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Broken Shelves

It can be said that Broken Shelves fills the hole Downtown where a used bookstore should be. The bookstore/bar opened shop on April 5, 2013, with owner, 26-year-old David Astor, at the helm. Astor, originally from New York, moved to Gainesville after studying for his master’s degree in London. With lifetime aspirations of opening a bookstore, Astor finally made the dream reality with Broken Shelves.

With its cozy lounge areas composed of a multitude of coffee tables, chairs and couches, on a backdrop bookshelves and wood counter overlooking a large window for writers and thinkers alike, Broken Shelves brings a new definition to the term “bookstore” in Gainesville.

What makes it unique?

“It was the idea of creating a social space that could sort of have all the same feelings and routine of going out,” Astor said. “Drinking, socializing, hanging out, spending some time in a place, but with a different feel. A place where people could actually talk, maybe learn some things, interact in a way that I don’t feel Gainesville necessarily had that sort of in-between space.”

And the bar?

“We went for it because who doesn’t like drinking and books? And people have passionate conversations about books and people have passionate conversations while drinking. Can you imagine the level of conversation we will have?”

What about the social aspect?

“We are going to have a special time where it’s people working parallel,” he said. “So it’s simultaneously. It’s people painting and knitting and writing and sculpting. That’s really the goal.”

The Basics:

The wooden counter at Broken Shelves

Books on the shelf: 1,300 to 1,500 (5,000 in stock)

Types of books offered:


“We want to be really selective about what we shelve,” Astor said. “We want to have all the books be interesting, good quality books.”