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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
493 Prince Ave, Athens, GA 30601, USA, +1 706-352-2060
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Small but mighty, with a brilliant selection of literature about New Orleans.
513 Octavia St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA, +1 504-899-7323
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
6275 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130, USA, +1 314-862-6100
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
A Novel Idea Bookstore
A cozy bookstore with a knowledgeable owner and two friendly live-in cats.
118 N 14th St, Lincoln, NE 68508, USA, +1 402-475-8663
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
A quaint small town bookstore in downtown Portsmouth. They host frequent events and writing workshops.
142 Fleet St, Portsmouth, NH 03801, USA, +1 603-431-2100
A boutique bookstore which favors quality over quantity, ideal for finding books you’ve never heard of.
54 Fairfield St, Montclair, NJ 07043, USA, +1 973-744-7177
Accessibility & Audience:Family Friendly, Kid Friendly
Services & Activities:Independent
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
A store full of personality and with one of the best-designed bookshop cafes around.
52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012, USA, +1 212-274-1160
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
A wonderfully unique book, gifts, stationery, and accessories store.
The Learned Owl
A charming shop on three levels, with a great range of educational books and gifts.
204 N Main St, Hudson, OH 44236, USA, +1 330-653-2252
Full Circle Bookstore
This place is the stuff book-lovers dreams are made of, with countless nooks and corners to be discovered.
1900 Northwest Expy, Oklahoma City, OK 73118, USA, +1 405-842-2900
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.
1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, USA, +1 800-878-7323
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.
865 Lenape Rd, West Chester, PA 19382, USA, +1 610-696-0816
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
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
An atmospheric bookstore with a famous central staircase and lots of corners to discover.
Reading Rock Books
Small and sweet store in Dickson with books for children and adults, journals and an excellent selection of tote bags.
122 N Main St, Dickson, TN 37055, USA, +1 615-326-0401
Everything you could ask for in a neighborhood bookstore – great coffeeshop, interesting events, cozy sitting spots and excellent gift ideas.
603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78703, USA, +1 512-472-5050
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.
2 N Main St, Bountiful, UT 84010, USA, +1 801-292-2818
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
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
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
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
Mystery To Me
Ideal store to visit with kids; a great young readers section and friendly staff always on hand with advice.
1863 Monroe St, Madison, WI 53711, USA, +1 608-283-9332
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
And not forgetting…
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