The Best Bookshops in Louisville, Kentucky

Photo of Shyla Watson
9 February 2017

There aren’t many activities that transcend all ages, ethnicities, and cultures besides reading. The only thing that may differ is the genre or specific reading material. Luckily, bookshops offer hundreds of options. History buff looking for a war story? Parent teaching their child to read? No matter your interest, you can find the right book for you. Read our list to discover the best bookshops in Louisville.

Patron outside of Carmichael’s Bookstore | ©Independent We Stand/Flickr

Carmichael’s Bookstore

Louisville neighborhood staple

Carmichael’s Bookstore is the oldest independently owned bookshop in the Louisville area. Opened 30 years ago, the business is family owned and operated, and there are now three separate locations in town. The stores are small and intimate, creating a cozy atmosphere that book-lovers are sure to enjoy. Everyone from moms to grandfathers to college students enjoy the space, which is open every day from morning until night. Check out some of the events or join one of their popular book clubs.

Book Aisle | ©Germán Poo-Caamaño/Flickr

A Reader’s Corner

Used Bookstore with collectables

If you’re a collector, A Reader’s Corner is the place for you. Established in 1997, this Louisville bookshop stocks rare and out-of-print books that you can’t find anywhere else, and they sell new and used books as well. Walk in between the shelves and discover stories of fiction, history, biography, mystery, religion, and more. If there’s something you want that you don’t see on site, they’ll order it special just for you. The store is very child-friendly and they often host readings for kids on the weekends. Be on the look out for frequent book signings and other events.

Buy, Sell, and Trade Sign | ©debaird™/Flickr

Book & Music Exchange

Eclectic neighborhood shop

Think of Book & Music Exchange as a library and pawn shop rolled into one. The store operates on a buy, sell, and trade system. If you buy a book and don’t like it, you can exchange it for something else, or just sell it altogether and get money in return. The best part about BME is that it isn’t just limited to books. They stock music in many forms, including CDs and vinyl, and they also have board games, video games, comic books, and movies. The people that work there are friendly and down to earth, and so are many of the patrons that visit. It’s a great place for the community to share and discover new things with each other.

Books-A-Million Mall Location | ©brewbooks/Flickr


Wide selection of new books

Louisville, Kentucky is a charming town with a lot of locally owned and operated business that support the friendly, small-town atmosphere. However, larger stores that may not be independently owned, can still add something to a community. Books-A-Million may have many stores across the nation, but there’s only one in Louisville, and it’s a large bookstore where you can find a wide selection of brand new books. The store has a few comfortable chairs to sit in while you peruse the selection. Get all the newest bestsellers or discover new writers you may love. The store is nice and roomy, so you can spend hours wandering around and getting lost in the stories.

Books | ©Jeremy Piehler/Flickr

All Booked Up

Adorable Louisville shop

All Booked Up is everything that a bookstore should be. The independent store is a mom-and-pop shop that opened in 1992, when a husband and wife team converted an old two-story house into a timeless bookshop. They sell all kinds of books, something in every genre. Like many other bookstores in the area, they specialize in rare and out-of-print reads. In the back of the store, they have a section of books that are all $5 or less for the bargain shoppers out there. The location, the friendly staff, and selection make All Booked Up a great experience for book lovers.

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