Spend Locally: Curious Book Shop and Archives Book Shop

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

First-time patrons are often surprised when they enter what looks like a little shop.

If you’re looking to escape reality, visit East Lansing’s two used bookstores – Curious Book Shop and Archives Book Shop – offering a safe haven. With over 60,000 books you’re able to find almost anything. 

There are shelves full of children’s books from beginner to young adult, vintage and obscure titles, mystery and science fiction, paperbacks and hardbacks, poetry and non-fiction, vintage magazines and comic books, movie materials and sports items, and plenty of ‘impulse buys’, according to Ray Walsh, owner of both local used bookstores.

Walsh has a passion for books and people. He loves to read and started selling books while in college at MSU. But he got tired of taking the bus to Detroit to visit used bookshops.

“I said ‘gee, why doesn’t someone start doing that’ and ‘maybe it could be me’. I did that when I was a student. I graduated in 1971, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Lately, his patrons have unexpectedly become increasingly interested in new age and religious titles due to the pandemic. The shop is also seeing more foot traffic from visitors who haven’t been to the downtown district in a while. 

“It’s interesting to see their response when they come into East Lansing and see how much has changed,” Walsh said. “Other people have come in and said, ‘We just walked by your store in the past,’ and ‘well, we figured maybe we’d stop in.’”

Back at the beginning of the pandemic, ELi reported that Curious Book Shop launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to keep the lights on at one of the longest operating independently-owned businesses in East Lansing. As of today, they’ve raised over $27,000, which went toward utilities, rent, insurance and payroll.

Customers can purchase books or other unique, hard-to find items in person, over the phone, or online. Both shops offer curbside pickup. They can also mail books around the world or to local destinations. Currently, you can enjoy a 20% discount on gift certificates and children’s books. 

Curious Book Shop validates parking and is open 10-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Archives Book Shop has free parking and is open 11-6 Monday-Saturday. Both shops are open 12 -5 pm on Sunday. 

You can email Curious Book Shop and Archives Book Shop and check out the Etsy pages for Curious and Archives.

Make sure ELi can continue to help support our local community in 2021.

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