Picture this: you, relaxing on the beach with a favorite book. Or maybe you’re sitting on a beloved porch swing or hotel balcony, reading as the sun sets with a drink in your hand. Whatever the setting, nothing can compare to the immersive escapism of a great book—and Florida’s Cultural Capital has just what you need to satisfy your passion for reading.
The Palm Beaches are home to a host of exceptional spots that bibliophiles won’t find anywhere else in the world. We’ve hand-selected five of the top local destinations for book lovers below. Visit soon and savor every book you can!
Raptis Rare Books, Palm Beach
Nestled along the posh shops of Palm Beach Island’s stylish Worth Avenue is a dazzling gem for seasoned book collectors and history lovers. Specializing in antiquarian books in exceptional condition, Raptis Rare Books treats visitors to a dizzying array of carefully selected, hard-to-find texts. Here, visitors will find a rare first edition in English of Aristotle’s 1598 masterpiece Politiques, or Discourses of Government and an inscribed first edition of Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird. Musical aficionados will delight in a signed first edition of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1989 classic work Into The Woods while poetry lovers will fall in love with a unique original miniature manuscript of Shel Silverstein’s zany 1964 children’s tale A Giraffe and a Half. The shop also carries a collection of original signed letters from world leaders, vintage photographs, inscribed records and vinyl LPs. Literature fans looking for an extraordinary journey through stories will find it at this top destination for uncommon finds.
Little Free Libraries, Lake Worth Beach
Among the unique brightly colored tropical cottages that Lake Worth Beach is known for, something else noteworthy can be found: miniature enclosed bookcases outside homes and businesses housing books. Lots of them. While the free outdoor public book exchanges known as Little Free Libraries can be found in other towns, the book-loving residents of Lake Worth Beach have built the city’s collection of free outdoor book boxes so robustly that the seaside municipality now boasts the most Little Free Libraries per capita in the world. With more than 100 book exchange locations in neighborhoods throughout Lake Worth Beach, visitors looking for something new to read need only walk a few blocks to a Little Free Library to check out that day’s finds. Since the little libraries are frequented often, their collections are constantly changing, with readers welcome to take or leave a book at any time. Children’s books, classic novels, bestselling fiction, you name it: they can all be found on any given day at one of Lake Worth Beach’s small-scale open-air libraries.
The Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton
For readers for whom the printed word is life, the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University is Palm Beach County’s best-kept secret. Anchored by the jaw-dropping Jaffe Collection of more than 12,000 books donated by former residents Arthur and Mata Jaffe, the center combines the enchanting qualities of an art gallery, letterpress studio and teaching venue to create a hands-on exhibitory experience unlike any other. With an unparalleled focus on the soul and spirit of artists’ books, the collection aims to harness the enthralling power of books as aesthetic objects to expand vision, ideas and creativity. Exhibitions, gallery talks, films and performances all take place inside the gallery, while the center’s Book Arts Studio serves as a classroom for courses in bookbinding. The Letterpress Studio’s gorgeous working vintage printing presses include several from the 20th century (a Vandercook No. 4 Proof Press, a Potter Proof Press and a Tabletop Platen Press) and a Wesel Iron Handpress from 1890. The center also hosts several exciting public virtual workshops each month. Come experience the magic and beauty of books as art.
Rohi’s Readery, West Palm Beach
Located on a bustling corner of The Square — downtown West Palm Beach’s walkable mixed-use shopping and dining destination — Rohi’s Readery offers young readers a visionary urban bookstore that celebrates all the world’s children and their stories. A cozy nook with an international flair, the store is packed full of colorful books rich in diversity, inclusion, and social justice themes. Committed to honoring the stories of people of color, indigenous cultures, immigrant children, nontraditional families, people with disabilities and more, Rohi’s Readery is South Florida’s first standalone social justice-oriented bookstore, featuring an open lounge for children to sit and read or create artwork while visiting. In addition to its literary offerings, the store hosts an ongoing array of vibrant, free educational events for families each month and aims to be a space where all children can feel valued and heard. Stop in and see the bold and transformative bookstore that has earned ongoing acclaim for its pursuit of literacy and inclusivity.
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, Delray Beach
For readers who love a good plot twist, downtown Delray Beach’s Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore is a destination to behold. Specializing in mysteries, thrillers and suspense, this inviting bookstore boasts countless photos of author visits — including a ‘bloody’ handprint once placed on its window by bestselling American novelist David Baldacci — and is a proud leader in signed mystery books by Florida authors. Tucked along Delray Beach’s buzzing Atlantic Avenue just east of the Delray Beach Public Library, the beloved shop is just a short walk (or electric shuttle ride) for anyone visiting the spirited beachside city dubbed the “Most Fun Small Town in America” by Rand McNally. With exhilarating events that include book clubs for mystery lovers, exclusive author talks and weekly summertime virtual writers’ workshops, this local haunt is the place to be for well-read thrill-seekers. A perfect stop for travelers longing for that perfect read on the way to Delray’s famous beaches!*
Looking for more arts and culture to explore in The Palm Beaches? Download our cultural travel guide today.
Linnea Bailey is a freelance writer based in South Florida. A former award-winning newspaper reporter, she now owns a public relations company in West Palm Beach. Linnea enjoys traveling, spending time with family and experiencing all the arts and cultural offerings The Palm Beaches have to offer.
*After 25 years in business, the owners of Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore have announced that they will be closing its doors on April 15, 2022. Come see this local treasure and pick up a book or two before then!