The six independent bookstores on this list all have a distinct mission and environment, so no matter what kind of bookstore you prefer—cozy and classic, hop-focussed coffee, bright gift shop, or borderline warehouse—Charlotte has a bookstore for everyone.
Julia’s Cafe & Books
Seeking books with a side of goodwill? Visit Julia’s Cafe & Books, which makes up the fundraising arm of Charlotte’s Habitat for Humanity. Proceeds from each purchase, whether a rare used book, a cup of locally roasted coffee from Magnolia Coffee Company, or a nibble from their selection of sandwiches, salads, and locally sourced pastries, go directly to the non-profit. The cute lofted café and cheery space are smile-inducing, too!
The Last Word
Not just a bookstore, The Last Word also sells movies, video games, and music and is home to a coffee shop. All sorts of characters come through the doors, such as Magic: The Gathering role players, open mic performers, and hosted artists for their opening shows. Of course, plenty of book signings fill the calendar, too.
The Last Word, 5744 N Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 966 9673
Park Road Books
As the only independent bookstore in the city that stocks only new titles, Park Roads Books has been a beloved community pillar for over 40 years. Winning the number one spot as Charlotte’s best bookstore year after year, the cozy space has wooden rocking chairs, book club nook with couches and armchairs, and an old-school vibe that makes book-browsers feel welcomed.
Park Road Books, 4139 Park Road, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 525 9239
Arguably home to Charlotte’s best selection of used books, Book Buyers sits in a strip mall, but towering shelves of books await inside. Visitors will find unexpected sections, such as paranormal romance. Be sure to stop by the aviation section to see the in-progress rebuild of a 1940s plane model.
Book Buyers, 1306 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 344 8611
More gift store than a bookstore, Paper Skyscraper nevertheless has plenty of children’s books, trending titles, coffee table books, and cookbooks that will catch your eye. Candles, stationery, glassware, etc.—all kinds of home goods and décor make this store a great place to shop for friends and family and pick up a few things for yourself, too.
Paper Skyscraper, 330 East Boulevard, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 333 7130
The Book Rack
Add this bookstore to your itinerary if your goal is scooping up bargain books—The Book Rack has bargain racks with three-for-$1 deals. Yet, new titles are also available here, often for 20–50% off the publisher’s price. A few chairs reside inside, but most people browse, buy, and go.
The Book Rack, 10110 Johnston Road #5, Charlotte, NC, USA, +1 704 544 8006