Best Well-Intentioned Bookstore
Books for America
Forget Borders: We didn’t need them anyway. D.C. has a thriving used bookstore scene, and no secondhand shop is doing more to help readers of all stripes than Dupont Circle’s Books for America. This non-profit’s mission is to build and improve libraries in schools, prisons, and shelters and establish reading programs around the District. In 2010, it donated more than $500,000 worth of materials and aid to places like Springbrook Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Coffeewood Correctional Center, and Marumsco Hills Elementary School. Part of the outfit’s fundraising comes from its store, which stocks an impressive array of books, DVDs, CDs, and vinyl. A recent treasure-hunting expedition unearthed an über-rare Mother Love Bone single, a Jay McInerney softcover, and an obscure academic text on the history of cocoa production in Ghana. No matter what you buy, you know you’re bringing a little light into your life, and someone else’s—which you definitely can’t say when you pick up paperbacks at Barnes & Noble.