901 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-961-0622; kingsbooksdetroit.com
While big box bookstores shutter by the numbers and mom-and-pop operations struggle to compete with Amazon and, well, the fact that most people these days seem to digest information in 140 characters or less, one iconic Detroit establishment is king — John K. King Used & Rare Books, that is.
If you're headed downtown on the freeway, it's hard to miss this literary giant. Since 1965, John K. King has become a labyrinthian treasure trove that houses a collection of 1 million books in more than 900 subjects. Upon entry, visitors are greeted with a map detailing the contents of each of the four stories. While you may go in with a list of must-find titles, the more seasoned bookworms will tell you that titles will find you.
More than the collection itself though, what John K. King offers is an experience. From the coveted old-book mustiness, and the charming handmade cardboard aisle descriptions and illustrations, to the walkie-talkie equipped staff who are ready to assist you in even the most impossible of searches, when you visit John K. King you are bound to leave with something special. —Jerilyn Jordan