Little Shop is also little, a place where staffers have laboriously glued pennies to the floor until they spelled out ‘read,’ Elizabeth Lenhard wrote for the AJC last year, “and where every reader can and will find their soulmate of a book.”

Second place went to Brave + Kind Books in Decatur. It’s “a thoughtfully curated little neighborhood kids bookshop” with “a unique selection of diverse, classic, artful stories, creative workshops, story clubs and special gifts,” its website states. The shop’s holiday porch pickup hours are noon-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. You have to shop online; the store is closed because of the coronavirus.

“This is a beautiful and inviting space just waiting for your little one,” Sara B. is quoted on the shop’s website as saying. “They have great choices for kids of all ages — ones you won’t find elsewhere without junk distract.”

The 2020 winner was write-in nominee Bookish in East Atlanta Village. Owner Kendra Gayle delivered books throughout Atlanta during the coronavirus pandemic, but the bookstore is transitioning back to in-store shopping.

“EAV loves, loves, loves our community bookstore Bookish,” Emily Porter wrote in her nomination email. “ ... This is a truly special spot for Atlanta — I can’t recommend checking them out enough!”

And Angee Hornsby wrote: “They have delivered love and hope to our doorstep over the quarantine. They are a treasure for our neighborhood and the city.”

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