6 favorite independent bookstores

Saturday is the fifth annual Independent Bookstore Day, a national event celebrating bookstores and the readers who frequent them.

I’m looking forward to spending Independent Bookstore Day at Tulsa’s Magic City Books, a nonprofit indie I’ve dreamed of visiting since they first opened. I can’t wait to meet Oklahoma readers there for the first time. (The event is free and open to all; more details here.)

I love visiting independent bookstores: I visit my own regularly, and pop into the local stores when we’re on the road. Book tour was a dream, because I got to visit so many in such a short span of time. I’ve been to dozens, and am always excited to discover new ones.

In honor of Independent Bookstore Day, I’m sharing six of my favorite indies. Because choosing bookish superlatives is torture, I tried not to overthink it, and chose favorites I’ve visited recently that I haven’t featured before on the blog:

1. Square Books, Oxford, Mississippi

When work took me to Memphis in February, I couldn’t resist dipping down into Mississippi to visit the famed Square Books (and Off Square Books, and Square Jr). With bright light, friendly booksellers, and am ample selection, I finally got to see what the fuss is about.

Special shout-out to the staff at Square Jr, who rallied to the challenging task I presented them. After thorough deliberation, they sent me home with four carefully-chosen books to satisfy my four very different young readers.

2. Typewronger Books, Edinburgh, Scotland

This is the only bookstore not in the United States, but good gracious, if you’re ever in Edinburgh, don’t miss it! The owner himself is a delight—he’s worked in famed bookstores all over Europe, greets each customer with a cheery hello and offer of a cup of tea, curates a wonderful selection, and has a vintage typewriter that tweets.

3. The Mysterious Bookshop, New York City

I’ve written about some of my favorite Manhattan bookstores before, but New York has so many, I’m constantly adding new ones to the list. This downtown bookshop focuses on—you guessed it—mysteries, has a knowledgeable staff eager to press the perfect book into your hands, and boasts bookshelves that go all the way up.

4. Rakestraw Books, Danville, California

This Oakland-area bookstore is such a delight. My photo, taken after dark, doesn’t do it justice: it’s light and bright, with a cheery atmosphere and incredible staff picks selection. I’m always grateful for a bookseller who can nail my taste; and owner Michael sent me home with several books I thoroughly enjoyed.

Downtown Danville is charming. Make sure to take a walk through the streets (and maybe stop in for a happy hour special at one of the enticing sidewalk cafés) after you find your next great read.

5. Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Texas

I always love it when a bookstore finds great success in breaking the rules. When Valerie Koehler opened Blue Willow more than twenty years ago, they told her it was insanity to combine grown-up and children’s literature, half and half, in the same shop. They’ve been killing it ever since.

This store’s atmosphere is incredible, it’s run almost entirely by women, and these women are crazy about books.

6. The Story Shop, Monroe, Georgia

Every inch of this children’s bookshop is pure delight—and not just for kids. Storytime (and author signings) are held through the doors of the wardrobe. Follow the yellow brick road to the bathroom. Kids can help themselves to a candy bookworm on the counter. And don’t miss your opportunity to have your own Belle moment on the library ladder.

Readers, I could go on all day, but I’m stopping myself at six. Now it’s your turn—tell me about YOUR favorite indies in comments? And if you have hot plans for Independent Bookstore Day, you know we want to hear all about them.


Leave A Comment
  1. Mo says:

    Magers and Quinn in Minneapolis is high at the top of my list. Along with Book Bug and This is a Bookstore in Kalamazoo, MI.

    • Deb Kelner says:

      Yes! To Parnassus: The staff is so incredibly knowledgeable. The selection is phenomenal. The “vibe” is so Welcoming (yes, the capital W was necessary). I’ve only visited Tennessee twice for short weekend trips and Parnassus was part of both trips. Bonus: for those of us with serious book addiction issues- they ship (and it’s about the same cost as the state sales tax that you’re not paying…)

  2. Rebecca says:

    We have lived in the UK for 20 years and when we moved here all those years ago, there was a bookstore in a local town that we frequented. The gentleman who worked in the children’s area recommended books for all of my children whenever we visited and I heard him do the same with many other regular customers. I had never been to a bookstore that did that. It was a first for me as he selected books many times that were way out of what I was accustomed to. That bookstore was sold to a chain and it makes me sad as it brings back so many memories of great reads for my kids (and of course I read them as well!) so not exactly a bookstore favorite but I’m pretty sure you get it.

  3. Deborah G Ball says:

    Cant not mention Parnasus in the Green hills area of Nashville!Owned in part by author Ann Patchett. Such a great store….How about a MMD independent bookstore trip or scaled down tour of some great book area? I would definitely pay to have you lead us in NYC!

  4. Sara says:

    These all look lovely and a bucket list trip for me would be to tour bookshops all over. But Powells Bookstore right here in Portland OR, and all its sundry offshoots around town, will always have my heart. The Hawthorne one is fun and labyrinth like. The Tech one is fascinating in a museum and history way to me. The airport one actually has cheap good books to read on flights. But the main one with its colorful rooms, themes, amazing staff and write ups, and coffee shop—ahhhh I love Powells!!

    • Deb Kelner says:

      I think you’d be kicked out of the Reader’s Club if you didn’t love Powells! I make frequent trips to Portland and have to actively remind myself that there’s more to Portland than Powell’s Books!

      • Christie Kline says:

        Don’t forget that they shelve new and used books together! You can take your 50 pounds of books in and trade them in for credit and walk out with different new or used books!

        And next to the Hawthorne store is Powell’s books for cooks.

    • Kat says:

      Definitely Powell’s … I do road trips up from California to the Pacific Northwest and Powell’s on Burnside is always a day long stop / treat. I especially love being able to bring my pile of books into the cafe and winnow them down while drinking coffee. And then going back into the store portion and repeating the process.

    • Karen in AZ says:

      We always take time to get lost in Powell’s when we’re up visiting family in Oregon. And we’ve bitten at the airport store! We’ve mainly been to the original (such a lovely experience!) and the one out in Beaverton.

    • Katherine says:

      Yes! Love this store and the staff’s recommendations- as well as the cozy downstairs cafe for reading a book!

    • Lyndsey says:

      I’m from Indiana, and visit St. Louis at least once a year for our boys to see a specialist at the children’s hospital. I LOVE Left Bank Books and make sure we visit every time!

  5. Julie says:

    Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA. It’s adorable, the kids’ section is excellent, and the staff are super knowledgeable.

    Also Cricket Bookshop in Ashton MD. Also adorable, and well edited selection.

  6. Oh so many! Birchbark Books owned by author Louse Erdrich in Minneapolis; Common Good and Red Balloon in St Paul; Content in Northfield, MN; Arcadia in Spring Green, WI. the bookstore at Chautauqua Institution in NY, Drury Lane in Grand Marais, MN. Give me a minute, I’ll come up with more! SO grateful for the excellent independent bookstores across the country.

  7. Cynthia says:

    I wish I had a an independent bookstore in my town – but I’m so happy to see all these mentioned all over the US – and Edinburgh – I plan to go there – so now I have a list of so many to go to when I’m traveling!! Thanks for sharing!

      • Nanne Cutler says:

        Sundog Books has been one of my favorite bookshops for years! For anyone who is planning on visiting Panama City Beach/the 30-A area/Destin in the panhandle of Florida, this is a a must! Also, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore in Rosemary Beach (a few miles down Hwy 30-A from Sundog Books). Smaller than Sundog but just as charming.

    • Jenni says:

      Gene’s Books in Sanibel. We discovered it last year. Books as far as the eye can see, and I’m not exaggerating! Our mouths were on the floor.

  8. Leah Finn says:

    MJudsons in downtown Greenville is my favorite! The store is in a lovely old building, and includes a delightful cafe.

  9. Kristin says:

    Secret Garden in Seattle focuses on children’s books and is amazing; Elliot Bay Books is quintessentially Seattle; Powell’s in Portland keeps genres in color-coded rooms and is expansive with both new and used!

    • Elise says:

      I love Secret Garden too- every time I’m in Ballard (north Seattle) I have to find an excuse to stop by and get a book for a kid in my life. They also have a smallish but well-curated selection of books for adults as well.

  10. Martha Johnson says:

    Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire – it faced down a big box bookstore in our town and won! Has since moved into a much larger space and has a terrific coffee shop inside. Being New Hampshire, one will usually see a presidential hopeful chatting up anyone who will listen. Definitely worth a stop.

  11. Lillian Harris says:

    Malaprop’s Bookstore – Asheville, NC
    Dickson St. Bookshop – Fayetteville, Arkansas – this is a huge maze and it’s awesome!
    Powell’s City of Books – Portland, Oregan – A must see!
    Strand Bookstore – NYC – one of THE best bookstores. You can find so many (used) titles here. Incredible variety and lovely little notes sprinkled everywhere to help you choose!

  12. Louise says:

    Mr. B’s Emporium in Bath Spa.
    Toppings in Bath Spa and Ely.
    ALL the bookstores on Charing Cross Road, London. (Is that cheating? Sorry!)

  13. Melanie Beisert says:

    You already listed one of my favorites, Blue Willow Bookshop in Houston, TX. It is such a charming, cheery, and vibrant place. The staff is friendly, helpful, and complete lovers of books. They regularly bring authors to our school and other schools in Katy and Houston. They give and give and give enthusiastically. If you are ever in the Houston area, it is a MUST stop to shop. My other favorite is Katy Budget Books. This book store is packed with books both new and used. It is THE go to place for teens in picking up books for school reading. They constantly give back to the community in so many ways. Every month teachers have the opportunity to use a $20 book credit at their store, and they bring authors to Katy campuses as well. In Katy? Make it a stop!

  14. Ashley says:

    McLean & Eakin in Petoskey, MI and Hooray for Books in Alexandria, VA are my top two. But I also really love Old Town Books, Politics & Prose, and One More Page Books.

  15. ANN PERRIGO says:

    One of my best friends used to work at The Mysterious Bookshop—lucky stiff!
    Our current fave is Book Beat in Oak Park, Michigan. A quirky selection that reflects the owners’ taste. Check out its Facebook page! There’s a wonderful video of shoppers showing what’s in their bags. Fun!

  16. Liza says:

    Yay for Blue Willow! They’re the closest indie to me – it takes me 45 minutes to get there but it’s worth the drive every time!

    My dream is to have my own bookstore. I do t have the resources to open one, but it’s want I want.

  17. Jessica says:

    A cute one in Evanston, IL is Bookends & Beginnings! It’s located down an alleyway with a quaint, slightly hidden doorway. You really feel transported, especially browsing their excellent selection! So fun.

  18. Jan says:

    Sundog Books in Seaside, FL
    The Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA, which I haven’t visited (yet) but follow their podcast and support them with a book subscription. I get the newsletters and they do so many fun things!

    • Deb Kelner says:

      Phew! I’ve been scrolling through the comments to see if anyone had mentioned the Tattered Cover! I love this store- it’s in a great part of downtown across from the beautifully refurbished train station (and there’s another outpost at the airport!), the staff picks are well chosen and expose me to new authors and it’s a friendly, comfortable place to browse (with a coffee shop)!

      • Heather says:

        Another vote for Tattered Cover! It was one of the first places I sought out when I moved to Denver nearly 20 years ago. But I have to add BookBar to this list too, which I frequent even more these days…both because it’s my neighborhood bookstore and because it’s a wine bar!

    • Emmy says:

      I spent many lunch hours at the 16th street Tattered Cover when I had my first internship in downtown Denver! I loved all the nooks and the giant stair. I felt welcome to read a few pages or a whole chapter before buying a book.

  19. If you ever find yourself in Minneapolis (and I really hope you do) you have to check out Wild Rumpus. It’s the most amazing kids bookstore I’ve ever been to. It’s hard to describe, you have to see it for yourself, but one feature I can describe is that it looks like the ceiling is cracking open and behind the cracks, they painted the sky. They have tons of animals in the store, like lizard, chinchillas, and birds (all in cages) and then there are a couple of cats and chickens that walk around the store. It’s amazing. Plus there is a locally-owned ice cream shop about a block away. I used to take my nephews on “aunt dates” there. They’d pick out a book, we’d get ice cream and then we’d walk down to a neighboring lake. It’s a delightful area of Minneapolis.

  20. TERRY says:

    Try Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island. SC. They really know books. And they have a great selection of books on local history. And it’s a lovely store.

  21. Courtney says:

    For living in and near one of the 10 largest cities in the US for almost two decades now, I continue to be disappointed in San Antonio’s indie book shops. I’d love to see some recommendations for the area. That being said Books To Share in Kerrville is the best used book store I have ever been to. It was started as the owners overflow collection, which I love so much, offers great deals when you trade in your own used books, and is crammed ceiling to floor with mostly paperbacks an has an EXTENSIVE mystery section (my personal genre of choice). Be warned if you stop in, it’s cash or check only. 🙂

    • Alba says:

      Hi Courtney,
      I’m also in the area and have struggled to find indie bookstores, as most seem to be chain stores. The one place I’ve found is called The Twig Book Shop at Pearl Brewery near the downtown area. They always have events taking place like author visits and kids’ story time. I hope you enjoy your visit there 🙂

  22. Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Arizona–wonderful author talks, great staff, fun location
    Vroman’s in Pasadena, California–two floors of treasures, love this place

    Thanks for the state-by-state post last week of all the wonderful independent bookstores. I am saving it! (Bucket List!)

    • Carolyn says:

      Annie Blooms Books, Portland, OR. Fabulous, friendly staff! Smaller than Powell’s by far, but lots of selections, warm atmosphere and wonderful section for kids. Great coffee shops nearby to enjoying your purchase afterwards.

  23. Rachel White says:

    I live in Washington & I didn’t even know about Browsers until I read about it in your book! Now it’s one of my favorites in the area!

  24. Kimberly says:

    The Book Stall in Winnetka, Illinois is as charming as any bookstore aspires to be, brimming with a warm, insightful, affable staff, conveniently perched adjacent to a coffee shop.

  25. Sally Ross says:

    On a busy street in a little strip mall in Sacramento California sits Crawford’s Books. Its a tiny little shop crammed full of used and new books. The owner has a trade in system and keeps an old fashioned card file for each of her customers. I recently turned in several of my Granddaughters books and now she has credit on her book account, which she can’t wait to spend. There’s an old fashioned hardware store next door that’s also fun to browse through.

  26. Lindsay says:

    I am a big fan of Women & Children First in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, as well as The Dial located on Michigan Ave in downtown Chicago. There are so many incredible independent bookstores in Chicago!

  27. Lexi Leopold says:

    Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff, Arizona. A darling bookstore right downtown. Make sure to stop in on your way to the Grand Canyon. Tons of contemporary fiction, classics, local and youth. Plus unique cards and bookish gifts.

  28. Colleen says:

    The Sleuth of Baker Street, Toronto, Ontario! Full confession…I have never been there but subscribe to their newsletter and love it!!
    The bookstore in my town is wonderful Huckleberry Books in Cranbrook, B.C Canada

  29. Elise says:

    My favorite local bookstore is Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, WA. They have a really big selection of new and used books, plus some fun extras. They also host lots of author events. The bookstore opens out onto a space called Third Place Commons, where there are several restaurants, and a venue for live music, game nights, crafting, and other social gatherings. As a whole, it’s a great place for community and stories, and it’s always full of life.

  30. Laura F. says:

    Typewronger Books is amazing! We were lucky enough to stay just up the street last summer. We left the bookstore with several titles and a couple fun extras-an origami shark and an origami dragon made from book pages-our gifts with purchase.

    Magners and Quinn Booksellers is a favorite of mine in Minneapolis. They have a rich variety of texts, both new and used, and an atmosphere that just invites the shopper to stick around and check out all the treasures.

  31. Mary Lynn says:

    The Learned Owl in Hudson, Ohio- a quaint store with a wonderful selection in beautiful town in between Akron and Cleveland.

    • Janelle Carlson says:

      You’re so lucky to be nearby Heather! I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Rakestraw last fall and MEET ANNE when she was on her book tour (such a thrill!!💕) as well as some other fabulous Modern Mrs. Darcy fans!
      In addition to being such a lively bookshop, Michael was a lot of fun and the book displays & recs were awesome. I’m always impressed by the number of fantastic author events there too! And could Danville be any more picture perfect?! It was love at first sight.

    • Nanne Cutler says:

      I love The Bookshelf from afar :)! Annie has such a great and personable Instagram account. On my bookstore bucket list.

  32. Jodi Frederick says:

    The Well-Read Moose in Coeur d’Alene Idaho. For Valentine’s Day my daughter Brenna bought me Eight Flavors which was the store’s book club pick for April. So I read it and I went to my first book club. The store is small but well stocked with books that are new releases and old favorites. There’s a little café with coffee, wine and food. The people working there are knowledgeable and like most people I’ve met here beyond nice.

    • Pam K says:

      I love The Well-Read Moose! It just feels like home. The staff is knowledgeable and always willing to search for a pick if they don’t have it on their shelves. Their cozy corner filled with comfy chairs is perfect for our book club meetings and their cafe stocks wine, cheese, and appetizers.

  33. Amanda says:

    Brilliant Books in Traverse City, MI (https://www.brilliant-books.net/)! They have an amazing monthly book service where they pick a book just for you based on your preferences card and a continuing dialogue (if you choose) about what you liked and disliked about previous selections. I live in New Mexico and have never visited but I feel like they are my personal independent bookstore. Wonderful staff!

  34. Kim Southwell says:

    I’m glad to see at least two books mentioned for northern Michigan and I’ll add two – Blue Vase Book Exchange in Interlochen has a great selection, new building, and nice trade-in programs for used books; and Bookbrokers and Kramer’s Cafe in the Traverse City Mall is curated by a man with an amazing memory and knowledge of books new and used and the attached coffee shop is a happy perk.

  35. Jen says:

    Oh my goodness, SO BUMMED I didn’t know about the Edinburgh shop before our trip to that delightful city last year! However, the Danville shop is not too far from home so I will definitely be hitting that up soon! Thanks for this post, Anne! I love reading about and visiting bookshops, they always feel like “home” no matter their location! Hope you’re having a wonderful week! Eagerly anticipating the Summer Reading Guide!! 🙂

  36. Kayla says:

    I had heard raves about Book People in Austin, so I put it at the top of my list when I went last spring. It did not disappoint! I had to practice some major “shelf control”!

  37. Joan Koole says:

    My favourite independent bookstore TYPE BOOKS, perfect for browsing or interacting with other readers or the most knowledgeable staff is located at 883 Queen Street West. Worth a visit to Toronto!!

  38. Anki says:

    Toadstool Bookshop in Milford, Peterborough, and Keene, NH. All three locations are lovely and delightful. I am not sure what other indie bookstores are in the southern NH/northern MA region these days.

  39. Mark Renaud says:

    Thank you for the look into some of your choice bookstores! One of my favourite stores is The Book Lounge in Cape Town. A bonus with this store is that it’s just up the road from where I work – which makes it easy to sneak up quickly during a break!!!

  40. Lori says:

    Top of my list is Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego! They specialize in science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, and horror. The staff must be telepathic because they can always guide you to the book that’s a perfect fit.

  41. Abby Shiner says:

    So, so many favorites! Here are just a few from the East Coast!
    1) Diane’s Books in Greenwich, CT…the place book dreams are made of.
    2) Barrett Bookstore in Darien, CT…quaint, quiet and run by women.
    3) Island Shore Books in Block Island, RI…I mean…it’s a book store on an island…need I say more?
    4) Wicked Good Books in Salem, MA…amazing recommendation section, fantastic local author section, and of course so many books all about witches, the witch trials and other witchy wonders
    5) Morgan Hill Bookstore in New London, NH…delightful owner and another spot that is great about highlighting local authors.

  42. Sonya A Leonard says:

    Malaprop’s – Asheville, NC
    Scuppernog – Greensboro, NC
    Quail Ridge Books – Raleigh, NC
    Book People – Austin, TX

    • Jackie says:

      Tattered Cover in Denver
      Renaissance Books, Milwaukee airport. Spent too much time looking/buying and almost missed a flight
      Second Read Books, St. Augustine,FL – bookstore owner always has a good book recommendation

    • Carla Burkhard says:

      Two more amazing stores-
      The Regulator bookstore in Durham, NC and Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, NC. I also loved Murder by the Book when I lived in Houston.

  43. Jennifer Geisler says:

    Next time you wander into New England, try the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT. My husband knows that whenever we travel to VT, a trip to Northshire is a mandate. Friendly knowledgeable staff, HUGE inventory and lots of discounted used books that are shelved right above the new ones in the appropriate category!

  44. Angela says:

    Skylight Books in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles. There is a tree growing in the middle of it and they program the best author discussions. They don’t have every book I want but they will speedily order things in. And, they’ve got a monthly Signed First Editions book club. Plus, they give a discount for the SisterInsider Bookclub (featured on What Should I Read Next episode 169).

  45. Karen says:

    RJ Julia in Madison, CT. Great staff, book clubs, events calendar and more! Will be there for sure on Independent Bookstore Day!

  46. Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara, California, and BookPeople in Austin, Texas, are two of my favorite independent bookstores. The children’s section in Chaucer’s is so extensive that it could be its own store.

  47. Marie says:

    I live in Houston and recently found Blue Willow–a great shop! Another local store I like is Brazos. Loved going through Powell’s in Portland and another favorite from a vacation was E. Shaver in Savannah. It’s very charming, in an old house with a different category in each room, a tea shop, and three cats.

  48. Nanne Cutler says:

    Anne! We would love for you to visit Viewpoint Books in Columbus, Indiana. Columbus is about an hour from Louisville just off of Hwy 65 on the way to Indianapolis. We will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day this Saturday as well as kicking off the First Annual Hoosier Bookstore Tour.

    Love your blog/podcast and would be thrilled to meet you!!

    Nanne (part-time bookseller, full-time book lover)

  49. SMG says:

    Hands down, The Tattered Cover in Denver. My favorite was the original location in Cherry Creek, where I spent most of my free time and paychecks reading. Ahhh.
    Runners up: Powell’s in Portland. Kramerbooks and Afterwards in DC.
    I have to say, though, that I never met an Indie I didn’t like. On my travels, I always made sure I to visit local indie bookshops and kitchen stores. Before I left Denver to move to Ann Arbor, I contrived a long road-camping-youth hosteling trip (mostly because I wanted to visit Powell’s!) through Wyoming, Idaho, into Washington via Spokane, to Seattle, down the coast into Oregon, several days at Powell’s in Portland, through Salt Lake City… home to Denver. Memories!

  50. Ramona says:

    Love my hometown indie – Island Books on Mercer Island, Washington. The staff is incredible, the selection is fantastic, and the kid’s section is my favorite!

  51. ChrisMG says:

    You should see Munros Books in Victoria, BC Canada (I have to say Canada because no one knows where BC is).
    It’s in a great, elegant old bank with stained glass windows with marble & granite. It’s amazing! They have the most knowledgeable staff too.
    Jim Munro handed over his bookstore to his staff when he retired. What a great man-he was ahead of his time!

  52. Kay Skov says:

    Klindt’s Booksellers in The Dalles, Oregon is a family owned Independent Book & Stationery Store Since 1870. It is the oldest bookstore in Oregon with the original shelves the old, oiled, squeaky wood plank floor.

  53. Melissa says:

    Coffee Tree Books in Morehead, KY. It’s in an old movie theater and is so charming! I love visiting every time I’m in town.

  54. Lori says:

    Baldwin’s Book Barn in West Chester,Pa is naturally, housed in a big,old barn full of books and charm and the literary store cats. There are rare and collectable books,and nearly every book ever written crowding the whole barn. Heaven!

  55. Ellen W says:

    On a recent trip to Charleston, my bookish friend and I stopped in at the Blue Bicycle – neat store with new and used books. And we met Anne when she came to Blue Willow in Houston on her latest book tour.

  56. There is nothing like an independent book store! So happy and grateful, Anne, that you’re using your platform to support them, good on you ❤️ Typewronger sounds AMAZING, it’s definitely on my must-see list next time I’m on that side of the world! For folks in Australia (hello!), I love Gleebooks in Glebe, and Better Read Than Dead in Newtown, right up the road from Elizabeth’s… we’re really spoiled for choice here in Sydney 😍

  57. Laura Brownstein says:

    Oh we will have to check out that bookstore in Danville one weekend soon.
    My favorite local bookstore is Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, CA. My 4 kiddos love it too.

  58. Debra says:

    Has anyone mentioned Tattered Cover in Denver. The main store is gorgeous and chock full of books and books to read. A delight. Also love Underground Books in Carrollton, GA with it’s vast collection and rare finds and Interabang in Dallas, TX for exceptional staff. Very different vibes to each.

  59. Kaye says:

    Have to mention Givens Book Store in Lynchburg, VA. Housed in the same building as Little Dickens Toy Store. These folks know their books and their toys. Perfect for grandmas with out of town grandchildren. They help me choose the right toy, the right book, and then I get to browse for myself! For me it’s an hour away, but always worth it!

  60. Megan says:

    We are going on a month long trip and I would love to visit some bookstores. We will be in central VA, MA, Pittsburgh, northern VA, Nashville, and Asheville. Any suggestions of bookstores not to miss!

  61. Catie Winegar says:

    Blue Willow all the way! I’m thrilled to live around the corner from it and love the store, the amazing employees, the girlboss, Valerie, and the many events they host or support each year. I first became acquainted with them when I taught high school down the street, and Valerie would come and give book talks to our faculty book club for summer reading. I wanted to read every novel she pitched! Now I go in and browse and catch up with all of the employees, whose children I all taught in AP English at said high school! It is a true local gem.
    I also love Burton’s bookshop in Greenport, New York, because of its affable and book-loving owner, Book People in Austin for its sheer size, and Brazos Bookshop, another Houston favorite that is impeccably curated and a cozy, welcoming bookshop who also does a phenomenal job bringing in all sorts of writers and other guests.

  62. Sue says:

    I love the idea of traveling with bookstores as a destination!! It took about 150 comments to get any recommendations in New England, but I have to say, in eastern Maine, all I can think of is Sherman’s Books, the oldest bookstore in Maine, but now a chain of 6, and pretty impersonal. I’m a used bookstore gal, myself, and almost all of those have closed! Only one left, a gem, The Big Chicken Barn in Ellsworth, Maine, which was just that, a chicken barn. It’s gigantic, open year round, rustic, and FULL of used books.

  63. Rhya says:

    I went to school at Ole Miss. Square Books is absolutely one of the best places to study and find a great read. Glad you got to find this hidden gem in Mississippi.

  64. Gayla Mazzuca says:

    What a wonderful post and all these comments on Independent bookstores. I’m taking notes, writing them down and I’m going to make it my mission to visit some of these bookstores. I’m starting this Saturday at Magic City Books in Tulsa to see Anne. I’m so excited, I can’t wait.

  65. Linda Teach says:

    The Book Loft in German Village Columbus, Ohio. 32 rooms of books separated by subject/genre. It’s a really quirky experience and I love spending an afternoon there!!

  66. Deborah Hubbert says:

    Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena California! Three stories and full of wonderful stuff! Including amazing book themed gifts. I could — and have – spent hours there! I’ve seen Diana Gabaldon there three times (when she reads her own stuff – wow!) and ran into her in the bathroom! Love this store! 📗📘

  67. L.M. Jones says:

    Sorry to see that no one had mentioned Novel in Memphis, TN. Locals rallied to save the independent store that was closing and so far it seems they are succeeding! I love it!!

  68. Julie says:

    Ann Arbor, MI is home to a number of wonderful independent bookstores. But our treasured Literati was named PW 2019 Bookstore of the Year. Come visit, you won’t be disappointed!

  69. Melissa McCaffrey says:

    My local store is only a year old – The Silver Unicorn in Acton, MA. Great, curated selection, tons of local author events, a really wonderful addition to the community.
    My other East Coast faves:
    The Book Barn, Niantic, CT. Exactly what it’s sounds like.
    Print Bookshop and Longfellow Books, both in Portland, Maine
    The Harvard Bookstore and Raven Used Books, both in Cambridge, MA

  70. Sandy says:

    Dragonfly Books, Decorah, IA. It is a drive from my home, but when I order a book, it is from them. A lovely little shop with lots of author talks and events.

  71. Olivia says:

    McNally Robinson in Winnipeg is my hometown bookstore, and I’m truly fortunate. Bookmark in Halifax, NS, and the Brick Lane Bookshop in London make me wish they were my hometown bookstores too!

  72. Shauna says:

    We are regulars at Changing Hands bookstore in Phoenix. They have a coffee and beer/wine bar and creative use of a fireplace to accompany their excellent book collection.

    El Pendulo in Mexico City has a pretty good English section. Interesting fact: all of the books are wrapped in plastic. I thought that was weird until I made my way up to the fourth floor and discovered that they serve chilaquiles. So you have to buy the book first, and then you can read it while eating fabulous food: sign me up!

    Finally, no visit to Paris is complete without a visit to Shakespeare and Co.!

    • Jennifer says:

      Changing Hands Phoenix with its Draft Bar is fun (and I don’t even drink), but the Tempe location holds my heart. They’ve been my favorite since they were first in downtown Tempe. Wonderful books, great gifts and local art, amazing author events, and a phenomenal staff. The used books are mixed with the new, so you can find all kinds of books at great prices. (This can be said for both locations, but Tempe is my hometown.) Once you’re in the Valley of the Sun, you also have to visit Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, especially if you love a good mystery. If you’re planning a trip, they’ll curate you a set of mysteries to go with your journey. I’ve found a number of my favorite mystery series from the books they’ve gathered for me.

      • Karen in AZ says:

        I love going into Changing Hands in Tempe. They don’t have their own drinks and eats because the wall is open to the Wildflower Bread Company!
        Plus there’s Bookman’s. All used books. I know there’s one in Mesa not too far off the 60 (which is how Arizonians refer to the freeways). There’s also one up in Flagstaff that we hit when we’re up there.

  73. Nancy Buterbaugh says:

    The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio. 32 Rooms and one whole city block of books in a charming converted Victorian Mansion!

  74. Kay says:

    I can’t read through all of the comments to see if these are mentioned but: Powell’s in Portland, OR, The Tattered Cover in Denver, CO, Longfellow’s in Portland, ME>

  75. Emmy says:

    The bookstore in my town has been closed for 2 years because of a fire. They opened their doors and invited people in as they finally put books on shelves again for Independent Bookstore Day. I’m so excited to see what The Dusty Bookshelf in Manhattan, KS is like as it comes back to life.

  76. Karen in AZ says:

    True Story:
    We were in Ireland with our (then) teenagers. We cut them loose in Dublin. They split up and wandered.
    Amazingly, several hours later we all met up – in a bookstore on the main drag. We laughed because you can always find an Allen in a bookstore!

  77. Mary says:

    We were in Edinburgh in April visiting our oldest who is studying abroad there this semester. I told my family that I had to go to Typewronger Books. It was a 15 minute walk and our kids didn’t want to come, but my husband and I went. I love books and old typewriters too! It was a delight. The owner is wonderful. We got an origami dragon with my purchase! My 15 year old carefully protected it in a Dramamine box until we arrived back home.

  78. Glen says:

    Lots of bookstores back east, but the west coast has some good ones, too. Powellss in Portland Or , is so big, the brain almost goes into shock and can’t function. I do recover, but I spend a lot of time trying to remember what I was looking for while getting diverted by what I find. My latest favorite store, tho, is hHarbor books on Bainbridge, which has a very interesting collection of new books. (The last time I went in for one I had seen a woman reading while ostensibly eating lunch….she was entirely engrossed) So I went looking for that book, and walked out with seven! It’s an amazing store with great selection. Secret Garden also forces me to pick and choose. I can’t buy them all!

  79. Rod Williams says:

    Delighted to see our favorite local independent bookstore among your picks—Rakestraw Books in Danville CA is a treasure, and owner Michael Barnard always welcomes us with beautiful displays and terrific recommendations. We’re so lucky to have him nearby!

  80. Kim in Minnesota says:

    Scout & Morgan in Cambridge, Minnesota, is my favorite. A fireplace, friendly and knowledgeable staff, great readings and events and willingness to find anything they might not have in stock. I’m impressed that they collaborate often with our local library on things like our community-wide read each year! And for something much larger (obv.!) Powell’s in Portland is always fun – our Oregon son knows us well and sent a Powell’s gift certificate for Christmas, to be redeemed on our next visit. (Yay! Planning to travel again someday.)

  81. Marcia says:

    Prairie Lights book store in Iowa City, Iowa is well known for their live author talks. The town is also known for the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa so we hear them read and talk about their new books at Prairie Lights.

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