If you ever find yourself in Jacksonville, Florida, you must make sure to visit Chamblin Bookmine — especially if you’re a book worm!
While you’ll typically find me adventuring outdoors, I do have a favorite local indoor spot here in Jacksonville, Florida.
It’s called Chamblin Bookmine, and it kind of feels like my own little secret world of escape.
(Although, I’m pretty sure just about everyone who ventures inside its doors probably feels the same way! It’s just that magical!)
Where is Chamblin Bookmine?
Chamblin Bookmine is an independent local bookstore with two retail locations in Jacksonville:
- Chamblin Bookmine — This is the original location, located on 4554 Roosevelt Boulevard.
- Chamblin’s Uptown — This second location is in downtown Jacksonville, located on 215 N Laura Street.
Both locations are wondrous and unique. If you’ve never been to Chamblin Bookmine at all, I’d recommend checking out the original location first. Admittedly, it’s my favorite, simply because of the large collection of books. It’s so massive, it’s easy to get lost inside the maze of books!
But if you’ve never explored the Uptown location, you’re missing out! (Ron, the owner, actually purposely leaves only this location open on Sundays to encourage people to explore downtown Jax.) This is a fun one to explore on the weekend, taking your time and sipping a coffee at the little Cafe downstairs!
What’s so special about Chamblin Bookmine?
Any time we’re in need of a small adventure on a dreary afternoon, we typically look at each other and say “Chamblin’s?” and hop in the car to go!
No matter how long it’s been since I last entered the store, it always feels like home as soon as I step inside. And my worries melt away when I walk through the doors. I’m not sure if it’s this special place itself, or if it’s just the magic of being surrounded by books. Either way, I love it and it always cheers me up.
7 Reasons I Love Chamblin Bookmine
There are so many reasons to love this local bookstore, but here are just a few…
1. The Atmosphere.
Hands down, I think this is what makes Chamblin Bookmine so unique. When you walk inside for the first time, the amount of books is simply overwhelming. I’ve still, to this day, never seen another bookstore like it!
To me, it’s always sort of felt like Narnia — like you walk through the doors and you’re transported into a different world.
If I had to describe the vibe in a phrase, I’d call it “cozy nostalgic” because it definitely feels nostalgic for me. The smell of all the real books takes me back to a much simpler time in life, when technology wasn’t what it is today.
(But then again, I can be a bit of a technophobe and I will never give up the smell and feel of a real book in my hands for an eBook!)
2. The Amount of Books.
As I already mentioned, the amount of books is impressive. Even if you go in preparing yourself for how many books there are, I think you’ll still be surprised.
The Roosevelt location, especially, has aisles and aisles of towers of books from floor to ceiling.
3. The Quiet
I’m an introvert. Quiet and stillness refuel me. When I feel overstimulated by the noise and busyness of the world, Chamblin’s feels like a recharge station for my soul.
It is SO quiet and peaceful inside Chamblin Bookmine. As far as I know, there isn’t a rule about this, but I think everyone just respects the quiet atmosphere and there’s a mutual understanding about it. Most people treat it like a library, and it’s rare that I encounter a loud visitor. It’s really nice.
4. The Employees
The employees clearly all love their job and have a passion for books. And they’re quick to stop what they’re doing to help you find the book you’re looking for.
I love to wander through the aisles looking for titles or seeing what unexpected finds jump out at me. But if you’re looking for a really specific title and can’t find it, definitely utilize the employees! They’re really helpful!
5. The Escape
When I go inside, my Wi-Fi doesn’t typically work and my phone loses service. It can be a bit frustrating, but I actually really like it.
It forces me to be unplugged for a couple hours, surrounded by books and stillness.
And it feels so much like a hideaway — especially on a rainy day!
6. The Unexpected Treasure
I think what I might love most about Chamblin’s is that I almost always pick up an unexpected find.
Chamblin Bookmine carries tons of 1st edition books, hard to find books, and rare books.
I love browsing their Classics section and looking at all the old hardback books. I often find earlier editions of some of my favorite authors or poets.
Bonus: they look great on the shelf and give your home lots of character!
7. The Book Credit
Like a lot of used bookstores, you can take in your already-read books from home and trade them in for cash or credit.
I always recommend taking the credit, because you get more bang for your buck. Plus, it’s easy to spend credit at Chamblin’s!
I love taking in a box of books, unloading them, and browsing while I wait to see how much credit I get! Then I get to buy a few new reads without paying anything out of pocket.
What are the prices like?
The prices at Chamblin Bookmine are pretty reasonable, but knowing your prices is really helpful!
I find a lot of books that are total steals, but then I find other books that are not-so-great prices. (Of course, I always lean more towards buying it from Chamblin’s regardless, since I like to support our local bookstores!)
Here is the pricing structure:
- Used books are 50% off the cover price on the back of the book. Look for a Chamblin’s stamp inside the front cover of the book for this pricing.
- New books are 10% off the cover price. (Any book without a stamp.)
- Hardcover books typically have a set price listed in the front cover of the book.
Obviously, the best deal is the used books for 50% off, and that’s typically what I go for.
When I find a title I’m looking for, I look through all the copies to find the best deal. There are often several different editions, so I’ll try to look for the oldest edition that’s priced lower but in the best condition! I can usually snag books for under $5-$6 by doing this.
And if you love rare, hard to find books, you probably won’t beat the prices you find at Chamblin Bookmine!
Tips for Your Trip to Chamblin Bookmine
If you’re planning a trip to Chamblin Bookmine in the near future, here are a few of my best tips:
- Give yourself enough time to browse — at least two hours. It’s overwhelming at first, and you’ll need plenty of time to enjoy it!
- If you’re overwhelmed, ask for help. Like I said, the employees are great.
- If you go with a friend, have a meet-up aisle and time. I know it sounds silly, but it’s easy to get lost in the maze of books. And phone service can be hit or miss, so having a meet-up plan is a good idea.
- Follow the signs if you get lost! They’re really helpful to get you back towards the front of the store. Also, look at the signs on each aisle for how the books and genres are organized, as they’re also very informative and helpful.
- Have a list of books you’re looking for. It makes it easier to hunt for titles!
I also recommend going back a few times to get a good feel for how the books are organized. The first few times I went, I couldn’t find anything I was looking for and quickly got overwhelmed. But now when we go, I can easily find what I’m looking for and know exactly where to look for all my titles!
I’m sure everyone has a favorite bookstore in their city, but I promise you that if you go to Chamblin Bookmine, you’ll forever kind of feel like it’s yours. It’s just special in that way!
Have you ever been to Chamblin Bookmine? I’d love to hear!
May your life be an adventure, today and always…