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

Picture of Rebecca Johnson
Rebecca Johnson
Updated: 9 June 2017

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. 

Alabama

Alabama Booksmith

Potentially the only bookshop in the world with an inventory composed entirely of signed copies. It’s a great place to pick up a special gift, as almost every book is sold at publishers’ regular retail price.

2626 19th Pl S, Homewood, AL 35209, USA, +1 205-870-4242

Courtesy of Alabama Booksmith

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.

332 E Pioneer Ave #1, Homer, AK 99603, USA, +1 907-235-7496

Courtesy of The Home Bookstore

Arizona

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.

300 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA, +1 602-274-0067

Courtesy of First Draft Book Bar

Arkansas

Dickson Street Bookshop

A must-visit if you love cozy old bookstores with lots to discover. Look out for unique leather-bound and rare books.

325 W Dickson St, Fayetteville, AR 72701, USA, +1 479-442-8182

Courtesy of Dickson Street Bookshop

California

The Last Bookstore

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

453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, USA, +1 213-488-0599

Courtesy of The Last Bookstore

Colorado

Mutiny Information Cafe

An impossibly cool secondhand bookshop selling fiction, art books, records, and comics. Stay a while to try the local coffee beans and play on the vintage pinball machines.

2 S Broadway, Denver, CO 80209, USA, +1 303-778-7579

Courtesy of Mutiny Information Cafe

Connecticut

RJ Julia Booksellers

Small in size, but with a track record of hosting some incredible authors from around the world.

768 Boston Post Rd, Madison, CT 06443, USA, +1 203-245-3959

Courtesy of RJ Julia Booksellers

Delaware

Rainbow Records

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

54 E Main St, Newark, DE 19711, USA, +1 302-368-7738

Courtesy of Rainbow Records

Florida

Books & Books

With several locations across Florida, we recommend heading to the one in Coral Gables to enjoy the cafe and outdoor patio.

265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134, USA, +1 305-442-4408

 

Courtesy of Books & Books

Georgia

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

Hawaii

Hakubundo

Features English and Japanese titles, including manga, as well as craft supplies, toys, and gifts.

1200 Ala Moana Blvd #649, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA, +1 808-947-5503

Courtesy of Hakubundo

Idaho

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.

521 S Main St, Moscow, ID 83843, USA, +1 208-882-2669

Bookstore at night | Courtesy of BookPeople of Moscow

Illinois

Women & Children First 

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

5233 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640, USA, +1 773-769-9299

Courtesy of Women and Children First

Indiana

Books & Brews

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

9402 Uptown Dr Suite 1400, Indianapolis, IN 46256, USA, +1 317-288-5136

Courtesy of Books & Brews

Iowa

Prairie Lights 

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

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240, USA, +1 319-337-2681

Courtesy of Prairie Lights

Kansas

Book-A-Holic Bookstore 

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

924 S Oliver St, Wichita, KS 67218, USA, +1 316-684-2600

 

Courtesy of Book-A-Holic Bookstore

Kentucky

Wild Fig Books & Coffee

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

726 N Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508, USA, +1 859-252-3052

Courtesy of Wild Fig Books & Coffee

Louisiana

Octavia Books

Small but mighty, with a brilliant selection of literature about New Orleans.

513 Octavia St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA, +1 504-899-7323

Courtesy of Octavia Books

Maine

Blue Hill Books

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

2 Pleasant St, Blue Hill, ME 04614, USA, +1 207-374-5632

Courtesy of Blue Hill Books

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.

3620 Falls Rd, Baltimore, MD 21211, USA, +1 410-662-4444

Courtesy of Atomic Books

Massachusetts

The Montague Bookmill

Housed inside a grist mill dating back to 1834 and full of cozy places to sit and read.

440 Greenfield Rd, Montague, MA 01351, USA, +1 413-367-9206

Courtesy of The Montague Bookmill

Michigan

John K. King Used & Rare Books

A fantastic place to get lost in, four storeys of books dating back to over a hundred years ago.

901 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226, USA, +1 313-961-0622

Courtesy of John K. King Used and Rare Books

Minnesota

Magers & Quinn Booksellers

The go-to spot for Minneapolis readers, featuring everything from newest releases to rare collectible finds. Deceptively small from the outside, this extensive collection will keep you busy for hours.

3038 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55408, USA, +1 612-822-4611

Courtesy of Magers and Quinn, photo credit Annie Metcalf

Mississippi

Square Books

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

160 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655, USA, +1 662-236-2262

Courtesy of Square Books

Missouri

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.

Courtesy of Subterranean Books

Montana

Shakespeare & Co.

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

103 S 3rd St W, Missoula, MT 59801, USA, +1 406-549-9010

Courtesy of Shakespeare and Co.

Courtesy of Shakespeare and Co.

Nebraska

A Novel Idea Bookstore

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

Courtesy of A Novel Idea Bookstore

Courtesy of A Novel Idea Bookstore

Nevada

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.

1020 E Fremont St #100, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA, +1 702-550-6399

Courtesy of The Writer's Block

Courtesy of The Writer’s Block, Photo Credit Krystal Ramirez

New Hampshire

RiverRun Bookstore

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

Courtesy of RiverRun Bookstore

Courtesy of RiverRun Bookstore

New Jersey

Watchung Booksellers

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

Courtesy of Watchung Booksellers

Courtesy of Watchung Booksellers

New Mexico

Bookworks 

A well-loved neighborhood hangout, it’s dog-friendly and hosts books clubs and a range of local events.

4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107, USA, +1 505-344-8139

Courtesy of Bookworks

New York

McNally Jackson

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

Courtesy of McNally Jackson

Courtesy of McNally Jackson

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.

55 Haywood St, Asheville, NC 28801, USA, +1 800-441-9829

Courtesy of Malaprop's Bookstore and Cafe

Courtesy of Malaprop’s Bookstore and Cafe

North Dakota

Zandbroz Variety

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

Courtesy of Zandbroz Variety

Courtesy of Zandbroz Variety

Ohio

The Learned Owl

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

Courtesy of The Learned Owl

Courtesy of The Learned Owl

Oklahoma

Full Circle Bookstore

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

Courtesy of Full Circle Books

Oregon

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.

Courtesy of Powell's Books

Courtesy of Powell’s Books

Pennsylvania

Baldwin Book Barn

There are five wonderful floors of rare and vintage books to discover in this former barn, plus cats to keep you company.

Courtesy of Baldwin's Book Barn

Courtesy of Baldwin’s Book Barn

Rhode Island

Symposium Books

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

240 Westminster St, Providence, RI 02903, USA, +1 401-273-7900

Courtesy of Symposium Books

Courtesy of Symposium Books

South Carolina

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.

41 Calhoun St # A, Bluffton, SC 29910, USA, +1 843-757-2600

Courtesy of The Storybook Shoppe

Courtesy of The Storybook Shoppe

South Dakota

Mitzi’s Books

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

Courtesy of Mitzi's Books

Courtesy of Mitzi’s Books

Tennessee

Reading Rock Books

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

© Joseph Norton/Courtesy of The Reading Rock

© Joseph Norton/Courtesy of The Reading Rock

Texas

BookPeople

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

Courtesy of BookPeople

Courtesy of BookPeople

Utah

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.

+1 801-292-2818

Courtesy of The Book Garden

Courtesy of The Book Garden

Vermont

Phoenix Books 

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

2 Center St, Rutland, VT 05701, USA, +1 802-855-8078

Courtesy of Phoenix Books Essex and Burlington

Courtesy of Phoenix Books Essex and Burlington

Virginia

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.

2913 W Cary St, Richmond, VA 23221, USA, +1 804-422-8066

Courtesy of Chop Suey Books

Courtesy of Chop Suey Books

Washington

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.

518 N Market Blvd, Chehalis, WA 98532, USA, +1 360-748-6221

Courtesy of Book 'N' Brush

Courtesy of Book ‘N’ Brush

West Virginia

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.

226 Capitol St, Charleston, WV 25301, USA, +1 304-342-1461

Courtesy of Taylor Books

Courtesy of Taylor Books

Wisconsin

Mystery To Me

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

Courtesy of Mystery to Me

Courtesy of Mystery to Me

Wyoming

Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse

The perfect environment for browsing or working, the coffeehouse has great coffee, pastries, and vegetarian food.

107 E Ivinson St, Laramie, WY 82070, USA, +1 307-742-9028

Courtesy of Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse

Courtesy of Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse

And not forgetting…

Washington D.C.

Politics and Prose

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

5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA, +1 202-364-1919

Courtesy of Politics and Prose

Courtesy of Politics and Prose