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It’s best to start with the Salem Athenaeum and the Salem Public Library, which are situated directly across Essex street from one another.The Salem Athenaeum can trace its roots back before the Revolutionary War, when a group of wealthy merchants decided to upgrade their fancy social club to a fancy library social club.In later years, whichever brother was manning the register would peer out from a small aperture between piles. True, books were rock-bottom cheap and you never knew what you’d find, but the store’s condition only worsened as the years passed. Then, a miracle: a local devotee bought the place and re-opened as Wicked Good Books.Its lead line is that Salem should ALWAYS have a bookstore. Now displaying a mixture of new and used titles in a more traditional manner, this little shop is a charming addition to the Essex Street walking way.Wicked Good Books is definitely the town’s flagship bookstore.Originally the site of Derby Books, this shop has a long and storied history in the printed word.
Harrison’s has a better selection, and it used to be my go-to, but some unsavory sexist nonsense went down there in 2014 and I no longer give them my business.Silver Moon Comics, located in the dilapidated but worthwhile Witch City Mall, is a better bet.Despite their smaller selection, they have a lovely array of Funkos to go with your varoius issues.For as long as anyone I know can remember, Derby Books was owned by one family, first a couple and then their two children, who stacked used and new books in teetering, ten-foot-high piles.Every surface was booked, including the checkout counter.