Saturday, June 11, 2016

Sixth Chamber Used Books - St. Paul, MN

Sixth Chamber Used Books - St. Paul, MN

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This is what I call a "tons of" store.  Tons of used books, tons of new games, tons of new toys, and tons of stuff that doesn't fit any of those categories.  I love visiting used bookstores but there are definitely a wide variety.  As James W., the owner, told me, since they've been around for 20+ years they've learned how to adapt and change in order to survive and sustain.  Adapting and surviving is good advice for all indies and as far as I can tell James has been doing a good job of it here at Sixth Chamber.

Some used bookstores you visit will have that characteristic old book musty smell.  That doesn't bother me at all but for those of you who are bothered by it, you don't have to worry about that here.  Not so much as even a trace.  You'll also find some used bookstores that can be somewhat disorganized or even chaotic (which are only good for exploring unless you're looking for something specific).  Not so here at Sixth Chamber.  Everything here is very neatly arranged and organized.  All the bookshelves are labeled by genres and you can easily browse the many nooks and turns of this one-level store.  The store enjoys a unique partnership with Fox Den Used Books in nearby River Falls, WI.  Fox Den is owned by James' wife so the two of them are able to offer a vast inventory to their customers.  If one store doesn't have it, the other one might.  And this vast inventory doesn't even count the 100,000 books that haven't been entered into the system yet.  Customers who bring their books in will receive store credit or cash and store credit is always the better deal.  I'm not sure I've ever visited an indie where this isn't the case.

Sixth Chamber rarely has author events since those are more closely associated with the stores that carry new books but it does offer many other events to fill that void.  There are lots of book discussion groups as well as a children's story time.  I especially like that they have game nights where they play and/or try-out some of the many games in the store.  The best part is that these event's are held in the Chinese restaurant next door.  A win-win for both businesses.

I had a great time talking to James who told me a lot about the store and the recent history of book-selling.  This is just one more gem you'll find in the Twin Cities area.  Oh, how could I forget?! In addition to enjoying a terrific bookstore gem, you'll also meet a terrific gem of a bookstore dog.  His name?  GEM, of course!  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

JUST FINISHED:  God'll Cut You Down, John Safron.  True crime fiction written by an Australian Jewish author who goes to Mississippi.  He befriends a white supremacist and the young African-American who murdered him.  A slice of life in current day Mississippi that will leave you shaking your head.  I enjoyed this book and can recommend it.

CURRENTLY READING:  A Spot Of Bother, Mark Haddon.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  The Pothunters And Other School Stories, P. G. Wodehouse.

View looking into the store and the first room from the entrance.  

Some of the greeting cards available.  

You'll find lots of new games here and these are just a few.  

Only in an independent bookstore.  Just when I think I've seen every sideline imaginable I spot this.  

An assortment of soy candles made in Minneapolis.  Buy local!  

Lots of great book aisles here.  

Unique socks that you can only find in independent bookstores.  

Wall to wall and floor to ceiling books.  

A nice assortment of art supplies.  

Many of the bookstores I've visited in the Twin Cities are award-winning.  The same is true for Sixth Chamber.  

A section of green toys are offered here.  

The store has lots of puzzles.  

Loads of fun stuff here for kids.  

Collectors might find exactly what they're looking for here.  

There is nothing extraordinary about this picture except I thought it looked like a great spot to sit by the window with a table for your book.  

Books waiting to find a temporary home on the shelves before they reach their permanent home on your bookshelf.

With James on the left and Gem.  Thanks for a great visit.  


  1. Jane and I were there Monday! The fabric store next door is great, too, says Jane... unusual amount of dress fabric.

    Bruce N.

  2. There you go, readers. One more reason to pay this store and this area a visit. Thanks for following, Bruce!