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A customer browses through books at the Tattered Cover bookstore in downtown Denver on Thursday, May 24, 2007.

Ed Andrieski/Associated Press/Ed Andrieski/Associated Press

After years of travelling around the U.S. and Canada – and listening to recommendations from bookish friends – these are some of my all-time favourite bookstores.

Powell's Books. A mammoth oasis of new and used books on the edge of the Pearl District where it's easy to lose yourself for half a day among the friendly hipsters – check the events calendar for daily happenings. 1005 W. Burnside, Portland, Ore.; powells.com

Tattered Cover. Now in three locations, the creaky-floored, old-school 16th Street store is a favourite among Denver's chin-stroking literati – particularly for its reader-friendly armchairs. 1628 16th St., Denver; tatteredcover.com

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The Elliott Bay Book Company. The bookworming hub of Seattle's Capitol Hill neighbourhood is a great place to hang with the locals – especially in the smashing onsite café. 1421 Tenth Ave.; Seattle; elliottbaybook.com

Munro's Books. Like a cathedral of books, this lovely, high-ceilinged heritage building is the perfect spot for a rainy afternoon of gentle browsing. 1108 Government St., Victoria; munrobooks.com

Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers. Whodunit fans flock to this Greenwich Village store to commune with like-minded "mysteryophiles" and peruse the ever-changing wall of 100 staff picks. 44 Greenwich Ave., New York; crimepays.com

Square Books. Mississippi's fave indie bookstore occupies a three-volume sprawl of buildings on Courthouse Square – head to the main, two-floored location and dive into the Southern writers selection. 160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, Miss.; squarebooks.com

Strand Bookstore. Just off Union Square, the city's popular used and bargain bookshop is crammed with temptingly priced titles – hit the carts outside to pick up an el cheapo paperback for your flight home. 828 Broadway, New York; strandbooks.com

Blue Heron Books. A highly welcoming bookstore with excellent staff. You're likely to meet everyone in town if you stay for more an hour – especially if you drop in for an author event. 62 Brock St. W., Uxbridge, Ont.; blueheronbooks.com

MacLeod's Books. Squeeze between the teetering piles of used tomes at this cozy corner bookstore for some serious browsing and a spot of impromptu chat with bookish locals – a perfect rainy Vancouver activity. 455 Pender St. W., Vancouver; 604-681-7654

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Brattle Book Shop. A superior selection of used volumes – including a third floor of antiquarian books – lures many, but the outdoor area is the spot for great bargain, with tomes priced from $1. 9 West St., Boston; brattlebookshop.com

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