Buxton Books Is The Best Bookstore In Charleston, SC

Buxton Books Is The Best Bookstore In Charleston, SC

by Stephanie Edwards

If you’re a booklover and a regular traveler to Charleston, you know a trip to the Low Country would not be complete without a visit to Buxton Books one of the most beloved and popular bookstores in South Carolina.

Recently, the independent book shop moved from its Charleston Market adjacent location to 160 King St., near the city library and historical society. During a recent trip to the Lowcountry, I had the opportunity to check out the new and very fitting location for the first time.

I am happy to say the building has the same warm environment as the last location. If anything, the atmosphere is even more cheerful, due to the amount of natural light the expansive display windows let into the store. The white walls are covered in simple, sleek wooden shelves that house nonfiction and fiction works. Two oversized chairs provide a comfortable spot to take a quick break to review book jacket covers and research your finds on the Internet.

Digging through the literary treasure trove, I paused to appreciate the impressive number of signed copies of novels by South Carolina Lowcountry authors. Every time I visit Buxton Books, I make it a point to pick up a copy of a book by one of the writers. Some of my favorites include Mary Alice Monroe’s Beach House series and Pat Conroy’s novels. I had to smile when I noticed the shelves that house the works of the late Dorthea Benton Frank, a native of Sullivan’s Island. Dottie Frank was known as a life force in the Charleston area, and the shop staff paid tasteful tribute to her life by placing a simple marker with her birth year and death date.

Buxton Books, Charleston, SC

Charleston is known for its history, and the shop keeps a variety of books about the Holy City’s culture and past in stock. Store owner Julian Buxton’s book, “The Ghosts of Charleston” is a popular souvenir. The book includes stories about the unexplained, including the Gentleman Ghost and Headless torso of the Battery Carriage House Inn, the despairing ghost in the beautiful Aiken-Rhett House, the tragic death of a young doctor and his return to a house on Church Street and the ghost car on the Cooper River Bridge. Fans of the book can take a tour based on the stories found within its pages.

For those who enjoy cooking, look no further than the Charleston Receipts cookbook. Originally published in the 1950s by the Junior League, it features more than 750 recipes for Lowcountry and Southern favorites like Hopping John, a mixture of rice, peas and bacon, and benne wafers, which are cookies topped with sesame seeds. Also, the book includes artwork and verse by Charleston artists and writers. As an added bonus, the simple but elegant cover artwork make this a homey addition to any kitchen.

If you’re looking to take home an antique, check out Buxton’s collection of Little Leather Library books, miniature versions of classics such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, King Learand TheRubiyat, which were published in the 1920s. Plus, these small manuscripts are lightweight and easy to carry while you’re strolling the cobblestone streets of the historic district.

Every time I visit Buxton Books, I am impressed by the staff that is consistently knowledgeable about shop inventory, the publishing industry and the local arts and culture scene. One customer requested information on an obscure out-of-print book. While the shop did not have that title on-hand, the employee searched online to find a copy and provided multiple other recommendations for items that were available. The employees exude southern hospitality at its best, making every customer feel like a regular.

In addition, Buxton Books hosts events, allowing area visitors and residents to meet their favorite authors and listen to them read excerpts from their newest works.  A current calendar of events can be found on the shop website.

For more information and current store hours, visit the Buxton Books website.

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