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Lists: Four great places to browse through books in Ashland

Ashland is a highly literate town, noted for its high percentage of people with college degrees (and graduate degrees), engaged citizens, active voters and writers of letters to the editor, therefore, it must have lots of bookstores, right? Right — in fact, the city appears to have more stand-alone bookstores than Medford, which is four times the population. There were once more bookstores in Ashland, but there are several left standing after the explosion of Kindle, e-books and the Internet over the last 20 years. Here are some of them:

Antiquarium Books & Antiques

Directly across the street from Bloomsbury, Antiquarium Books & Antiques at 297 E. Main St. offers a wonderfully exotic and engaging selection of rare and antiquarian books, with especial interest in metaphysics, childrens books, regional history, natural history, classics and Shakespeare, says owner David Ralston. He creates fascinating cases that include books and antique items on a theme, such as India, the Orient, Native American. Easy to get lost in. For more, search for Antiquarium Ashland on Facebook.

Bloomsbury Books

Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main St., is the gold standard of new independent bookstores and has been selling books on Ashland’s main drag seemingly since Melville. It was started (before the personal computer) by three Ashland women and has great vibrations and browsing space. They love local writers and note them with cards on the shelves. Great coffee house upstairs with lovely back deck for summer reading and chats with friends. See their website for their picks of books and dates for readings and signings by authors: bloomsburyashland.com.

The Book Exchange

The Book Exchange, 90 N. Pioneer St., is a used book treasure house and has been for 43 years. They welcome you to drop in anytime with books you don’t want anymore. Inevitably, you often walk out with more books than you brought in. the Downtown store boasts a deep selection in literature, mystery, science fiction, romance, history, philosophy, metaphysics, eastern traditions, Christianity and Judaism — and a whole lot more. For more, see ashlandbookexchange.com.

Shakespeare Books & Antiques

Shakespeare Books & Antiques, 163 E. Main St., offers new and used books and boasts a deep selection in classics, contemporary best-sellers, children’s, art, photography, philosophy, mythology, history, poetry, the '60s, cooking, gardening, Oregon history, Native American, Japan, China, horses, cats and dogs, nature, travel writing. Owner Judi Honoré is a vocal opponent of the practice of banning books and displays banned books openly. For more, see shakespearebooksandantiques.com.