The biggest collection of used cookbooks in Las Vegas is about to disappear. Amber Unicorn Books closes after December 27 after 39 years of peddling used books. And while the vast inventory spans $1 fiction novels to leather bound Easton Press and Franklin Library books, the real treasure here is the estimated 26,000 cookbooks on hand.
Owner Myra Donato saw her foot traffic die down after Trader Joe’s left the westside strip mall that houses the bookstore close in 2016. Her husband Lou, who helped her run the bookstore, died in 2017. With the coronavirus pandemic diminishing the number of customers visiting, Donato decided to close the business.
The bookstore is offering its books at 75 percent off through Christmas, and Donato even opened her cookbook annex to the public for the first time. “Our inventory is sill immense, as is customer demand. This extension will also our customers a few more weeks to shop for Christmas gifts,” the bookstore wrote on Facebook. “This is a bittersweet period for us, as we are humbled by your generous support; and at the same time, we are happy that our books are finding good homes.”
Donato says she is willing to sell the inventory for $125,000, “which represents an excellent value for anyone with the life-long dream of owning a bookstore.” That was in November.
“It is very hard for us to say goodbye to the many customers that have become friends for these many years. We will miss each and everyone of you. There are so many wonderful memories to be remembered and treasured. You will be greatly missed.”
In 2012, former editor in chief of Gourmet magazine Ruth Reichl wrote in Saveur that she spent a few weeks in Las Vegas and found herself returning to the unassuming bookstore time and again to escape the Strip. “…she doesn’t want you to just buy her cookbooks,” she wrote of Donato. “She wants you to treasure them. She wants you to discuss them with her. She wants to tell you about the people who buy them and the meals that they make from them.”