The Best Independent Bookstores in Bloomington, Indiana

Books | © Caveat Emptor Used Books
Courtney Johnston

One of the unique attributes of Bloomington is the city’s commitment to shopping local. Book lovers will be extremely pleased to find incredible, independent outlets throughout this eclectic city. Bloomington’s bookstores encourage guests to unwind, peruse, and take a break from the fast-paced chaos of everyday life. From fiction to academic texts, these local bookstores offer an abundance of charm and unexpected treaures.

1. Caveat Emptor Used Books


Caveat Emptor | © Caveat Emptor Used Books
© Caveat Emptor Used Books

This famous used bookstore has been thriving in Bloomington for over 45 years. Located in the heart of this city, Caveat Emptor offers a quiet retreat for IU students or local residents. With thousands of hard-to-find academic books and rare first editions, there’s always a treasure waiting to be uncovered. Shoppers can also scan titles online in Caveat Emptor’s virtual “browsing room” before swinging by.

2. The Book Corner


The Book Corner | © The Book Corner
© The Book Corner

This longtime Bloomington staple has been serving the community for over 60 years. Visitors will find plenty of new and used titles, ranging from NY Times bestsellers to rare and unique texts, as well as an incredible children’s section. The Book Corner also carries a variety of local newspapers, restocked daily. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, their helpful staff will happily order it for you.

3. Boxcar Books


This local treasure is a non-profit, independent book shop, as well as community center serving the general population in Bloomington. They’re dedicated to promoting reading, education, equality, and welfare by allowing greater accessibility to literature and information. They host workshops throughout the year, as well as community events. They sell a variety of books and are actually the highest volume “zine” sellers in the entire country.

4. TIS College Bookstore


TIS Bookstore | © TIS College Bookstore
© TIS College Bookstore

It’s impossible to walk around Bloomington without showing your IU pride. TIS College Bookstore is a local shop that will help keep you well read and looking great. You’ll find a variety of fiction and nonfiction books, as well as textbooks, both new and used, and even rental options. This shop is also packed full of top school supplies, apparel, sportswear, and gifts for anyone who wants to support IU.

5. Academic Scholarly Bookstore


Serious readers will love this unique and no-frills academic reading resource located in the city. Academic Scholarly Bookstore offers exactly what it advertises: hard-to-find and rare academic texts, journals, and magazines for those working on dissertations, books, and articles. If you’re in need of a reliable source for your publication, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. They also buy new and used academic textbooks and reference books.

These local bookstores offer a quiet charm and whimsy to this Midwestern city. Of course, you’ll also find larger bookstores, if needed, including Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Half Price Books, as well as the Indiana University main bookstore.

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