50 Unique Independent Bookstores You Need to Visit in Every US State

| © Unsplash
Rebecca Johnson

Across the US, independent bookstores are having a comeback. Often combining bookselling with a cafe or bar, these stores will usually stock rare presses and obscure publishers, alongside classics and bestsellers. The below are no exception, but also have that little something extra which makes them stand out from the rest.

1. Alaska


The Homer Bookstore

The longest running bookstore in Alaska, Homer’s stocks books, stationery and has an in-house espresso bar. Make sure you take the time to relax on the porch next to the timber reading-man.

2. Arizona

Bookstore, Shop

Changing Hands Bookstore, Camelback Road
Courtesy of First Draft Book Bar
Changing Hands Bookstore and First Draft Book Bar

A huge long-standing bookstore, coffee shop, and bar all in one. Pair your chosen title with their great selection of beers.

3. California

Bookstore, Store, Museum

The Last Bookstore

A gorgeous multi-level space offering books, records, and local art.

4. Delaware

Store, Bookstore

Rainbow Records, Newark
Courtesy of Rainbow Records
Rainbow Records

Great selection of books, as well as new and used vinyl. The in-store soundtrack is also excellent.


Avid Bookshop

Possibly the most charming bookstore around. Cozy and with a beautifully curated collection, they also have a second location, so you have no excuse not to visit!

493 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30601, USA, +1 706-352-2060

Courtesy of Avid Bookshop

5. Idaho


Bookstore at night
Courtesy of BookPeople of Moscow
BookPeople of Moscow

This bookstore is the oldest in Idaho and has been in continuous operation on Moscow’s main street for almost 45 years.

6. Illinois


Women & Children First

All-around bookstore with a brilliant selection of feminist and LBGTQ titles, as well as a great children’s section.

7. Indiana

Bookstore, Brewery

Books and Brews, Uptown Drive
Courtesy of Books & Brews
Books & Brews

A combined bookstore and brewery. The books are great and beer even better.

8. Iowa

Bookstore, Shop, University

Prairie Lights

Gem of a bookstore with an upstairs coffee shop. It regularly hosts readings from both new and established writers.

9. Kansas


Book-A-Holic Inc, Oliver Street
Courtesy of Book-A-Holic Bookstore
Book-A-Holic Bookstore

With three locations in Wichita, Book-A-Holic is a favorite for bargains.

10. Kentucky


Wild Fig Books & Coffee, Lexington
Courtesy of Wild Fig Books & Coffee
Wild Fig Books & Coffee

A store with the perfect laid-back atmosphere and delicious food.

11. Maine


Blue Hill Books, Maine
Courtesy of Blue Hill Books
Blue Hill Books

Housed on two levels in a beautiful historic building, Blue Hill has a great selection of recent releases.

12. Maryland


Atomic Books

The ultimate, quirky book, comic store, and bar. John Waters loves it so much he even gets his fan mail sent here.

13. Mississippi


Square Books, Oxford
Courtesy of Square Books
Square Books

A beautifully curated bookstore full of unique southern charm. The balcony is great for relaxing with a purchase.

14. Missouri

Store, University

Subterranean Books, Street Louis
Courtesy of Subterranean Books
Subterranean Books

Located in center of St Louis, Subterranean Books stocks new and specialist books. They also regularly host book signings, and also art exhibitions in their gallery.

15. Montana

Bookstore, Store

Shakespeare & Co, Missoula
Courtesy of Shakespeare and Co.
Shakespeare & Co.

A small and cheerful store with an impressive inventory, including a range of gifts perfect for book-lovers.

16. Nebraska


A Novel Idea Bookstore, Lincoln
Courtesy of A Novel Idea Bookstore
A Novel Idea Bookstore

A cozy bookstore with a knowledgeable owner and two friendly live-in cats.

17. Nevada

Bookstore, Store

The Writer’s Block

A fantastically funky bookstore carrying a great variety of trinkets. The back of the store even has a small workshop to write and print beginner-books.

18. New Hampshire


RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth
Courtesy of RiverRun Bookstore
RiverRun Bookstore

A quaint small town bookstore in downtown Portsmouth. They host frequent events and writing workshops.

19. New Jersey


© Watchung Booksellers
Watchung Booksellers

A boutique bookstore which favors quality over quantity, ideal for finding books you’ve never heard of.

20. New York

Bookstore, Library

McNally Jackson

A store full of personality and with one of the best-designed bookshop cafes around.

21. North Carolina


Malaprop’s Bookstore & Cafe

Located in the heart of downtown Asheville and well-known for their ‘blind date’ concept which allows you to buy a staff favorite, secretly wrapped in brown paper.

22. North Dakota

Store, Bookstore

Zandbroz Variety, Fargo
Courtesy of Zandbroz Variety
Zandbroz Variety

A wonderfully unique book, gifts, stationery, and accessories store.

23. Ohio


The Learned Owl

A charming shop on three levels, with a great range of educational books and gifts.

24. Oklahoma


Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma
Courtesy of Full Circle Books
Full Circle Bookstore

This place is the stuff book-lovers dreams are made of, with countless nooks and corners to be discovered.

25. Oregon

Bookstore, Park, Store

Powell’s Books

As the world’s largest independent bookstore, and with numerous locations throughout Oregon, Powell’s should be on the bucket list of all book fanatics.

26. Rhode Island


Symposium Books, Providence
Courtesy of Symposium Books
Symposium Books

Cool bookstore in downtown Providence with a great selection of art books and vinyl.

27. South Carolina


The Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton
Courtesy of The Storybook Shoppe
The Storybook Shoppe

This picturesque bookstore is entirely devoted to children’s literature, with every book being hand-selected by the owner. There are frequent storytelling events, with a regular story hour on Monday mornings.

28. South Dakota


Mitzis Books, South Dakota
Courtesy of Mitzi's Books
Mitzi’s Books

An atmospheric bookstore with a famous central staircase and lots of corners to discover.

29. Tennessee

Store, Bookstore

Reading Rock Books, Dickson
© Joseph Norton/Courtesy of The Reading Rock
Reading Rock Books

Small and sweet store in Dickson with books for children and adults, journals and an excellent selection of tote bags.

30. Texas

Bookstore, Shop, Store

BookPeople, Lamar Boulevard
Courtesy of BookPeople

Everything you could ask for in a neighborhood bookstore – great coffeeshop, interesting events, cozy sitting spots and excellent gift ideas.

31. Utah

Bookstore, Store

The Book Garden, Bountiful
Courtesy of The Book Garden
The Book Garden

A great place for finding both rare treasures and well-read paperbacks. You can even bring your old books to trade for store credit.

32. Vermont


Phoenix Books Rutland
Courtesy of Phoenix Books Essex and Burlington
Phoenix Books

A store focused on supporting the Vermont community economy, with locations in Essex, Burlington, Rutland and Misty Valley.

33. Virginia


Chop Suey Books, Richmond
Courtesy of Chop Suey Books
Chop Suey Books

Named after the neighborhood restaurant whose building they inherited, they specialize in used and new books, with numerous feminist and political titles.

34. Washington

Store, Bookstore

Book N Brush, Chehalis
Courtesy of Book 'N' Brush
Book ‘N’ Brush

Established in 1969, this timeless store is a well-loved piece of local history. As well as books they sell art supplies, gifts, handmade local jewelry and greeting cards.

35. West Virginia

Art Gallery, Bookstore, Shop

Taylor Books, Charleston
Courtesy of Taylor Books
Taylor Books

A Charleston-based bookstore with an excellent selection of regional West Virginia and Appalachian works. They also have an adjoining art gallery, a coffee shop, bar, and lounge.

36. Wisconsin

Store, Bookstore

Mystery To Me, Madison
Courtesy of Mystery to Me
Mystery To Me

Ideal store to visit with kids; a great young readers section and friendly staff always on hand with advice.

37. Washington D.C.


Politics and Prose, Connecticut Avenue
Courtesy of Politics and Prose
Politics and Prose

The coolest place to pick up a book or have a good discussion, with four locations.

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article