Alternate Universe, 1181 Chapel St., 203-562-0108; 398 Bridgeport Ave., Milford, 203-876-8539, facebook.com/alternateuniverse. A beloved mecca for area comics fans, be it traditional superhero fare and kids’ staples or graphic novels, illustrated adaptations of movies, underground stuff, manga or what have you.
Atticus Bookstore/Café, 1082 Chapel St., 203-776-4040, atticusbookstorecafe.com. Popular downtown bookstore where one can read over coffee and light meals, including standout soups and crusty bread from the local Chabaso Bakery.
Barnes & Noble Yale Bookstore, 77 Broadway, 203-777-8440, yalebookstore.com. The official Yale bookstore has what you’d expect, in terms of both course books and Yale schwag and B&N-style selection, but check out the schedule of author events and children’s happenings, which are well suited for downtown New Haven.
The Book Barn, 41 W. Main St., Niantic, 860-739-5715; downtown outlet: 269 Main St., Niantic, 860-691-8078, bookbarnniantic.com. 275,000 books in seven buildings. The Book Barn is a Connecticut treasure; a destination in itself where you can get lost for hours in the sprawling grounds, read in the garden, watch the cats and let the kids hang out in a play area. Downtown outlet specializes in nautical, philosophy/religion, performing arts, cookbooks, paperbacks.
Book Trader Café, 1140 Chapel St., 203-787-6147, booktradercafe.com. Approved by downtown hipsters and bohemians. Interesting selection of used books, including extensive fiction and entertainment/culture sections and art books. Watch passersby from seats facing out the windows to the sidewalk, and vice versa. Outdoor seating, reliable coffee and tasty sandwiches, too.
Books & Company, 1235 Whitney Ave., Hamden, 203-248-9449. Re-opened in September 2008, after a car drove through its front window. Used, half-price contemporary paperbacks and a coffee shop.
Books by the Falls, 253 Roosevelt Dr., Derby, 203-734-6112. Advisable to call in advance. 40,000 used and rare books, from inexpensive paperbacks to leatherbound items. Antiques and collectibles.
Breakwater Books, 81 Whitfield St., Guilford, 203-453-4141, breakwaterbooks.net. New books; elegant displays, comfortable browsing and knowledgeable staff, near the Guilford Green. One of our favorite places to browse.
Broder’s Rare & Used Books, 205 Columbia Blvd., Waterbury, 203-755-1114, brodersbooks.com. Rare and used books for collectors.
DJ’s Comic Shop, 1 Lincoln St., North Haven, 203-234-2989. Comics and sports collectibles shop right on the corner of Lincoln Street and Washington Avenue. Graphic novels, comics, trades, statuettes, vintage cards, autographed items and more.
John Bale Book Co., 158 Grand St., Waterbury, 203-757-2279, johnbalebooks.com. Rare and used books, a huge collection of old New Yorkers and a café serving coffee, breakfast and lunch.
Never Ending Books, 810 State St., neverendingbooks.net. The books are all used, the store’s open when the owners happen to be around, and all purchases are by donation — you determine what you pay. Good browsing for the activism-minded. Regular performance and consciousness-raising events.
New Haven Reads, 45 Bristol St., 203-752-1923, newhavenreads.org. Community organization that distributes free books to city children. Drop by and browse the free-or-by-donation selection, or drop off your gently used books.
R.J. Julia Booksellers, 768 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-3959, rjjulia.com. Wide-ranging bookstore known for its friendly and laid-back atmosphere, dedicated staff and frequent special events such as author signings and discussions. Visit the café.
Whitlock Farm Booksellers, 20 Sperry Rd., Bethany, 203-393-1240, whitlocksbookbarn.com. Used and rare books and prints. One of the largest stocks of used books in the area.