Time for a little update on our mission to follow the MT Bookstore Trail. We’re 10 bookstores in! Just under half-way! We took a fantastic trip through Hamilton for a family event, then camping at the ghost town at Bannack, then West Yellowstone and YNP. We grabbed every bookstore we could get along the way.
These blog posts are not going to be in any particular order, but this was the first store we visited on this trip and after we had decided to try to get to all of them. Also, it’s a great store and was sticking out in my memory.
Outside of my home bookstore here in Billings, Chapter One Book Store in Hamilton has to be my favorite so far. It has such a welcoming vibe with lots of seating to stay a while and read or write. Fun music plays, and they have a huge selection. I could spend hours there every week if I lived in Hamilton.
The store is on Main Street and 3rd, just a minute’s stroll away from where we’d spent some of our Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market. From the front door, I expected a small store but like many wonderful things, it’s bigger on the inside. The front is adult fiction and non-fiction with sections marked by hanging signs in typeset font. There are ample selections on the Outdoors, MT History, Indigenous Voices, Social Justice, and more.
Further in there’s a huge, well-stocked children’s and YA section with more seating and a kid’s playroom offering calming dim lighting, toys, and more seating for a parent to read while they supervise. Just when I thought it was big enough, it kept going. Another section further back is devoted to used titles.
In addition to books, they sell bookmarks, stickers, branded T-shirts, book lights, journals, book bags, and a good amount of puzzles and games. We bought some Mad Libs for our car rides which were a big hit later on in the trip. My son also found a graphic novel to love within two minutes.
Chapter One was established in 1974 and if you visit their website, you’ll find that they host a number of book clubs and author events. They also donate to local non-profit groups and offer educator discounts. If you’re in the Bitterroot Valley and you haven’t checked them out, I recommend it. If you’re not, you can order from them online or support them by buying audiobooks from their Libro.fm channel. Also, check out their new Hot Off the Press Books and Brews Subscription. It’s a partnership with Big Creek Coffee Roasters, another local business with stores in Hamilton and Missoula.