I just ordered Edible Schoolyard by Alice Waters from the Penn Book Center (not the bookstore, but the Indie bookstore on 34th and Sansom). I'm getting really excited about building a garden at West Philly High School this summer, so I am buying books on all the ways to prepare every vegetable under the sun and I figured I would buy Alice Water's book since she was the first person who got me thinking about gardens as food sources and community builders at public schools.
Thinking about buying locally, (not from the Penn Bookstore which is owned by Barnes & Noble), Sansom Street between 34th and 36th streets is a great local shopping enclave that is dissapearing as we speak. The Saturn Club will close its cafe in about a week and focus on Salon space. Bucks County Coffee closed its doors on this block about a year ago (and the other stores were bought by Saxby's), The Black Cat gift shop is closing its doors and has been selling off all their stock since Christmas and the White Dog Cafe has been bought out by the folks who run Moshulu.
On the upside, AVRIL 50 is still going strong after 25 years and has every magazine you love but is hard to find at the big box stores or CVSes (Bust, Ready Made, European magazines, every subject you can think of) and espresso drinks, teas and gourmet import chocolates. It really is a place you need to see to believe. Decorated with covers of Interview magazines from the early 90's, he also carries notecards, International newspapers, wrapping paper, black and white postcards, calenders and planners. Located at 3406 Sansom Street.