Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Miami: Not exactly a place you might affiliate with books and book lovers. Which makes Books & Books even more of a delightful stop when shopping South Beach. That is, if you can find it.
The shop's eponymous café is easy enough to spot—check the massive blue, logo-emblazoned umbrellas protecting sidewalk diners from the sun as they scarf down seasonal, Cuban-inflected New American dishes and pitchers of fruit infused wines. Across from them there is an air-conditioned, semi-enclosed breezeway with banks of magazines, lounges, and a coffee counter. But where's the damn store?
It's actually through that breezeway and tucked into the corner of a lush, pebbled courtyard. But the sense of discovery doesn't end at the shop's doors: The space is literally a warren of softly lit little rooms decorated with watercolors and tapestries and potted orchids. Up front find new releases and gifts, a wall of staff recommendations, journals, art books and a cash wrap. Turn a corner and you'll find floor-to-ceiling shelves of cookbooks and coffee table books. From there five distinct spaces beckon. One is a charming kid's department; another offers an impressive array of literature; a third features travel books, maps, and a nice array of local interest titles ranging from travel guides to local mystery authors.
But, you'll find yourself drawn straight back, into Assouline's shop-within-a-shop. Gorgeous, massive coffee table titles await, celebrating everything from cigarette culture to Swiss watches to Dolce & Gabbana. For impulse buys check the art and fashion publishing imprint's series of small paperback reference books on world capitals, fine artists, and fashion designers. Either way, take a breath, and soak it all in: You're in the smartest and calmest little spot on Lincoln Road.
· Lincoln Road, South Beach: The Good, The Bad, and The Trashy [Racked]
· Books & Books [Official Site]