Finding a bookstore in Miami can sometimes be a bit of a mission. Over the years, many shops (such as the West Kendall Bookshelf, all the Borders chain stores and several Barnes & Noble stores) have closed, and the ones that remain are sprawled throughout the county.
Not only that, but most of the ones that remain are relatively small. So finding exactly what you're looking for can prove to be difficult.
Fortunately, there's one local chain that carries an extensive array of books, magazines and newspapers, while offering a safe haven for literary events and a cup of coffee: Books & Books.
Books & Books is Miami's favorite indie bookstore — Photo courtesy of Books & Books
Founded in 1982 by Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books Coral Gables, located near Miracle Mile, is a prime example of what an independent bookstore should be.
A favorite among locals and tourists, the shop has gained a reputation for being a gathering place for the literary minded, a place where ideas flow and where community thrives.
You'll first notice the shop's eye-catching, Mediterranean-style exterior. In fact, the building in which the shop is located is actually listed within the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places.
An especially crowded Books & Books during their 30th anniversary party — Photo courtesy of Books & Books
Once inside, you'll fall in love with its floor-to-ceiling, dark wood bookshelves, perfectly curating books ranging from biographies and poetry to cookbooks and science fiction.
It's easy to get lost wandering around the shop, but those pressed for time can easily ask one of their employees to help locate a specific book or get a recommendation for some new reading material.
If you're visiting with young children, there's a special children's area just for young readers, with a collection that would put many of the local libraries to shame.
Little ones will light up when they see the books, puzzles, toys and plushes ready and waiting for their eager hands.
Books & Books also features an outdoor courtyard with a delicious, vegan-friendly cafe. (But don't worry, omnivores: There are many meaty dishes, as well.)
Pay for your books, and then enjoy a panini under the stars or a gluten-free cupcake before you go.
Those above the age of 21 can happily order a glass of Chianti at the wine bar, which features an extensive and impressive selection of both wine and craft beer.
The courtyard is the perfect place to enjoy a meal from the cafe or catch some live music — Photo courtesy of Books & Books
One of the main reasons Books & Books has stood out for so long also has to do with their involvement in literary events. Peruse their online calendar, and you'll find author events that include readings; Q&As; and signings with local, national and international writers.
There are also occasional workshops, reading groups, live music nights and other special events, thanks to their partnerships with various organizations in the area.
Drop by the Coral Gables shop, or visit any of Books & Books' other Florida locations in Bal Harbour, at Miami Beach and inside the Miami International Airport.
Miami's favorite indie bookshop is a must for writers, poets and readers of all ages.