If—in the age of Amazon—you’re still up for a day of paging through your local bookstore or enjoying a cup of coffee while poring over a new literary find, Cincinnati is a great place to be. From funky downtown walkups to neighborhood mainstays crammed with classics, Cincinnati still offers a variety of quality bookstores for all of your browsing needs. Check out our list of the best independent bookstores in Cincinnati to start shopping.
The sprawling Cincinnati Joseph-Beth Booksellers, one of several locations in the area, is home to two stories of books, music, and games. The picturesque store is made for browsing, and the desks and lamps offer ample opportunities for cozy afternoons. The on-site Bronte Bistro serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is a popular spot for business meetings. The bookstore is also home to a variety of events, from book signings and kids’ story times to appearances by celebrities and politicians.
If you have little ones yourself or need to buy a gift for a friend or relative, the award-winning Blue Manatee Children’s Bookstore is a great place to stop for books, toys, and games. And if you need an activity to do with your children or a niece or nephew, Blue Manatee hosts a variety of story times, special events, and author signings throughout the week. The store also has its own small children’s book press and creates book boxes, like the one you can see “in bloom” below (which make excellent holiday gifts for any kids in your life).
The booksellers at Duttenhofer’s have over 30 years of experience. The quaint store has been open in the Clifton Heights neighborhood since the 1970s and specializes in rare, hard-to-find, special edition, and out-of-print books. You can also bring your used books to sell here, or spend an afternoon working your way through the crowded bookshelves packed with rare gems. The store opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week.
Featuring local art and a variety of seating, Roebling Point Books and Coffee is the quintessential independent bookstore. The local coffee and espresso are reasonably priced, and locals especially appreciate the Cincinnati- and Covington-specific book selection. The travel selection here is also a neighborhood favorite, and a children’s section offers a variety of books for kids and young adults.
Located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio Book Store has a contemporary feel and five floors of books. The bookstore has a nearly 80-year history, and visitors sometimes stop by for the building alone and its gorgeous Gothic Revival architecture. Search for over 300,000 books and magazines here, from classics to special editions and rare books. Hard-to-find books are a specialty here, so book collectors consider the shop a treasure.