Mmmmm, books. And more books. And then some more. And then you collapse under a pile of books because Jacksonville's local bookstore Chamblin's never ends. But you're not too upset, because who minds being crushed by books? Certainly not me. Being crushed by an elephant might be unfortunate. But not by books.
I think it is every person's dream to step into a library reminiscent of the Beast's library (Beauty and the Beast, in case that isn't your dream). Chamblin's is a close second. Think narrow aisles. Think high shelves. Think books on every subject (including rare pianos books, because I've checked). Think twists and turns. Think book-crushing-awesomeness. Then step into Chamblin's and have your thoughts turned into reality.
There are two locations to suit your fancy: Chamblin Bookmine on Roosevelt, and Chamblin's Uptown, which is actually Downtown on Laura Street. I have yet to make my way over to the mine of books, but I am very familiar with the intimacy and overwhelmingness of Chamblin's Uptown. This coffee shop/bookstore is, of course, completely local. It was one of the "happening" places to be during this year's One Spark, especially for the creators. Not only was it venue to some of One Spark's creators (including Left on Mallory's "Bridge Eight" literary magazine), but it was a hub for creators to meet up over coffee. One Spark definitely led to a great boost of activity around Chamblin's Uptown location.
I think most Jacksonvillians have been to one of the Chamblin's, but in case you're that rare person who has never heard of the perfection that is Chamblin's, do hurry over to Roosevelt or Laura Street so you can join the rest of the city. I promise you won't be disappointed at the magnitude of books you will find. Don't mistake the piles of books for disorganization, either; the staff at Chamblin's are scary organized. They know exactly where to find what you are looking for. They're pretty nice about your questions, too.
Chamblin's is simply one of those gems that every city should have. These bookstores truly put Jacksonville on the map. I mean, a bookstore with over two million books in its inventory? A bookstore where you can find both the latest post-apocalyptic teen series, and also a rare book from the 19th century? A bookstore that even has food, in case your book-searching makes you hungry? The Chamblin's Uptown Cafe is a place for book-lovers and food-lovers alike. With vegetarian and gluten-free options, this cafe is a place for anyone. I can attest to the deliciousness of their food and the friendliness of the staff.
Chamblin's doesn't just sell books; it also collects them. Do you have books that you would like to trade or sell? Chamblin's is in the business of book-collecting. Be sure to check out their warehouse location on Forest Street that is used for processing of recent purchases and some retail. Call (904) 477-9416 if you would like to make an appointment.
For information on their hours and inventory, explore their website. And then explore the store itself. Buy a book or two. Or three. Or four. Or five...