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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

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