8 independent bookstores I want to visit

A few indie bookstores that are high on my Must Visit list, in honor of Independent Bookstore Day

Independent Bookstore Day is this weekend! This special day, which was first marked in 2015, is a time to appreciate, support, and celebrate independent bookstores. I’m a big fan of indies: I have been known to drive many miles out of my way to visit a new-to-me or favorite shop, I’ve planned whole trips around indies I’ve longed to visit, I’m in my local shop a near-embarrassing number of times per week. (With two grown readers and four kids, we always need SOMETHING.)

If you can’t visit an indie bookstore in person this weekend, there are still plenty of ways to show them some love from afar. If you don’t have a local indie, you’ll find plenty to support in the comments of this post about YOUR favorite independent bookshops. Plus Libro.fm is celebrating Independent Bookstore Day with a $5 or less sale.

Something I especially love about indies is that each has its own personality. I haven’t yet visited these bookstores—they’re stores I want to visit—so I can’t speak to the experience myself (YET), but I look forward to acquiring firsthand experience! In the meantime, please tell us about your visits to these bookstores, the bookstores you are longing to visit, and your favorite indies in comments.

Indie bookstores on my must-visit list

The Lit. Bar, NYC

It’s been several years since my bookstore tour of NYC. Since that time even more bookstores have opened—and sadly, closed—including the Lit. Bar, the Bronx’s only brick and mortar bookstore. This gorgeous bookstore and wine bar actually opened on Independent Bookstore Day in 2019!

The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

This small but stunning bookstore was designed for browsability: every title in the shop faces out. The Oxford Exchange holds something for everyone: in addition to the bookstore, they have a restaurant, gift store, co-working space, design studio, and event venue.

The Bookshop, East Nashville, TN

My friends tell me this is a small but well-curated shop: every title is hand-picked by the owner. The attractive displays and ample natural light in their photos make me especially eager to visit.

Downbound Books, Cincinnati, OH

We’re often in Cincinnati to visit family—so I can’t believe I haven’t been to Downbound yet! The shop opened in late 2019, not long before the pandemic shutdowns. They pride themselves on carrying both bestsellers and under-the-radar titles you won’t find at major retailers.

Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Another Cincinnati bookstore I’ve been meaning to visit for ages. This store is widely beloved for its friendly booksellers, terrific selection, and frequent events.

The Book Loft of German Village, Columbus, OH

If I had a dollar for every time a reader told me I must visit The Book Loft, I could pay for us all to visit together! This indie is one of the nation’s largest, and was featured prominently in Kerry Winfrey’s debut Waiting for Tom Hanks.

Fabled Bookshop, Waco, TX

I’ve been tracking Fabled’s journey since YEARS before it opened its doors, and am still itching to visit in person! (I was looking forward to visiting for my Don’t Overthink It book tour in 2020—but then Covid happened.) This bookshop/cafe combo features a whimsical vibe, carefully curated assortment of books, 6-foot wooden owl, and a lamppost straight out of Narnia.

Commonplace Books, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma friends rave about this beautiful store, which boasts a “carefully curated and meticulously chosen” that they hope offers something for every reader. I confess their instagram account is a major reason I want to visit myself.

What bookstores are on your To Visit list? Do you plan to visit an indie bookstore this weekend? Tell us all about it in the comments section!

P.S. 6 of my favorite independent bookstores and 7 favorite independent bookstores that are doing great things, including Bookmarks NC, where I took the photo at the top of this post on a recent and most delightful visit.


Leave A Comment
  1. Teresa says:

    Malaprops in Asheville, NC Warning: Plan on staying for more time than you intend. It is very easy to get lost in exploring its “valuable treasures”.

  2. Lee says:

    Another great one in OKC is Full Circle Bookshop. I buy way too many books every time I go to Oklahoma. And then there’s the Tattered Cover in Denver, soon opening another shop in Colorado Springs.

  3. Elizabeth Super says:

    Birchbark Books, owned by the author Louise Erdrich in Minneapolis, is one of a kind! For those who have read “The Sentence”, she incorporates her store and herself into the narrative, along with the difficulties of keeping it open during Covid. And, yes, there is a confessional in the store.

  4. Jodi Ann Frederick says:

    When I read that Saturday was Indie Book Day, I decided that’s how I would spend part of my birthday. Here in Coeur d’Alene I love to visit Bookishly Happy, which is a second-hand bookshop and The Well-Read Moose, which sells new books. I’ll be visiting both of them.

  5. Stacie Buckley says:

    Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA! And if you make the trek, may as well also check out Brave & Kind Books and Charis. I would be happy to make introductions for you at all three!

    • Georgia says:

      I second Lemuria. It’s the most beautiful bookstore, with wooden ladders, a plush emerald green seating area, and an extensive Southern book section where I always find new-to-me titles. I cannot over express how wonderful it is.

      • Mary says:

        Are you by any chance a bassoon teacher, Ruth? If so, fancy seeing you here! I am the Mom of the shaggy ex-bassoon player who now goes to Albion.

        Regardless of which Ruth you are, I’ve never heard of Books & Mortar and must check it out now. 🙂

    • Susan B says:

      Love that little place! Always something interesting! My sister in law likes to order books from Books and Mortar, but has the staff surprise her with something – usually something new, along with a classic.

      • Rlynne perry says:

        That’s such a great idea 🙂 I used to subscribe to Strand books to get “surprise books” in the mail, but getting one from my local bookstore (Bookends, in Kailua, Hi) sounds much more fun!

  6. Mary Jo Durivage says:

    A wonderful bookstore in Petoskey MI is the MCLEAN & EAKIN store. I was there several years ago when Books on the Nightstand hosts Michael and Ann held a weekend event at the bookstore. So wonderful. Two authors I remember from that weekend were Maria Doria Russell and Melanie Benjamin. A bookstore I have not been to but order from a lot is LITERATI in Ann Arbor. My daughter loves it there. Lastly, I was in Colorado at Estes Park years ago and took a van into Denver just so I could visit THE TATTERED COVER BOOK STORE. So fun.

  7. Amy W says:

    No love for the west coast? Powell’s in Portland and Green Apple in SF are my favorites. And there’s my local, Bookshop Santa Cruz.

    • Dee Dee says:

      A second on Powell’s! It’s a whole thing.

      In Hanapepe on Kauai is The Talk Story Bookstore. It felt like Powell’s little sibling.

      • Mary Sue says:

        Talk Story is an amazing little bookstore! It’s always our second stop on Kauai (after groceries!). Sadly, their mascot Celeste the Cat Boss passed away earlier this year. She was always an extra treat when we visited. 😢

    • Annie Nakasato says:

      Powell’s is called “city of books” for a reason. One could (and should) get lost in there for hours at a time. One of my favorites!

      • Kim K. says:

        Another fan! Whenever we visit our kids and grandkids in Vancouver, we usually make a family trip to Powell’s. So fun to divide and conquer, because the place is huge. Everyone grabs a partner and heads off to explore, and we meet back up at scheduled times to check out treasures we’ve all gathered. I’ve picked up some of my favorite MMD/WSIRN books on these “field trips” to Powell’s!

      • Christy Woolum says:

        Powell’s is the most amazing place. New and used books. Genres are in rooms by color. Give yourself a day to enjoy it.

  8. Heather says:

    Downbound Books and Joseph Beth in Cincinnati are both gems! I live not far from Downbound and have been happy to see it survive (and thrive!) even though it launched right before the pandemic hit.

    • Angela Fanella says:

      The Bookstore of Glen Ellyn is outside of Chicago, on the train line, on Main Street, from a scene straight out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It truly is our neighborhood bookstore, and it is the perfect place to start any visit to our historic downtown. From there, we can direct you to delicious restaurants and our award-winning culinary store!

      • Peggy says:

        I love books, historic towns and “It’s a Wonderful Life”; now I’m going to stop there when I travel from Wisconsin to Indiana to visit my mom in a couple of weeks.

  9. Becky Lloyd says:

    Right before Covid hit, I had a trip planned to Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN, Ann Patchett’s independent book store. I still hope to visit one day. For now, I follow the bookstore online and order all my physical books from Parnassus.

  10. Lisa Townes says:

    When your travels bring you to Eastern Kentucky, you should visit Read Spotted Newt. The store is small, but a blessing for our small town.

    • Julia says:

      YES! Skylark is Amazing! The have SO many books and so well curated! Plus their online ordering and subscription services are excellent! When they ship books they arrive as “brown paper packages tied up in strings” Seriously “a few of my favorite things” 🎶 I was just there last weekend during Unbound Book Festival…also amazing!!!!

      • Anne Bogel says:

        Ohhh this hurts to read because in 2019 I ALMOST made my family drive an hour out of the way to visit Skylark … and didn’t. (Thankfully we did see some amazing bookstores on that trip—but not Skylark.)

  11. Annette weeden gray says:

    It’s a bookstore! In Kalamazoo MI! It’s beautiful, cozy, and has a cafe to sit and read your books! ❤️❤️

  12. The Minneapolis/St Paul area has several great bookstores: Birchbark Books owned by Louise Erdrich in Minneapolis and Next Chapter in St Paul are two. I also love Content in Northfield, MN. Two great colleges are located in Northfield—St Olaf and Carleton. A special field trip is to Spring Green, WI to visit its outstanding store, Arcadia Books. I celebrate Independent Bookstore Day all year!

    • Michelle says:

      Yes! I just posted about Content too! Although I’m in San Diego, my daughter attends St Olaf and I absolutely LOVE Content!! It’s a must when we go to visit her.

      • Laura says:

        Great stores, all of them. Can I add Eat My Words Used Books in northeast Minneapolis? Warm and cozy space, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and the most thoughtfully curated collection of books that I have ever come across…

    • Jennifer says:

      Also the Red Balloon in St Paul a lovely children’s bookstore. Also the Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis for kids too

  13. Annie says:

    Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, frequented by Flannery O’Connor and Wallace Stegner during their time at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Another one on my bucket list is Louise Erdrich’s bookshop, Birchbark Books in Minnesota!

  14. Julie Zeller says:

    My birthday was Monday, so I took the day off and did my favorite thing- book shopping. I went to Unabridged Books and Open Books, both in Chicago. On Saturday will go to The Book Table in Oak Park, IL, both to pick up a book for a gift, and maybe more for me!

  15. Michelle says:

    Village Books and Paper Dreams in Bellingham, WA and Content in Northfield, MN are 2 of my absolute favorites! I also recently enjoyed a visit at The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, VT. When I travel, I have to save room in my luggage because I know I’ll buy several books 🙂

  16. Jennifer Geisler says:

    Visiting New England? Don’t miss R.J. Julia in Madison, CT and Northshire Books in Manchester, Vt. Both have lovely small cafe’s attached to you can drop into a chair with the book you just purchased and enjoy a cup of coffee/tea.

    When we travel by car, I routinely check on bookstores that I want to visit. The strangest was one in New Mexico (sorry, forgot the name), which had at least 50% of the books in towering stacks – it took a lot of time and determination to find a book I was looking for! Fortunately, the staff knew instantly where it was located!

    • Laura F says:

      I think I was at the bookstore that you are talking about in New Mexico. I was at a place at a mall in Santa Fe called op.cit books that meets the description. It was an odd place – but they did know their stuff!

    • Anne Bogel says:

      I ADORE R.J. Julia (and got to visit for my very first Don’t Overthink It book tour stop on March 5, 2020). Their cafe was lovely, and on the book front, I left with so many wonderful staff picks!

      Northshire Books is new to me—thanks for the rec!

    • S says:

      Love RJ Julia’s (my last visit for Anne’s last book tour days before the pandemic shutdown) and Northshire-New and used books! But a trip to New England must include time poking around The Book Barn in Niantic. So many used books, multiple buildings, and a constantly changing inventory.

  17. Leeanne Chandler says:

    While in Columbus OH visiting The Book Loft make sure you also stop at Two Dollar Radio Headquarters just over a mile away.

  18. Shannon says:

    There’s a Book Loft in Fernandina Beach Florida. I wonder if it’s a branch of the one in OH? It’s a teeny shop in the historic district and it’s rumored to be haunted!!

  19. Lori Houck says:

    Flint Hills Books, Council Grove, Kansas is located in the most beautiful area of Kansas. Rich with the history and beauty of the tallgrass prairie it is a must-stop between Wichita and Manhattan, Ks. The bookstore is nestled between a river walk, quaint shops, and the historic Hays House restaurant. Perfect stop in my book!

  20. Deb R. says:

    I love Joseph Beth! I live in Wisconsin but recently was in Kentucky visiting my daughter and we spent a lovely morning there. Great book displays, beautiful jigsaw puzzles and lots of bookish gifts.

  21. Deborah Hubbert says:

    Always amazing — Vroman’s in Pasadena CA. It’s really struggling to stay open so if you live near enough (I’m an hour away and it’s so worth it) please support! 📖

    • Anne Bogel says:

      Yes! I spent an incredible Independent Bookstore Day with them in 2019. The store and staff are amazing and the whole neighborhood was so much fun to hang out in. I look forward to visiting again!

  22. Jill Fitzpatrick says:

    My friend and I have talked for years about a bookstore-visit road trip. On our list so far (N to S)
    Brome Lake Books Knowlton, Quebec (Louise Penny’s hometown bookstore)
    Birchbark Books, Minneapolis MN (owned by Louise Erdrich)
    Parnassus Books, Nashville TN (owned by Ann Patchett)
    and last but most definitely not least…
    Nowhere Books, San Antonio TX (owned by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess)
    Our hometown of Richmond VA has a couple of great Indies.
    Fountain Books
    Chop Suey Used Bookstore (look for Wonton the bookstore cat)
    bbgb children’s books
    Book People
    Book Bar (new, owned by a black woman, featuring black authors, artists, and winemakers)

  23. Christina Smart says:

    I have been delighted that Downbound has survived the pandemic. Even though I have yet to go inside (terrible to admit, since I live just up the road), I have done curbside pick-up and they have even delivered to my porch! Joseph-Beth is much bigger, like a local Barnes and Noble, and I’m glad it’s still around, too. Unfortunately our lovely Cincy children’s bookshop, Blue Manatee, recently shuttered its doors.

  24. Abbey says:

    I worked my way through college at Joseph-Beth in Cincinnati–yes, please do visit! The thing I loved most about it was that everyone there worked there because they loved books, they loved people, and they loved when the two worlds came together. To this day, it is still my favorite job that I have ever had (even now, as a librarian!).

  25. No list is complete without the Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, MA! Books galore, sweet children’s section, gift shop and gourmet food. Many Zoom and in person Author readings, some so popular they are held at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Well worth a visit.

  26. Tracey says:

    I work at Turning the Tide Bookstore in Saskatoon! Come visit us! I also recommend McNally Robinson, also in Saskatoon and a great used bookstore just opened here a couple years ago called Peryton Books.
    Across Canada some of my other faves are:
    -Shelf Life Books and Pages on Kensington in Calgary
    -Perfect Books in Ottawa
    -Glass Bookshop and Audrey’s in Edmonton
    -Munro Books in Victoria

    • Holly says:

      Definitely ‘yes’ on Audrey’s in Edmonton. My daughter is in grad school there and her apartment is only about 6 blocks from the shop.

  27. Jessica says:

    I love the Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC. I used to visit regularly when I lived there, and I miss it so much. They have a great selection of books, great stationery (my kryptonite!), and regularly host authors on book tours. I got to meet Erik Larson, and B.A. Shapiro among many others. Such a lovely shop. I miss living close by! Dogs are welcome in the shop, too…so you know they’re good! They keep a jar of dog cookies at the counter!

  28. Jana Vanden Branden says:

    I love visiting independent bookstores! Thank your for this post and because of it I am going to try to visit the Waco one the summer as I am driving between Austin and ft worth to visit family! I never new it was there and it’s so close to Magnolia!!

  29. Sue Schmitz says:

    Continue your bookshop tour in OKC by visiting Full Circle Bookstore! Love the ambiance as it feels like an old library!

  30. KW says:

    The Square in Oxford, Mississippi is a great collection of bookstores spread across their square. The children’s shop is the place reading dreams come true!

    Also, Muddy Waters Bookstore in Navasota, TX is a hidden gem. It’s on their booming little main street and has a little something for everyone.

  31. Sydney says:

    I am from Waco, and I can vouch for Fabled! It is definitely worth a trip. Plus, there are LOTS of fun and cozy places to visit: allllll the Magnolia places of course, Cameron Park & Cameron Park Zoo, The Backyard, Baylor University, Union Hall, and plenty more!

  32. Candace Owens says:

    Lemuria in Jackson MS as well as Square Books In Oxford MS are great MS also has a wonderful book festival i you should check out!

  33. Christie White says:

    I’ll be in Arizona next month, and can’t wait to visit The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale! For Outlander fans, it’s author Diana Gabaldon’s local bookshop. They sell signed copies of her books at no additional charge. I order her (signed!) books directly from them online and follow their blog – hoping for the day they announce she is coming in for a Meet the Author!

    Also gotta shout out to MY local bookstore here in Bozeman, MT – The Country Bookshelf!
    (if you visit, be sure to read recommendations from my friend, Wendy!)

    • Shauna says:

      I live in Phoenix, and I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never been to Poisoned Pen! If you have time while you’re here, check out Changing Hands: they have two locations, and I’ve only been to the Phoenix location. It’s my very favorite!

      I’m heading to Montana next month. I won’t make it to Bozeman, but I’m hoping to find a store or two in West Yellowstone, Missoula, or Whitefish.

      • Debra says:

        You will find several in Missoula including Shakespeare & Co and Fact and Fiction. I may have purposefully stopped just to check out bookstores. I didn’t go to one in Whitefish, but if you like beer, be sure to check out Bonsai Brewery. Fun!

    • Jan says:

      I’m an Arizona resident in Tucson and we always make a stop at The Posioned Pen in Scottsdale. It’s wonderful. Loads of mysteries and a great staff that knows their stuff.

  34. CB says:

    Seattle has so many great bookshops, but Secret Garden Books in the Ballard neighborhood always has a book I haven’t heard about but then have to share with all my friends.

    • Essie says:

      Thanks for sharing this, fellow Angeleno! I’m pleasantly surprised by how many bookshops we have here! Time to start making my way through the list…P.S. My fav is Book Soup on Sunset.

      • Sandy Hughes says:

        Essie! Where do you live? I moved to Hollywood six weeks before lockdown and I have little kids, so I am still kinda in a bubble. I’m so excited to find my book people here in LA and find a book club. Can we connect? My Instagram is @hughes.sandy

      • Sandy Hughes says:

        Anne, I would be so excited if you came to town! I have been following the blog/podcast/reading guide for many years, and you have really helped me weather the last two years. So we can see all the book stores and then comp tickets to hear my orchestra play LACO.org
        Hope it happens someday! Hugs from Hollywood, Sandy @hughes.sandy

  35. Susan says:

    I recently visited Unabridged Bookstore in Chicago and loved it!

    My favorite independent bookstore is Quail Ridge in Raleigh, NC where I live ☺️

  36. Goldberry Books in Concord, NC! Sells both new & used. Young owners who courageously opened during pandemic. You’ll want to stay and read on their couches. Owners have publishing industry background & if you want to talk books, they’re knowledgeable. If you want to shop quietly, they give you space.

    • Anne Bogel says:

      I’m happy to hear about this! We were just SO CLOSE to Goldberry and Concord but alas, the purpose of our trip was college visits and not bookstore visits and I didn’t get to visit as many bookstores as I would have liked. 🙂

  37. Judy says:

    You could get lost in a book lovers dream for hours browsing Gene’s Books on Sanibel Island Florida. It’s so fantastic there are 2 shops across the street from each other.

  38. Although you probably don’t get to New Hampshire very often, haha, there is a fantastic book store in Concord, NH, by the name of Gibson’s Book Store. If you are ever in NH, it is well worth a stop.

  39. Changing Hands is local Arizona favorite and home to Peng Shepherd and T.J. Newman, among other local authors. The Phoenix location includes First Draft Book Bar, a great place to work remote or grab a drink to wander around the store with.

  40. Ellen W says:

    I’m going to the Pantsuit Politics live podcast show this Saturday and excited that I will get to vist Fabled on independent bookstore day! I am hoping to visit the Bookshelf in Thomasville, GA someday.

  41. Laura says:

    I never expected to find my favorite bookstore in Las Vegas, but I did! The Writer’s Block Bookstore and Artificial Bird Sanctuary is a must stop for me. Lots of unique titles, art, and a coffee shop. I have family in the area who joke that I am the only person who comes to Vegas to hang out at bookstores!

    I also want to give some love to Housing Works Used Bookstore in NYC. The first time that I visited, I texted a friend back home to tell her that I had found a used bookstore that served coffee and beer, played 80s punk, and raised money for people living with HIV. I had found my people and was not coming home.

  42. Christine says:

    Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, MO. Look into Unbound Book Festival that they do each year. It’s free and it’s awesome. Viet Thanh Nguyen was the keynote this year, just last week.

  43. Emily says:

    My small town, Owatonna MN, has a very cute little bookstore called The Little Professor. I also love Content, which is in Northfield, MN, and the Twin Cities have some amazing independent bookstore as well, including one that is completely mystery themed called Once Upon a Crime!

  44. Carey Hall says:

    I visited The Bookshop in Nashville during Covid. The owner was very nice and couldn’t let anyone in the store, but was still able to keep her business open by mail order and the occasional drop by (ME!!). I plan to go there again when I’m in the area for July 4th Weekend.

    My favorite Indie bookstore in my area is The Green Door Book Store and Gift Shoppe. The owner is fabulous and the staff really take the time to get to know the customers and their preferences. They also have a coffee machine so you can have a beverage while you walk around. Lots of monthly events to get the community interested too. Love it there.


  45. Sandy M says:

    Before moving to Oregon in 2019, Powell’s City of Books was usually the first stop any time we flew into Portland. Best bookstore to get lost in. My husband and I plan to attend a book signing at the Beaverton location on Friday. Not as big as the original but still really nice.

    • Taylor B. says:

      I honestly prefer the Cedar Hills location if I’m on a mission (and don’t want to deal with downtown parking). But for the real and more exciting experience people just have to go to, Powell’s City of Books… I could live there and be happy to never leave, I think!

  46. Cori says:

    Perhaps I’m a bit biased since I work here ..but you left off Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff AZ… Haha. Other shops on my wish list are Third Place and Elliot Bay in Seattle, Jenny Lawson’s, Books are Magic, The Raven, Parnassus, Avid and The Bookshelf in Georgia, Print in Maine, and… I’ll stop there!!!

    • Holly says:

      Bright Side Bookshop is fantastic! We were driving from Antelope Canyon to Sedona one evening and I just did a search on indy bookshops and it’s the one that popped up. We stopped for a visit and what a find. It was great.

  47. Rachel says:

    I have been to The Lit Bar. It’s tiny but nice.

    I really miss Bank Street Books, a children’s bookstore that used to be in my NYC neighborhood but closed during the pandemic.

  48. Anne Hussey says:

    My favorite bookstores to visit are McNally Jackson in NYC (the seaport location is near and dear to my heart), Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa, BookSoup in Los Angeles, Skylight Books in Los Angeles, RJ Julia in Madison, CT, BookHampton in East Hampton, NY, The Hickory Stick Bookstore in Washington Depot, CT, Literati Bookshop in Ann Arbor, MI and Parnassus Books in Nashville. On my “to visit” list is Savoy Bookshop in Westerly, Rhode Island and this Saturday I will be at The Bookstore in Lenox, MA.

  49. Deborah Hirschmann says:

    No one has mentioned my favorite: Book and Bar in Portsmouth, NH. They sell remainders, so nothing is over $9, and, well, there’s a bar. And yummy food and non-alcoholic drinks, of course. We make the drive up from RI 1-2 times a year.

  50. Erin Myers says:

    Dolly’s Bookstore on Main Street in Park City, Utah is as charming as they come! Not only do they have a great selection and helpful staff in their small store, they also have friendly cats wandering around to cuddle with. Comfy chairs are set out for customers to relax in while they make their selections. And the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Shop attached to the front of the store doesn’t hurt either!

  51. Laura F says:

    I thought I posted this, but it isn’t here. Apologies if this is a duplicate!
    I also love to visit independent bookstores when I travel and have two favorites.
    Writer’s Block Bookstore and Artificial Bird Sanctuary in Las Vegas is a wonderful place with unique titles, art, and a coffee shop. I have family in the area who tease that I am the only person who goes to Vegas to hit the bookstores.
    Housing Works Books in NYC is great! The first time that I was there, I texted a friend to say that I had found a place that sold used books, played 80s punk, served coffee and beer, and raised money for people living with HIV. I had found my people and was not coming home!

    • Anne Bogel says:

      I’m cracking up at your Vegas/bookstores comment. You and me both!

      I haven’t been to Housing Works for a few years but I so enjoyed my first visit! I hope to return soon.

  52. Indiana Gigi says:

    My city of Evansville, Indiana is fortunate enough to have TWO wonderful independent bookstores: Bluestocking Social (across the street from the campus of University of Evansville) and Your Brother’s Bookstore located in downtown Evansville. Both of these stores have excellent independent coffee shops close to them as well 🙂

    • Holly says:

      Thank you for sharing! I was born and raised in Evansville, including graduating from U of E but moved to Indy about 40 years ago. I go back occasionally and I had no idea there are independent bookstores there. I’ll make an effort to visit on my next trip.

  53. Julia says:

    The Next Chapter on Farnam Hill in downtown Omaha, NE is fantastic…great selection, excellent service…adjacent to a coffee shop & yummy taco place…always a fun combination for a book buying adventure.

  54. RS Robinson says:

    Joseph-Beth also has a location in Lexington, KY! It is a fabulous bookstore with the most magnificent children’s section in the lower level!

    • Debra says:

      I got to visit it last month and was amazed at its size! Is it the same as the one Anne mentions in Cincinnati? So a small chain, I guess?

  55. Franci Henderson says:

    I want to recommend the Cincy Book Bus. It’s run by a former teacher, and it really is a bus. She parks it at coffee shops, restaurants, fairs and anywhere else where people gather. She has a Facebook page and you can message her to get any book you’re interested in. She also runs an online book club. In the future she plans to have what she’s calling the Book Bus Depot, a real store front. Oh course she’ll also be taking the bus out to events as she has been for the past few years. Here’s the important thing about the Book Bus….she puts ALL of her profits into buying books for kids who need them most, and she donates them to schools, child care centers, clinics, summer programs, etc all over the Cincinnati area, where they’re given out for free.

  56. Deborah says:

    I finally visited Fabled the beginning of this month.
    It is amazing! Their nods to Narnia and their children’s room are fantastic.

    I was going to visit Fabled and attend your Don’t Overthink It tour AND finally meet you! But, well, we all know how that chapter played out. 😉

    So fun to read this list! Going to add Commonplace Books to my To Visit List.

    • Indiana Gigi says:

      Indy Reads located in downtown Indianapolis. It’s a great non-profit that gives all its proceeds to help people earning their High School Equivalency Diploma (and other adult education programs). They sell both used and new books

    • Holly says:

      I usually find myself heading to Turn the Page in Westfield and Wild Geese Bookshop in Franklin. My two favorites in the area.

  57. Jenny says:

    Bookends and Beginnings in Evanston, IL and The Book Bin in Winnetka, IL are two of my local favorites north of Chicago. Bookends and Beginnings has particularly good children’s and cookbook sections.

  58. Ann Cripps says:

    You won’t find a greater bookstore than Main Street Books in Davidson, NC. Anne,I met you the last time you were there.

  59. Sarah says:

    Downbound is my local indie and just wonderful (I am headed there for a poetry reading this evening). It was a godsend during lockdown and the shop owner kindly ran books out to my car so many times. My sister went to Baylor, so a trip to Fabled came with every visit. Their café, selection, and cute Narnia-door to the kids’ section are amazing.

  60. Susan Puckett says:

    I LOVE Foxtale Book Shoppe in Woodstock GA – just north of Atlanta…so quaint…so amazing….many of the Atlanta and southen authors choose it for their new book releases. The owner and staff are amazing too! I would love for Anne to come visit!! I have encouraged the Owner, Karen, to apply to be a quest on WSIRN!! I also live near Thomasville GA so of course The Bookshelf is good too! And my last pick is an indie book store that I went to as an older teen/young adult and it is is still open and operating… Browseabout Books in Rehobth Beach Delaware. Such an awesome store, filled with history and right on the main Avenue a block from the sand and ocean!!! Doesn’t get any better than that….get a new book, stop and get some Grotto pizza and some Thraasher boardwalk fries and hit the beach…HEAVEN!!

  61. Katherine says:

    It is worth traveling to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands just to spend some time in Undercover Books and Gifts. Of course, you might as well enjoy the pristine white beaches while you are here enjoying your new book. I love this bookstore and we are so fortunate to get the paperback version of books before they come out on the mainland (something about being an international market).

  62. Lori A says:

    I adore The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, CA: https://www.therippedbodicela.com. They are primarily a romance bookstore, but they also have lots of bookish gifts and author events.

    I also recommend Malik Books in Los Angeles: https://malikbooks.com. They specialize in books by African American authors and have a lot of author events as well.

    Capital Books in Sacramento, CA is also awesome: https://capitalbooksonk.com. They HAND DELIVERED a book to my sister who lives in Sacramento when I bought a book for her birthday. The owners also recently opened a cafe called There and Back Again (https://thereandbackagain.cafe) with bookish drink/bakery offerings and board games.

  63. Sue T. says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit the Ripped Bodice, the romance bookstore in L.A., and since I’m going to be in SoCal next month, it is definitely high up on my places to visit!

  64. Michelle says:

    The Book Loft is amazing and I visit regularly. It is a place you can truly get lost in and the staff is wonderful with helping you find your way and to find the perfect book.

  65. Kristy Ensunsa says:

    Our local is West Portal books in San Francisco. The staff are wonderful, the selection worthy, they will order what is not in shop and do wonderful author/writer talks.

  66. Kara Spalding says:

    I love my local shop, Brick and Mortar Books in Redmond, WA. The store I want to visit is Arundel Books in Seattle. It has new and used books and set in a gorgeous
    old building in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. I have to mention A Book For All Seasons in the small mountain town of Leavenworth, Wa.

  67. Betsy says:

    We have. Joseph-Beth Bookstore here in Lexington! Love all the many book choices, plus the extensive gift shop and children’s floor. I recently took out of town friends there to eat at their lunch hub, the Bronte Bistro. Love it!

  68. June Howard says:

    Adding to the Michigan list: Literati, in Ann Arbor.
    I’ll choose one from the many things I could say about what a great bookstore it is. There’s a ‘public typewriter’ where you can leave a note, and they’ve published a book with selections. During the pandemic, they added a virtual typewriter that is still up: https://www.publictypewriter.com/

  69. Suzanne C says:

    Another fan of The Bookshelf in Thomasville here, but I also love Midtown Reader in nearby Tallahassee, Florida. We’re going to go to both of these on Saturday for Indie Bookstore Day!!

    There’s also a new bookstore in Dothan, Alabama called Downtown Books that’s on the top of my To-Visit list. And a little day-trip away from me is Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida. North Florida is the bookish place to be, y’all!

  70. I love Bethany Beach Books in Bethany, Delaware. When we plan a trip to the beach, I always save up to buy a few books to support them. Everyone is so nice and the book selection is amazing. I love their “ocean blue” shopping bags that they out your purchases in.

  71. Becky says:

    Zenith Bookstore in Duluth, MN and Apostle Island Booksellers in Bayfield, WI are my favorite indie bookstores. Both are in the northwoods near Lake Superior.

  72. Katie says:

    I live in Tampa. And I happily drive past Oxford Exchange to go over to St Petersburg and its Tombolo Books. Beautiful selection – not too small, not too overwhelming – with knowledgeable booksellers, next to a great coffee shop, and with an inviting courtyard. Highly recommend!!

  73. Anne Bohl says:

    John K. King Used & Rare Books in Downtown Detroit. It’s legendary and huge! Housed in an old glove factory, it has many stories and it’s easy to get lost. But who doesn’t want to be lost in a book store? If you enjoy a quest, this is the spot – they claim to have over one million books.

  74. Tamara says:

    Grass Roots and Music on 3rd street in Corvallis, Oregon which is the home of Oregon State University.
    Small but cozy with a great selection of non-fiction, fiction, section of children’s books and some music along with cards and other bookish stuff. Many Northwest authors are featured.

  75. Noreen says:

    The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves, MO (a suburb of St. Louis). Staff is knowledgeable and the store is user friendly. They are always bringing authors in as the owner has many connections in publishing.

  76. Lorene says:

    There is a marvelous little independent book store in Alexandria MN named Cherry Street Books. For a small town in west central MN they have a delightful assortment of books and a wonderful staff!

  77. Beth Dean says:

    Please get yourself to Joseph Beth as soon as possible. You will love it!

    The Cincinnati area also has a brand new bookstore/cafe that just opened in Mt. Washington: The Tome Bookstore. The owner, J.M. Clark, is also a local author and has created a unique, welcoming place for book lovers. thetomebookstore.com

  78. Kristen says:

    There are two that I always love going to when I’m in their area. The first is Left Bank Books in St. Louis, MO and the second is The Learned Owl in Hudson, OH. Both are fantastic with great employees and constantly bringing in interesting authors!

  79. Gina Murrow says:

    In Alaska, try Fireside Books in Palmer. It’s a terrific little shop, easy to find, good parking, and helpful staff. Their e-newsletter has a column called Shelf Awareness that is a must-read, too.

  80. Francine Hahn says:

    In Westminster, MD an indie bookstore, Rudolph Girls Books, opened in August 2021. It is a hub of activity in our small town. The owners are so friendly and involved in our community. It’s wonderful!

  81. Ann says:

    Kaboom in the Heights in Houston and Half Price Books in Sugar Land, Texas ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  82. Debra Hale-Shelton says:

    My favorite indie bookstores are Women & Children First in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, Parnassus Books in Nashville, Wordsworth Books in Little Rock, and the Book Stall in Winnetka, Ill. Parnassus has many guest author events. I once made about a six- to seven-hour drive to visit that bookstore. It was worth every dime the trip cost me. I do wish more authors would visit more bookshops in small states such as Arkansas where I live and have more online events.

  83. Shelley says:

    I’d like to give a shout-out to Boerne Books in Boerne, TX – right outside San Antonio. Great little bookstore with a nice selection.

  84. Adrienne says:

    I love McKay Books and Music (although everyone here just calls it McKay’s) in Chattanooga, TN. They sell used books, DVD’s, music albums and CD’s, games and puzzles, and assorted odd stuff (legos, toys, musical instruments…) There is also a store in Knoxville, TN, but I have not visited that location. It’s not really an indie bookstore since they don’t select and curate a book inventory, but a great source for books.

  85. Elizabeth C says:

    YAY! I love this. I’ve always preferred small indie bookstores over the giant big box stores. I live in southern New Mexico (relocated here from Indianapolis in 2018), so my options are more limited here. But…we have a great choice in COAS Books here in Las Cruces, NM. The Indiana choices are Wild Geese Bookshop in Franklin, IN and Indy Reads in Indianapolis. Cheers to Indie BOOKS!

  86. Desiree Zicko says:

    North of Boston, MA? Stop by Whitelam Books, in Reading (I know, Reading! Just pronounce it like the town in PA). It’s the perfect example of vibrant, small store. They are a great partner for the public library, are very welcoming with wonderful customer service, and have the best logo! https://whitelambooks.com


    Why had my post disappeared?

    I posted on 4/28 in around 4 pm. It posted, but when I went back later it was gone😢

    My posting was for Forever Books in St. Joseph, MI.

    The owner is great. She loves her cudtomers & community.

  88. Milinda says:

    I finally went to Fabled yesterday and it was awesome! I had a personal shopping appointment with Elizabeth and then spent a couple more hours on my own! Heaven.
    I’ve been to Commonplace in OKC and liked it but I LOVE Full Circle (also OKC) — gorgeous store and great selections.

  89. Kathrine says:

    Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT is my favorite independent bookstore! It looks like a stately house on the outside. Inside it is filled with cozy overstuffed chairs and quiet book nooks to check out a new book find. It has twists and turns and around every corner is another delightful book display. I could happily spend several weeks trapped inside!

  90. Kelly says:

    The Book Loft! Yes! My husband and I have a tradition of going there on our anniversary every year. We had to miss a couple years because of Covid but we made it back about a week ago. You can get lost in that bookstore (literally!).

  91. Wow! The comments section gave SO MANY great ideas for bookstores to visit! I don’t know if this counts as an Indie bookstore, but you have got to hit it up while you are visiting Cincinnati and/or Columbus. It’s located in Dayton.
    We have a used book store called One Dollar Book Swap. Every book is $1. Every single one! And while they are all used, they also seem to get many “newer” books from donations. I’ve found several book of the month books with the BOTM sticker just one or two months after it was part of a box. I usually find 20+ books from my TBR every time I go- and to only spend $20 on 20 books! It’s AMAZING!

  92. Rea says:

    Tossing in a little love for some off-the-beaten-path stores. Traveling up 29 through South Dakota? Stop in Vermillion for the great little ‘Outside of a Dog Books & Games.’ https://outsideofadogsd.com/ It’s tiny, but the selection is well-curated and the owner is delighted to help give suggestions.

    Vacationing on the North Shore of Lake Superior? Drury Lane Books is a MUST! https://drurylanebooks.indielite.org/ It has to be the most charming indie bookstore ever. You will find something for EVERYONE inside. I want to go back just to visit this store again. I want to winter in Grand Marais and buy books here and then curl up at Java Moose to read.

  93. Tracy Emery says:

    My absolute favorite independent bookstore is The Dusty Bookshelf in Manhattan, Kansas…an iconic business in our fair city for decades. I first this little store while a student at Kansas State University (for those outside Kansas – KSU is here in Manhattan and is oft confused with KU (of recent NCAA Basketball fame), which is in Lawrence).

    “Dusty,” as it’s known to townies, has definitely evolved over time, originally selling only used books. Today they offer a mix of new and used (they buy your used books in exchange for store credit towards your next purchase of a used title), along with the most wonderful atmosphere, amazing coffee and friendly staff.

    If you’re ever in Manhattan…it’s a MUST-VISIT for all book lovers.

    or find them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/thedustybookshelfmhk

  94. Arden says:

    I love the Book Barn in Niantic CT. There are 3 different locations all within minutes of each other. All used and they have EVERYTHING. When I go (45 min away), I make a day of it and just go exploring, lunch, etc. The main “Barn” has multiple different buildings, wandering cats and goats. 🙂 It’s a place to dig so if that’s your jam – this place is for you.

  95. Taylor B. says:

    Some of my favorites have already been mentioned (Powell’s in Oregon, Skylight Books in LA… there’s a TREE inside!, and Book Shop Santa Cruz…

    But the one I probably visit the most and I don’t think it has been mentioned is Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village in Portland, OR. It is the sweetest. And there’s a resident cat, Molly

  96. Sara says:

    Powell’s City of Books in Portland. If it’s too overwhelming, the one on SE Hawthorne is much cozier.

    Faulkner House of Books in New Orleans is wonderful.

    The Book Lady in Savannah.

  97. Suzanne E says:

    I love Fountain Books here in Richmond Virginia and The Little Bookshop in Midlothian VA (suburb of Richmond). Both indies are fun to visit and super customer service focused. Kramer’s in Washington DC is also a fave of mine.

  98. Diana says:

    I, somehow, convinced my husband to add 2 hours to what turned into a 20.5 hour drive home from Florida last summer so I could finally stop at The Bookshelf in Thomasville, after I had been listening to their podcast for 5 years. It was a delight! Still glad we did it when we got home at 3:45am!

  99. Kristina Campos-Davis says:

    We just recently moved to Waco, and Fabled is absolutely wonderful!! They have such great events for the local literary community and for the authors. Can’t wait until you can join us here!!

  100. Debra says:

    This is fabulous. I make sure to visit bookstores as we travel around and recognize so many that you have mentioned. I have also added a lot more to my list. Thank you!

    So far in our travels, my favorites have been:
    Fabled – I went to school in Waco years ago and wish they had been there then. It is a great reason to go back for a visit.
    Full Circle in OKC – gorgeous library feel with wood shelves and ladders as well as a coffee shop
    Story and Song in Amelia Island – you can get a tea or have lunch smack in the middle of the books. They have plenty of seat to browse your picks and a great selection
    Underground Books in Carrollton, GA – This shop owner was the one to introduce me to Anne’s podcast and get me involved in MMD book club so a heart favorite along with being an adorable creaky old bookstore.

    Based on everyone’s entries, it looks like I will continue to visit bookstores and that the independents are doing well! Yeah!

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