Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Bookstores in West Michigan

One of the perks of visiting West Michigan is being able to go to the Eerdmans, Baker, and Calvin College bookstores. As many of you know, Eerdmans and Baker Books are two of the largest Christian publishers in America. Both are headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan and have separate bookstores. Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary are also located in Grand Rapids and have a wonderful campus store with lots of titles related to Reformed history and thought. I could have spent all day at these three bookstores.

My first stop was the Eerdmans store, which is next to the publishing firm's headquarters. The bookstore, although seemingly small at first sight, is packed with books (not all of which are Eerdmans titles). There is a large section of "slightly blemished books" published by Eerdmans that are deeply discounted and (in my opinion) in near mint condition. I purchased Tim Grass's F.F. Bruce: A Life for only $8! I also bought An Eerdmans Century, 1911-2011, which tells the history of the firm. To my delight, as I was paying for my books, William Eerdmans, Jr. (pictured to the right) walked into the store. I introduced myself and had him sign my book on the history of Eerdmans. After I told him that I work at UTC, he informed me that he attended McCallie School, a boys prep school located in Chattanooga, and, of course, knew Bill McClay. Even though the Eerdmans bookstore is slightly off the beaten path, it should not be missed if you are visiting Grand Rapids.

My second stop (moving from North to South) was the campus store at Calvin College where I purchased Roger Olson's Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (a book I have been meaning to purchase for quite some time), and, to help me with my upcoming course on Jonathan Edwards, The Cambridge Companion to Jonathan Edwards and Philip Gura's Jonathan Edwards: America's Evangelical. Calvin College's campus is very impressive, and is situated in the heart of the city, off the East Beltline.

My final stop was to the Baker House bookstore, which has been transformed in the last year since I visited it. The inside of the store now resembles a Christian Barnes & Noble, with lots of plush chairs to sit in, a nice cafe, and, importantly for the bibliophile, a huge selection of used books. It would have taken me several hours to read all the used titles for sale. To give you an idea of the array of books for sale in this section, I saw the Letters of J. N. Darby as well as the works of Henry Scougal (in addition to contemporary authors like J. I. Packer, Mark Noll, and others).

If you ever visit Grand Rapids, don't miss out on visiting these three bookstores.

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