Steve’s Sundry Books and Magazines

Here are some things you won’t find at Steve’s Sundry Books and Magazines:

* An espresso bar serving Starbuck’s mocha lattes for $5 apiece.
* A children’s section that carries more toys than books.
* A gargantuan display of obscenely overpriced wrapping paper and gift bags.
* A homogeneous, milquetoast selection of focus-group-tested books and periodicals.

Here are some things you will find at Steve’s Sundry Books and Magazines:

* An old-fashioned soda fountain serving chocolate malts and several different kinds of sandwiches.
* A large collection of books by Oklahoma authors, most of whom show up for book signings once in a while. Tulsa’s own Michael Wallis, author of Route 66: The Mother Road and over a dozen other books on the people, places, history, lore, and lure of the American West, always starts his book tours with a hometown book signing at Steve’s.
* A diverse assortment of magazines covering every imaginable topic, from off-grid power to alternative lifestyles.
* A friendly, knowledgeable staff with an obvious appreciation for Tulsa, its people, and its history.

Nestled in an aging strip mall at 2612 S. Harvard Ave., just south of the Broken Arrow Expressway, Steve’s is the quintessential independent bookstore: A little smallish, a little cluttered, but keenly aware of its customers’ interests and tastes.

It’s not the coolest bookstore I’ve ever been in (that honor goes to Oxford, Mississippi’s Square Books, which is probably three times the size of Steve’s and has the decidedly unfair advantage of being located in William Faulkner’s hometown, thus making it a sort of English-major mecca), but the stack of coffee-table books about Tulsa architecture on a table near the cash register, the significant amount of prime shelf space devoted to local authors, and the soda fountain rescued from a defunct Tulsa drugstore give it a sense of place nearly equal to that of Square Books.

On a recent trip, we purchased copies of 1984 and Farewell to Manzanar, along with a lovely Tulsa calendar celebrating Oklahoma’s centennial, the latest issues of both BackHome and Backwoods Home, and a couple of sandwiches (egg salad for me, BLT for Ron), which we ate while thumbing through our purchases and inspecting a poster advertising upcoming movies at the Circle Cinema (which will be featured in an upcoming entry).

Steve’s doesn’t offer the deep discounts you find online, but its prices are comparable to the big-box bookstores. Unlike the online stores, Steve’s allows you to look at the entire book — not just a few selected pages — before you buy, and its undying support for Oklahoma authors earns it big points from a journalist and history buff who counts several of those authors among her friends.

Steve’s is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Grades:
Value: B
Service: A
Convenience: B
Specialty: A
Overall: A-

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~ by redforkhippie on February 6, 2007.

3 Responses to “Steve’s Sundry Books and Magazines”

  1. Celebrating Tulsa’s homegrown businesses

    Emily, the Red Fork Hippie Chick, has recently launched a new blog called Indie Tulsa, featuring reports on locally-owned small businesses, some old, some new. In her introductory post, she writes: Through this site, I hope to make the public aware of …

  2. Check out LaDonna’s Fancy Foods @ 1523 East 15th St. for gourmet cheese and chocolate.

  3. Good choice. I have a freezer full of mizithra cheese I bought there. Evidently it’s a slow seller, so she won’t sell small pieces — the rest spoils before it sells — but she stocks a little for the diehards like me who don’t mind buying four pounds at a time if necessary to get our fix. :)

    Seems like I bought some very good Irish cheddar there on the same trip. I’ll have to pop in after payday and stock up so I can do a review.

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