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BEST BOOKSTORE (NEW) Minneapolis 1999 -

Readers' Choice: Barnes & Noble

To sidestep the You've Got Mail, independent-versus-chain morality quagmire, City Pages turned to the scientific method. A single day's calls to the Twin Cities' top general bookstores (and one online merchant) checked the availability of a current bestseller (Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation); the 1989 debut by a local novelist (Thomas King's Medicine River); a baby shower standby (Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions); a recent book from an award-winning poetry press (Joseph Stroud's Below Cold Mountain, Copper Canyon); a philosophy tome (Kierkegaard's Either/Or); hot nonfiction from an academic publisher (Rachel Maines's The Technology of Orgasm); and a sports classic (Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer). Only Hungry Mind had them all in stock. What's more, the booksellers could actually find them on the shelves. And we haven't even mentioned the reliably splendid author reading series (does Amazon.com bring Toni Morrison to town?). This Mind has remained competitive with monthly deep discounts on selected titles, a general 10 percent off hardcover price, and their up-to-30-percent-off-everything, twice-a-year blowouts (next up: mid-June). Owner David Unowsky is currently in talks to open a Minneapolis branch at the new Minnesota Book and Literary Arts Building on Washington Avenue. We don't have to argue that it's righteous to shop at this classic independent bookstore. We can simply say that it's smart.

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