Phoenix Area Bookstores – Think About Where You Shop

I bought a book at Tempe’s Changing Hands Bookstore last week and saw this on the back of the bookmark:

“Thanks for shopping at Changing Hands, your local independent bookseller. Here’s what you just did!

  1. You kept dollars in our local economy
  2. You embraced what makes us unique
  3. You created local jobs
  4. You helped the environment
  5. You nurtured community
  6. You conserved your tax dollars
  7. You created more choice
  8. You took advantage of our expertise
  9. You invested in entrepreneurship
  10. You made us a destination”

What a cool concept – supporting the local bookstores at the expense of the chains. Yes, I’m late to the party – officially at least – but now I know where I’d much rather see my dollars go. (I’m already there for dining choices – Stir Fry Paradise at 67th Avenue and Bell, Pullano’s Pizza and Wings at 51st Avenue and Thunderbird, Hot Bagels at 59th Avenue and Loop 101 to name a few locally-owned restaurants …)

Changing Hands used to be on Mill Avenue once upon a time but has been at the southwest corner of Baseline and McClintock in Tempe for more than a decade. We ended up walking in because it was connected to the Wildflower Bread Company next door. If there was anything even slightly unusual, it was the mix of new and used books on the same shelf. I picked up the third volume of Stephen Ambrose’s three-volume biography of Richard Nixon for $9; right next to it was a new biography of Woodrow Wilson for $28. Side by side, there’s just no difference to justify a price four times higher.

My usual haunt is Thrifty Joe’s in Glendale, at 59th Avenue and Bell on the northwest corner. There’s a post office in bank which gives Thrifty Joe’s my own personal label as selling the most expensive stamps in town because it’s hard leaving without a book in hand as well. I’m not sure I can explain this one quite right, but Thrifty Joe’s just feels like a used bookstore should.

So does the Book Den on the northwest corner of 67th Avenue and Greenway, also in Glendale.

Those are three of my own choices … there certainly are others. If you’ve got a favorite, pass it along in the comments …

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • Joshua Hill 7 years ago

    Hi Jonathan, I love Changing Hands, and what you’re doing to the blog layout, too. Keep it up! Just as a helpful correction, though, Changing Hands is actually on the southwest corner of McClintock and Guadalupe, not Baseline. I used to live across the street on the southeast corner, so that plaza was part of my stomping grounds for several years!

  • Jonathan Dalton 7 years ago

    Yep, you’re right … how did I mix up the former Chapman Chevrolet and Changing Hands? There used to be a toy store there a million years ago owned by a Tempe city councilman, think the last name was Oonk if I remember right. Thanks for the correction and for reading, Joshua!

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