Ruta Smith

420 King St. Downtown
(843) 722-2666

Twenty-five years after opening, King Street’s Blue Bicycle Books (BBB) finally takes home the prize for Best of Charleston’s Best Bookstore. (And we can’t believe it’s taken that long!) BBB is more than a bookstore, serving as a community gathering place for talks, podcast recordings and an annual, super popular Young Adult book festival, YALLFest. And BBB is as hyper local as you want your local bookstore to be. “Our store is very uniquely suited to Charleston and me and my staff,” said owner Johnathan Sanchez. A realistic business owner, Sanchez is not in the business of pushing customers to buy local just because it’s the right thing to do. Of course he wants customers to flock to his store; being local helps, but Sanchez also wants BBB to offer a really great experience. He compares the various processes of picking out books these days: You can download one on your Kindle or you can buy one on Amazon, delivered shiny and new to your doorstep. “But it’s not quite the same as finding a used copy, the version with that desperate embrace and the lush coloring and that NYRB blurb,” said Sanchez. The great bookstores, in Sanchez’s mind, don’t have to work too hard to lure customers in: “they don’t need to sell you on why you should buy from them; they attract people, they’re sexy.” —Connelly Hardaway

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