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Books & Books Offers a Hidden Respite From Miami's Bling

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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]

Books & Books

927 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL