Getting their kicks (52 miles off) Route 66


ABE Books — now owned by Amazon, last we checked — occasionally posts features intended to encourage customers to frequent and buy from the nation’s remaining “used and antiquarian” bookstores.

That’s a fine goal. Even though someone can always find something to quibble with, such efforts are generally fun, and should be welcomed in the spirit intended.

Still, the outfit seems to have stepped into a good-sized pile of something beyond the bounds of tolerable geographical flexibility with a piece posted on Thanksgiving Day, called “66 Bookstores on Route 66.”

“We have plotted the ultimate bibliophile’s road trip where you can visit 66 bricks and mortar used bookstores — who all sell on the AbeBooks marketplace — while driving from the shores of Lake Michigan to the beaches of Santa Monica,” explain authors Paula Lane and Dasha Minyukova, at .

That 18 of the bookstores listed are in Illinois and 16 in California was predictable enough — we all know there’s a lot of open space in North Texas (no stores listed) and New Mexico (a creditable nine stores, though almost all are in Albuquerque.) But then we get to Arizona, where the piece lists a total of three bookstores, all in the old territorial capital of Prescott.


The problem? Route 66 never went through Prescott. The closest it came, in fact, was the little truckstop of Ash Fork, which sits 52 miles to the north of Prescott (a full hour’s drive.)

And there’s a reason. Look up Prescott on a map. Getting in and out from the north and east is easy enough. But the road south toward Wickenburg and Phoenix winds its way down thousands of feet through a set of heart-in-your-mouth switchbacks. And roads to the west? That’s forbidding cliff and canyon country as far as Wickieup — in terms of paved roads suitable for interstate travel, there aren‘t any. That’s why 66 had to pass further north.

“I told them the same thing when they contacted me (before writing the article),” explains an owner of one of the Prescott bookstores, in the article’s Comments section.

“I have a store in Sedona and told them about the ones in Flag, but they only want Open storefronts that actually sell on ABE. Starrlight Books on Leroux in Downtown Flagstaff just off 66, Flagstaff Antiques on Milton (66), Bookman’s is also on Milton (66).”

The last we knew, “The Last Chapter” in Kingman could also lay a better claim to being “on Route 66.”

If you’re going to stretch your definition by more than 50 miles, why not claim Route 66 went through South Bend, Indiana — Fort Smith, Arkansas – Wichita, Kansas — or even Las Vegas, Nevada?

I know some ABE sellers in Las Vegas. 🙂


2 Comments to “Getting their kicks (52 miles off) Route 66”

  1. MamaLiberty Says:

    Ah, the poetic license of advertising. 🙂 I lived for many years near Route 66 in Barstow, CA. We never thought of it as anything special, just another road. The only thing remarkable that I remember are the Burma Shave signs. So advertising is certainly historically connected with Route 66. I just doubt anyone is fooled by a 50+ mile detour. 🙂

  2. jackqueline Says:


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