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Opinion: Why Bother with Local Bookshops? Suzy Howlett’s Success Story
- January 8, 2018
The charming Hunting Raven Bookshop in Frome, Somerset
While most indie authors will at some point have dreamed of getting their self-published books on the shelves of their local bookstore, many bypass that route to customers because it can be hard to make it economically viable, even if you do manage to persuade the management to stock it.
This case study by English novelist Suzy Howlett makes it clear that it is possible to place your book successfully and profitably, provided that it's a good match for the store's clientele, and that you build a great working relationship with its owners.
While her success has so far been with a single store, it has given her the confidence and credibility to continue her campaign further afield. Read her lively post to glean whether her example might also translate for you and your books.
Neil and Suzy, all set for their book signing at The Hunting Raven Bookshop
When my husband Neil and I self-published Return to Kirrin , our take on Enid Blyton’s hugely popular Famous Five series for children – in our book they are forty-somethings with families of their own, in Thatcher’s Britain – we planned to launch it at our local independent bookshop, The Hunting Raven , in the English country town of Frome, Somerset, of which we’d been customers for thirty years .
At that first exhilirating evening event , we signed and sold 21 copies of the 250 we’d bought as stock for handselling. As a result of that success, the manager, who liked our book a lot, booked me for a signing on a Saturday . How many books did local authors usually sell? we asked. Between 3 and 12 in the first month, and the odd one here and there after that. I went home to learn how to make invoices, wondering whether 250 books had been a mistake.
Making the Most of a Book Signing Opportunity
The inviting Interior of the Hunting Raven Bookshop
The signing began. I had a pile of books, my best pen, and a determined smile.
It was mid-November, and the first two customers walked straight to the till to order bestsellers and hurried out. 55 minutes left of my allotted hour.
Number Three made for the maps at the back of the shop and scowled at me on the way. I tried brightening my smile, which was a mistake.
Four and Five picked up orders in a hurry, Six had a yelling baby and Seven delivered the post. 46 minutes left.
The shop assistant brought me a cup of tea, and smiled kindly. Eight looked more promising: in her fifties, browsing adult fiction, the right demographic. I relaxed my grin, as my jaws were aching, then re-applied it less manically. Here goes.
“Hello,” I said to Eight. “Did you enjoy the Famous Five when you were little?”
“No, I certainly did not,” she replied, crossly. That told me.
“Ah, probably not the book for you, then,” I apologised to her back. But Nine had come into the shop a moment before, and overheard my effort. She might have been Eight’s sister, so similar did she seem, but she approached my little table. Voluntarily. Of her Own Free Will.
“I loved them,” she said.
“I think you’ll like this, then,” I suggested. “Did you wonder how they might have grown up, after all that fame? Er, are you old enough to remember 1979?”
Reader, she bought it! Not a loyal friend, but a stranger shelling out for our book.
40 minutes to go. Ten, an elderly man, came to see what we were talking about. I did my spiel, and proffered a copy.
“Which character did you want to be as a child?” I added.
“Timmy the dog!” he laughed, reading the blurb. “I’ll take two. I bet you’ll sell loads!”
Gosh, I liked him a lot. As he left, I called after him, “I hope you enjoy the books!” Now that was a good move. The customer coming in past him ambled over to see what I was talking about. She bought one. As she queued at the till, three more people came into the shop. 30 minutes to go, and now I knew what to do .
“Enjoy the book!” I said to the queue at the till, very distinctly, because I was learning that nothing generates interest like seeing other people’s interest. Add a question to get a discussion going, and suddenly you’re in business.
In the last half-hour I sold a dozen books to a surprisingly wide demographic, including a white-whiskered chap who’d been a police sergeant in 1979 and remembered the astonishing police-training handbook we quote in the novel.
Return to Kirrin outsold everything that day – 16 copies in an hour.
Please would I leave five extra copies for stock and do more signings? Would I!
The Second Signing Event
The appealing Hunting Raven logo
At the second signing, 21 copies sold. Our book was put in the window, next to the Private Eye Annual (a British satirical magazine's yearbook), and also facing out with the Ladybird and Famous Five spoofs (although it’s a novel).
Copies began to sell when I wasn’t there.
I delivered emergency stock, straight from work. Placement is king!
Sixteen days after our launch a gratifying e-mail from the bookshop told us that Return to Kirrin was their best-selling book of November .
Continuing Success at Local Level
Neil and Suzy Howlett, joint authors of their first book ‘Return to Kirrin' (Photo © Tim Gander)
I managed three more signings before Christmas (as much as the day job permitted) and loved them, behaving like a member of staff, recommending books for reluctant eight-year-olds, and showing people where to find the craft section. For the second month, Return to Kirrin was the best-seller in the shop – in the prestigious Christmas sales, too. Eat your heart out, Philip Pullman!
In our own little way, we were best-selling authors!
The pile of 250 books is down to fewer than 50, just six weeks after our launch, most of them sold at The Hunting Raven. We haven’t conquered the world, only our little town, but we’ve proved that IF they get to hear about it, people want to read Return to Kirrin , and it’s being enjoyed by a hundred-and-something strangers who didn’t know they wanted it until they saw it and handled it. It’s potentially commercial.
But I believe that none would have stumbled across the book, which was kept originally in the Local Author section, had I not been there to learn the business of signing and engaging.
The staff have said “This is phenomenal, and if you could be in every bookshop this book could be a national best-seller”. That, my fellow writers, feels strange and wonderful, and now I am itching to give it a wider chance. Thank you, Hunting Raven.
CHECKLIST FOR A SUCCESSFUL BOOK SIGNING EVENT
- Sit in a very visible part of the shop if possible.
- Use an A4 display stand with your book cover and some quotes to attract attention.
- Catch people’s eyes and talk to them – ask them questions – but don’t pester if they’re not interested. THIS INTERACTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT BIT.
- Generate interest by letting other customers overhear you talking to those who have just bought your book – they will see that someone has been attracted to it, which is interesting.
- If there’s nobody near your table, look very busy signing copies.
- Have some promo postcards/bookmarks to give out as they may generate sales in the future.
- Sound interested – in other people and in your book. If you’re not interested, why should anyone else be?
- Talk widely and generously – I recommended books by other authors, and used my knowledge as a teacher to help grandparents make choices for Christmas. One or two then bought our book, too.
- Be ambitious – I ran out of books a couple of times, so take plenty.
- Keep supporting your local bookshop – they are very wonderful places.
OVER TO YOU If you've built a successful relationship with your local indie bookstore, do you have any top tips to add to Suzy's experience? Cautionary tales also welcome!
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT WORKING WITH BOOKSTORES
Ebook available as free download to ALLi members, and for non-members to buy from all the usual retail channels
Read ALLi's guidebook, How to Get Your Self-publishing Book into Bookstores , for a detailed analysis of how bookstores operate and of the possibilities and constraints for indie authors. While we do not advocate that this route is right for every indie author, we believe that it's important to make an informed decision before you embrace or dismiss it for your books.
OTHER INSPIRING POSTS ABOUT BRICKS-AND-MORTAR BOOKSTORES From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive
Sunday Success Stories: P.J. Boox – the All-Indie Bookstore
Book Marketing: How I Found Success in a Bookstore – A Case Study by Jonathan Hope
Working with Bookstores: A Case Study with Dianne Gardner
Author: Suzy Howlett
Suzy Howlett is a teacher and features writer for educational magazine "Little Things", and her husband and co-author Neil is a lawyer in a practice in Frome, Somerset, where they live and where they have established a long relationship with their local bookshop, The Hunting Raven. "Return to Kirrin" is their first book, published via SilverWood Books. You can find out more via their Facebook page, @ReturntoKirrin .
Thank you for sharing your story Suzy. I think you have changed my mind about doing a book signing at the local bookshop when my children’s book is released this March. Being my first book I was nervous that nobody would be interested. Your story has definitely encouraged me.
What a great story! Thank you for the advice! I hope to do a signing myself, so I really appreciate the tips! 🙂
I’m so happy you have had a great experience with a local book store! This is very promising!! My books are in Independent Stores but none near me because we don’t have any. But, I did have a book signing at our local Barnes & Nobel and it went well. I’m hoping to set up another one this spring. I will do my best to be outgoing and charming like you seem to be!
Actually our local bookshop does all those 10 tips for us. Sets up the table, a sign and tells people who buy at the till to go and look. We converse all the time as the table is opposite the one and only till.
My main point would be to establish the good relationship FIRST even some years before.
This year I bought all my Christmas presents via my local bookshop, emailing the ideas as they were sent to me and going in to collect and pay once a week. We could all do that!
Excellent, Di. Sounds like your bookshop is special, too. We bought most of our Christmas presents in the bookshop, and virtually everything locally. I agree about establishing the link well in advance. We are lucky to have had links with The Hunting Raven for thirty years!
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The Case Study Handbook, Revised Edition: A Student's Guide
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Publication Date: September 18, 2018
If you're enrolled in an MBA or executive education program, you've probably encountered a powerful learning tool: the business case. But if you're like many people, you may find interpreting and writing about cases mystifying and time-consuming. In "The Case Study Handbook, Revised Edition," William Ellet presents a potent new approach for efficiently analyzing, discussing, and writing about cases. Early chapters show how to classify cases according to the analytical task they require (making a decision, performing an evaluation, or diagnosing a problem) and quickly establish a base of knowledge about a case. Strategies and templates, in addition to several sample Harvard Business School cases, help you apply the author's framework. Later in the book, Ellet shows how to write persuasive case-analytical essays based on the process laid out earlier. Examples of effective writing further reinforce the methods. The book also includes a chapter on how to talk about cases more effectively in class. Any current or prospective MBA or executive education student needs this guide.
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Bookstore: The Latest Architecture and News
Muda-architects wins "the most beautiful bookstore in chengdu" competition.
With 486 applicants and 249 conceptual plans received, MUDA-Architects stood out from the 20 finalists and won the first prize in "The Most Beautiful Bookstore in Chengdu" competition. The competition was sponsored by the Chengdu Tianfu New Area Investment Group, China Southwest Architectural Design and Research Institute, and co-sponsored by Chengdu Yi Zhu Yi Shi Culture Communication Ltd.
- Read more »
Space 4 Architecture's Proposed Bookstore in Chengdu, China Embodies Floating Water Lilies
Space 4 Architecture 's (S4A) proposal for a bookstore in Chengdu , China reflects the poetic beauty of floating lilies on water. The architects describe the project as a “permeable cultural container” that allows and encourages visitor interaction with the surrounding landscape. The design consists of a series of indoor and outdoor spaces that weave together a gentle intervention that mirrors and enhances the natural scenery it sits within.
Longshang Books Cafe / atelier mearc
- Architects: atelier mearc
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 188 m²
- Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2017
- Professionals: Compass Façade Consultant , Mischen Lighting Design , Sanjiang MEP Consulting , Shanghai ZhuAn Construction Development Co.LTD
Xi’an Zhongshu Bookstore / Wutopia Lab
- Architects: Wutopia Lab
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 1886 m²
- Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2018
- Professionals: Shaanxi FuLei Decoration Design Engineering Co.Ltd. , TOPOS DESIGN CLANS
Call Me MOSAIC Bookstore / TurtleHill
- Architects: TurtleHill
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 157 m²
Yanjiyou Bookstore / Karv One
- Architects: Karv One
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 3200 m²
- Professionals: Sichuan Minli Architectural Decoration Design Engineering Co.Ltd
Atelier Global Wins Competition to Design 'Book City' in Shenzhen
Atelier Global has been announced as the winners of a competition for the architectural and interior design of 'Shenzhen Book City ,' a library and public gathering space located at the heart of the Long Hua arts district, becoming a part of the greater contemporary and historic fabric of art centers, public parks and urban typologies.
Zhongshuge Bookstore / X+Living
- Interior Designers: X+Living
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 1000 m²
Zhongshuge Bookstore / Li Xiang
- Architects: Li Xiang
- Year Completion year of this architecture project Year: 2016
Yangzhou Zhongshuge / Li Xiang
Reedom Bookstore / Cao Pu
- Architects: Cao Pu
- Area Area of this architecture project Area: 60 m²
Livraria da Vila / Isay Weinfeld
Brazilian architecture has produced interesting works in the business/retail area, often limited to just interior design. Recent works by Marcio Kogan , Marcelo Alvarango or Tao Arquitetura are good examples of a tradition that, in my personal opinion, has a peak at Mendes da Rocha’s Forma store in Sao Paulo . If you ever go to Sao Paulo to visit local architecture, don´t be afraid of your girlfriend/wife taking you to shopping, there´s lots to see there.
Leonardo Finotti shared with us an interesting project by local architect Isay Weinfeld that is up to this brazilian standard, the Libraria da Vila bookstore in Sao Paulo. An hermetic volume with a pivoting book facade contains an interesting space filled with books distributed over 3 levels as you can see on the photos:
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A case study about designing simple database system for a bookstore. This repository contains ERD design and SQL codes for design of bookstore database system. The main purpose of this system is to build database system for bookstore.
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📚 case study - database bookstore 📚.
using SQL 🔩
📃 Table of Contents:
- About Project
- Business Rules
- Normalization Process
- Data Dictionary
- Database Schema
🖋 About Project:
👉 A database built for e-bookstore case studies. 👉 The database built using SQL in Microsoft SQL Server 18 .
The availability of books and reading material for purchase within the University is quite inadequate. Although the university library has vast collection of books (both hardcopy and e-books), the availability of it is quite limited and bound by many restrictions. Student and staffs only have the option of a small bookshop within the enterprise. Larger books store in the city are often sought for other varieties. In view of the growing population, the university is planning to establish an e-bookstore. The online store will facilitate the purchase of latest books and material of many genres. Your team is assigned the project to design a database system for online University e-Bookstore System. • Publishers of books frequently send lists of latest books and materials to the e-bookstore manager. The bookstore manager compiles a list of needed books and sends an order to the publishers. The publisher supplies the ordered books to the university. The bookstore manager records the details of a new book, along with the number of the books that have arrived at the bookstore. An invoice is sent to the accounts department to be processed and payment made. • Customers, who wish to purchase books online, need to initially register as members. Members will be able to view the book, read reviews and compare the online products with other similar articles. • Members who wish to purchase can select their books into the website’s shopping cart. The cart will show the summary of the selection and total cost to be paid. Once the payment is made, the customer will be able to print or save the receipts. The bookstore will send the books to the customers within 7 working days. • The system should manage information about books in the bookstore, inventory, (registered) customers and books they have ordered. It should also store information about user opinions and book ratings. • Users can also provide 'feedback' for a book, as a score (1-10 which is 0= terrible, 10= masterpiece) along with optional short text. No changes are allowed; only one feedback per user per book is allowed.
📋 ERD Design:
📑 Business Rules:
- A publisher can have only one invoice , invoice is made by publisher by the end of the month.
- An invoice can be associated with one or many orders , one order can only be associated with one invoice .
- A publisher can have one or many orders .
- An order can be associated with one or many order detail .
- An employee can manage one or many orders .
- A book can be associated with one or many order detail .
- A publisher can publish one or many books .
- A book can have only one category .
- A member can only give one feedback for each book .
- A book can have one or many feedbacks .
- A member can have one or many carts .
- A cart can be associated with one or many cart detail .
- A book can be associated with one or many cart detail .
- A cart has only one receipt .
⚙ Normalization Process:
- Feedback Form
- Invoice Form
- 1NF - Part 1
- 1NF - Part 2
- 2NF - Part 1
- 2NF - Part 2
- 2NF - Part 3
- 3NF - Part 1
- 3NF - Part 2
- 3NF - Part 3
📗 Data Dictionary:
👉 Based on normalization process, below are the screenshot of data dictionaries:
- Data Dictionary - Part 1
- Data Dictionary - Part 2
📝 Database Schema:
👉 Database schema generated by Microsoft SQL Server 18 .
🙌 Support me!
👉 If you find this project useful, please ⭐ this repository 😆 !
👉 More about myself: here
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The Booker-shortlisted author of His Bloody Project blurs the lines between patient and therapist, fiction and documentation, and reality and dark imagination.
London, 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
In Case Study , Graeme Macrae Burnet presents these notebooks interspersed with his own biographical research into Collins Braithwaite. The result is a dazzling—and often wickedly humorous—meditation on the nature of sanity, identity and truth itself, by one of the most inventive novelists writing today.
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New ITU case study maps the Moscow ‘smart city’ journey
Moscow reports experience with Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities
A new ITU case study offers an evaluation of Moscow’s progress in meeting the objectives of its ‘smart city’ strategies and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The case study , Implementing ITU-T International Standards to Shape Smart Sustainable Cities: The Case of Moscow , was undertaken using the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Smart Sustainable Cities developed by the United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) initiativ e .
The ITU case study traces Moscow’s smart city journey from its origins in Moscow’s Information City strategy launched in 2011 to its successor the Smart Moscow 2030 strategy. It highlights the role of Moscow’s Government in coordinating the implementation of a wide array of smart city projects in the city and how these projects have substantially improved the quality of life for city residents. The report assesses Moscow’s smart city performance using U4SSC indicators that measure impact on three dimensions: the economy, environment and society & culture.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is a recognized key contributor to the Moscow economy. Building on its strengths and maintaining ICTs as a strategic lever, Moscow has adopted vibrant policies for ICT development and proliferation. These aspects are clearly reflected in the good performance by Moscow, as presented in the report, within the sub-dimensions of “ICT” and “Productivity”.
The case study also serves as a valuable reference point to other cities in Russia and Commonwealth of Independent State countries – as well as to cities around the world pursuing greater efficiency and sustainability. ITU standardization experts responsible for the refinement of the Key Performance Indicators will also find the case study to be valuable.
RELATED: Dubai reports results from implementing ITU’s Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities
“Home to more than 12 million people, Moscow is the largest urban area on the European continent,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “Considering the size of Moscow and its population, this case study offers a unique set of lessons learned for other cities around the world developing a ‘smart city’ strategy. I commend Moscow’s leaders for their efforts to share these experiences and this knowledge with the international community, towards creating a ‘smart’ world for everyone, everywhere.”
“Moscow has made a rapid smart city journey from 2011 and we are keen on keeping up with the pace. No matter whether it is Moscow, Singapore or Barcelona – every city has the same task to make their residents’ lives enjoyable, safe and comfortable,” said Strategy and Innovations Advisor to the Chief Information Officer of Moscow, Andrey Belozerov. “We are happy to contribute to this research as it is important to develop universal metrics to access city performances all around the world.”
The findings of the case study will feed into the work of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 20 , the expert group leading the development of ITU standards for the Internet of Things and smart cities. These standards assist in optimizing the application of ICTs within smart cities, in addition to supporting efficient data processing and management.
RELATED: New ITU case study shares insight into Singapore’s ‘Smart Nation’ strategy
The findings will also be taken up by the U4SSC initiative, which advocates for public policy to ensure that ICTs, and ICT standards in particular, play a definitive role in the transition to Smart Sustainable Cities. U4SSC also promotes the adoption of international standards in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the reporting of associated experiences.
The Moscow case study follows prior smart city case studies of Dubai and Singapore. These have made valuable smart cities experiences and knowledge available to other cities around the world. This reporting also solicits feedback that helps cities to refine their smart city strategies.
U4SSC has developed a ‘Collection methodology for the Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities’ to guide cities in their collection of core data and information necessary to assess their progress in becoming a Smart Sustainable City. It is supported by 16 United Nations bodies, including ITU, and is open to the participation of all stakeholders interested in driving smart city innovation.
The collaboration encouraged by U4SSC has led more than 50 cities to measure their smart city strategies using the U4SSC’s KPIs for Smart Sustainable Cities, which are based on the ITU international standard, ITU Y.4903/L.1603 “Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities to assess the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals” .
This ITU News story was originally distributed as an ITU press release. For more ITU press releases, see the ITU Media Centre .
New itu standards for optical transport up to 800 gigabits per second, u4ssc – verification report – anyang, korea (republic of), itu journal shares new research on the metaverse and ai for accessibility.
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The Best Bookstores in All 50 States
By mentalfloss .com | mar 25, 2019 | updated: apr 29, 2023, 9:28 am edt.
From their resident cats to that old book smell , there’s something about wandering up and down the aisles of a brick-and-mortar bookstore that online merchants could never replicate. In honor of Independent Bookstore Day (April 29, 2023), Mental Floss has picked the best bookshop in every state—plus a few others we loved, too.
1. The Best Bookstore in Alabama: Alabama Booksmith // Homewood, Alabama
One of the Birmingham area’s hidden gems, the Alabama Booksmith is a unique delight for book-lovers and collectors alike. Since a remodel in 2012, the shop has featured an inventory consisting exclusively of signed book copies. The store has another special touch, too: Every book is displayed face-out so that customers can more easily discern whether or not something is right for them.
Other Alabama Bookstores We Love: Reed Books (Birmingham), Page & Palette (Fairhope)
2. The Best Bookstore in Alaska: Title Wave Books // Anchorage, Alaska
The cleverly named Title Wave Books is not only the largest bookstore in Alaska , but also one of the biggest used bookstores in the entire country. In addition to its massive catalog of over 500,000 books, the store houses many vinyl records, audiobooks, and DVDs. And if for some reason you aren't interested in checking out the books, the store also has a host of events including Scrabble and chess nights.
Other Alaska Bookstores We Love: The Writer’s Block (Anchorage), Homer Bookstore (Homer)
3. The Best Bookstore in Arizona: Changing Hands Bookstore // Phoenix & Tempe, Arizona
With locations in both Phoenix and Tempe, Changing Hands Bookstore encompasses the best of Arizona literature. The Tempe location has been in business since 1974, and its success allowed them to open their second store in a repurposed restaurant in central Phoenix. The Phoenix location is home to the must-visit First Draft Book Bar—after all, how often you can be served booze at a bookstore?
Other Arizona Bookstores We Love: Antigone Books (Tucson)
4. The Best Bookstore in Arkansas: Dickson St. Bookshop // Fayetteville, Arkansas
A community favorite located only a short distance away from the University of Arkansas campus, Dickson St. Bookshop features a plethora of literary classics and much more. With thousands of books onsite, it's frequently named not just one of the best bookstores in Arkansas, but also one of the best in the nation.
Other Arkansas Bookstores We Love: WordsWorth Books & Co (Little Rock)
5. The Best Bookstore in California: Green Apple Books // San Francisco, California
Competition for San Francisco ’s book lovers is fierce—the city is also home to famous independent bookstores like City Lights—but Green Apple Books remains a beloved local luminary. The store has grown over the decades to occupy a two-story, sprawling space in the city’s Richmond District. Filled with books both new and used, the store sells not just hardback literature, but e-books and audiobooks, magazines, LPs, and more. In 2014, it expanded its wares to a second location, Green Apple Books on the Park, located near Golden Gate Park. Online, it offers services like the Apple-a-Month Club, which sends subscribers a new fiction paperback each month, while its two stores host readings by local writers and literary legends alike.
Other California Bookstores We Love: City Lights Bookstore (San Francisco), The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles), Book Soup (Los Angeles), Time Tested Books (Sacramento), Chaucer’s Bookstore (Santa Barbara)
6. The Best Bookstore in Colorado: Tattered Cover // Denver, Colorado
Since its opening in 1971, Denver’s storied Tattered Cover has been through numerous transformations: moving locations, opening satellites, adding cafes, and, at one point, having a (since closed) restaurant and bar. Considered one of the most successful independent bookstores in the country, it now sells new and used books at multiple outposts in Denver and Littleton, Colorado. You can find international bestsellers alongside indie literature and a wide range of used volumes. It hosts writing workshops, book clubs, literary readings, film screenings, and storytime for kids, and in 2019, launched the one-day Colorado Book and Arts Festival.
Other Colorado Bookstores We Love: Book Cranny (Arvada), Boulder Bookstore (Boulder), Capitol Hill Books (Denver)
7. The Best Bookstore in Connecticut: R.J. Julia Booksellers // Madison, Connecticut
R.J. Julia has been one of Connecticut's premier book destinations for decades, and for good reason. Named one of New England magazine’s “Best Bookstores to Spend the Day” in 2018, the Madison-based bookstore features a large selection of books and gifts, knowledgeable staff, and a great cafe. It's more than just a place to stop by and grab a new paperback, though. The store hosts more than 300 events every year, and owner Roxanne J. Coady is dedicated to finding every reader their perfect book. In 2009, she launched Just the Right Book, a personalized book-of-the-month subscription service, and recently expanded it to include a Just the Right Book podcast that features interviews between Coady and bestselling authors. If you can't stop by the store in person, we recommend using R.J. Julia’s “What’s Your Perfect Next Read” online quiz to find your new favorite book.
Other Connecticut Bookstores We Love: Hickory Stick Bookshop (Washington Depot), Byrd’s Books (Bethel)
8. The Best Bookstore in Delaware: Browseabout Books // Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Founded in 1975, Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is a local legend—so much so that the company's 40th anniversary party was attended by Delaware’s governor and multiple state senators. In 1992, Browseabout took over a former open-air mall that once housed seven stores and evolved to sell gifts, toys, and stationery alongside books and a coffee bar. Poets.org lists it as one of its favorite poetry-friendly bookstores, while writer Anna March extolled its virtues in the literary journal Tin House in 2013, calling it “a thing to behold—best sellers and beach books, yes, but also a strong kids section; travel books and literary fiction with an extensive back catalog; books by local authors; and a selection of essays, poetry, plays.”
Other Delaware Bookstores We Love: Bethany Beach Books (Bethany Beach)
9. The Best Bookstore in Florida: Books & Books at The Studios of Key West // Key West, Florida
There are several locations of Books & Books, which has stores around South Florida (and one in the Cayman Islands), but the Key West affiliate of the chain has a special place in book lovers' hearts for one reason: It's the only store that was founded by Judy Blume and her husband, George Cooper. Located in a former Masonic Temple that now serves as a nonprofit arts space, it's just what you would expect from a bookstore owned by a literary luminary. The store is designed with readers in mind, with reading lights and a curated selection of literary fiction, poetry, art books, magazines, and new bestsellers, plus an entire room devoted to professional-grade art supplies. Oh, and it's perhaps the only bookstore where you can get book recommendations straight from the mouth of Judy Blume .
Other Florida Bookstores We Love: Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore (Delray Beach)
10. The Best Bookstore in Georgia: Charis Books // Atlanta, Georgia
Charis Books And More has been around in the Atlanta metro area since 1974, making it the oldest independent feminist bookstore in the southern United States. Charis’s inventory is stocked with books that fall into diverse categories, like LGBTQ fiction and non-fiction , food issues and body image, anti-ableism, race, and reproductive rights. As part of its mission to support local, independent authors, Charis encourages writers of all backgrounds to request to have their books sold in the store. The shop also hosts about 270 literary, social justice, and educational events a year.
Other Georgia Bookstores We Love: Book Nook (Decatur), Avid Bookshop (Athens), A Cappella Books (Atlanta)
11. The Best Bookstore in Hawaii: Talk Story Bookstore // Hanapepe, Kauai
The westernmost bookstore in the United States, Talk Story Bookstore has over 150,000 new, used, and out-of-print titles to choose from, whether it’s mysteries or Hawaiiana. As the only bookstore on Kauai, it's a much-loved community resource, and patrons praise its friendly owners, Ed Justus and Cynthia Lynn, who have been in business since 2004.
Other Hawaii Bookstores We Love: da Shop: books + curiosities (Honolulu), BookEnds (Kailua)
12. The Best Bookstore in Idaho: Rediscovered Books // Boise, Idaho
Founded in 2006, Rediscovered Books is known as the go-to community bookstore for literature geeks. With multiple book clubs and a litany of special events ranging from author signings to their so-called “infamous” Book & Booze nights, there's sure to be a reading group to meet any adult special interest.
Other Idaho Bookstores We Love: The Well-Read Moose (Coeur d’Alene), BookPeople of Moscow (Moscow)
13. The Best Bookstore in Illinois: Anderson’s Bookshop // Naperville, Illinois
A beloved part of the Naperville, Illinois, community since 1875, Anderson’s Bookshop is still operated by fifth-generation descendants of the original founders. It's a hub for author events, book clubs, children's reading activities, and a huge selection of books. Catch the monthly staff picks of new and older titles to really diversify your to-be-read pile .
Other Illinois Bookstores We Love: Bookman’s Corner (Chicago), The Book Cellar (Chicago)
14. The Best Bookstore in Indiana: Hyde Brothers // Ft. Wayne, Indiana
Hyde Brothers claims to be “Indiana‘s best-loved bookstore,” and who are we to argue? This charming secondhand bookshop brims with titles jostling for space on floor-to-ceiling shelves. There are plenty of step stools and rolling ladders to help you find what you crave among the store's specialties—history, literature, nature, sports, horror, religion, and more. And while you're there, don't forget to pet Scout and Sherlock , the bookshop’s two kitties.
Other Indiana Bookstores We Love: Indy Reads Books (Indianapolis), Main Street Books (Lafayette)
15. The Best Bookstore in Iowa: The Haunted Bookshop // Iowa City, Iowa
Spoiler alert: This secondhand bookshop isn’t actually haunted (it’s named after the Christopher Morley novel of the same name). While that may be disappointing, the shop’s inventory definitely isn’t. Spread over 10 rooms in an 1847 mansion, the collection spans fiction, world cultures and history, art and writing, regional history, science and nature, and much more.
Other Iowa Bookstores We Love: Source Book Store (Davenport)
16. The Best Bookstore in Kansas: Rainy Day Books // Kansas City, Kansas
The first stop for authors and their fans in Kansas City is usually Rainy Day Books . The shop was one of the first in the U.S. to focus on author events to create a community around books and reading, and today, it has one of the busiest schedules in the country. That’s in addition to a selection of books and staff picks featuring emerging writers as well as bestsellers.
Other Kansas Bookstores We Love: Watermark Books and Cafe (Wichita), The Raven Bookstore (Lawrence)
17. The Best Bookstore in Kentucky: Joseph-Beth Booksellers // Lexington, Kentucky
Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington is a literary treasure trove. JB, as it's called locally, has six outlets in both Kentucky and Ohio, but the Lexington branch is perhaps the most beautiful one. Grab a book and a bite to eat from the store’s Brontë Bistro , and enjoy the atmosphere as natural light filters into the building through a skylight in the high, vaulted ceiling.
Other Kentucky Bookstores We Love: Carmichael’s Bookstore (Louisville)
18. The Best Bookstore in Louisiana: Faulkner House Books // New Orleans, Louisiana
It’s only fitting that As I Lay Dying author William Faulkner’s former apartment in New Orleans was converted into a bookstore. Located on Pirate‘s Alley in the historic French Quarter, Faulkner House Books is just as charming as you’d expect. Naturally, you’ll find a number of Faulkner titles on the store’s wooden shelves, but the outlet also specializes in Modern First Editions, Southern Americana books, and the works of Tennessee Williams and Walker Percy.
Other Louisiana Bookstores We Love: Garden District Book Shop (New Orleans)
19. The Best Bookstore in Maine: Longfellow Books // Portland, Maine
Portland has been called the “ hippest city ” in Maine, so it‘s perhaps no surprise that the coastal town is home to roughly a half-dozen indie bookstores. If you only have time to visit one, though, make it Longfellow Books . Named after Portland native Henry Wadsworth Longfellow , the store hosts regular book launches and poetry readings, and always features an array of diverse staff picks .
Other Maine Bookstores We Love: Owl & Turtle Bookshop Café (Camden), Annie’s Book Stop (Wells), Gulf of Maine Books (Brunswick)
20. The Best Bookstore in Maryland: Second Story Books // Rockville, Maryland
Second Story Books ’s cavernous warehouse in this Washington, D.C. suburb is crammed with used books, rare volumes, antiquarian collections, art and antiques, and much more, all arranged in delightfully specific categories (Byzantine studies or polar exploration, anyone?). Be ready to hunt for buried treasure at 50 percent off the cover price. There’s another, smaller location in D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, too.
Other Maryland Bookstores We Love: The Book Escape (Baltimore), Normal’s Books and Records (Baltimore)
21. The Best Bookstore in Massachusetts: Trident Booksellers & Cafe // Boston, Massachusetts
With so many colleges in the state, it makes sense that Massachusetts also has an impressive array of bookstores to cater to all those students. Trident Booksellers & Cafe not only has great books, but something that’s just as essential to college kids: A cafe that's open until 10 p.m. and serves breakfast all day. After grabbing a meal or coffee, guests can browse the books and one of the most impressive magazine selections in the city.
Other Massachusetts Bookstores We Love: Raven Used Books (Cambridge), Titcomb’s Bookshop (East Sandwich), Grolier Poetry Book Shop (Cambridge)
22. The Best Bookstore in Michigan: John K. King Used and Rare Books // Detroit, Michigan
Book lovers could easily spend all day at John K. King Used and Rare Books in Detroit. The store houses more than a million books spread over four stories, with 25,000 volumes in the rare books room alone. Don’t let the intimidating size stop you from popping in: Staff members hand out maps to guests as soon as they enter.
Other Michigan Bookstores We Love: Brilliant Books (Traverse City), Kazoo Books (Kalamazoo)
23. The Best Bookstore in Minnesota: Wild Rumpus // Minneapolis, Minnesota
Though the inventory here might be geared toward younger readers , it would be hard for any true book lover to pass up a visit to this charming shop that takes its name from Where the Wild Things Are . Opened in 1992, Wild Rumpus endeavors to be more than just a bookstore—it hopes to turn curious kids into lifelong readers by featuring virtual bilingual story times and book clubs for various age groups. You’ll also find an array of animals at the store, including a cockatiel named Dave and a kitten named Eartha Kitt. It’s hardly surprising that the store was named Publishers Weekly’ s Bookstore of the Year in 2017 (or that it was the first children’s store to ever achieve that honor).
Other Minnesota Bookstores We Love: Birchbark Books (Minneapolis), Magers & Quinn Booksellers (Minneapolis), Sweet Reads (Austin)
24. The Best Bookstore in Mississippi: Square Books // Oxford, Mississippi
“Four stores on five floors in three buildings 100 feet apart,” boasts Oxford’s Square Books . All located at the historic town square, the main bookstore holds court in an older building with a block-long second-level balcony. They also have a separate children’s bookstore and “Off Square Books,” a full store for lifestyle books (cooking, travel, photography, etc.) and bargain buys. The most recent addition to the club, Rare Square Books, opened in September 2019 and features hard-to-find first editions and other vintage items. Along with the usual author events, Square hosts Thacker Mountain Radio , a live weekly show that features both literary and musical talent—it's no wonder Publishers Weekly named Square Books their Bookstore of the Year in 2013.
Other Mississippi Bookstores We Love: Lemuria Books (Jackson)
25. The Best Bookstore in Missouri: Left Bank Books // St. Louis, Missouri
Founded in 1969 by a group of Washington University grad students who wanted a central place with a wide variety of literature, St. Louis’s Left Bank Books has been a local institution for more than 50 years. It even has a foundation for helping improve literacy in the St. Louis public schools and hosts multiple open book clubs each month, including a gay men's group, a lesbian group, a “read the resistance” night, and a book group dedicated to horror novels.
Other Missouri Bookstores We Love: Prospero’s (Kansas City), Well Read Books (Fulton)
26. The Best Bookstore in Montana: Country Bookshelf // Bozeman, Montana
Established way back in 1957, the Country Bookshelf has an old-timey feel and knowledgable staff that frequently earn it accolades. In addition to author events and a book club, the store partners with Bozeman schools and the Bozeman Public Library to help promote literacy with a program known as “One Book—One Bozeman.”
Other Montana Bookstores We Love: Shakespeare & Co. (Missoula), Tumbleweed Bookstore and Cafe (Gardiner)
27. The Best Bookstore in Nebraska: Indigo Bridge Books // Lincoln, Nebraska
Functioning as both a bookstore and a coffee shop, Indigo Bridge is a great hangout spot for any kind of reader. The store has a particularly strong connection to the local community, with some of its spaces designed by children. Furthermore, all of the coffee sales are donated back to the community.
Other Nebraska Bookstores We Love: The Sequel Bookshop (Kearney), A Novel Idea Bookstore (Lincoln)
28. The Best Bookstore in Nevada: Sundance Books and Music // Reno, Nevada
Does anyone get a lot of reading done in the same state as Las Vegas? Apparently so: Sundance has been in business since 1985 and in its current location since 2011. Their selection is housed in a converted Victorian mansion that's become a monument to the written word. It's also minutes from the airport, so you can pick up titles for your travels.
Other Nevada Bookstores We Love: Bauman Rare Books (Las Vegas), Copper Cat Books (Henderson)
29. The Best Bookstore in New Hampshire: Gibson’s Bookstore // Concord, New Hampshire
If you need a little more incentive to log off Amazon and go into a physical bookstore, Gibson’s in Concord makes a compelling case. In business since 1898, the store not only houses books and baristas but also acquired local toy store Imagination Village to incorporate educational toys and games.
Other New Hampshire Bookstores We Love: Book and Bar (Portsmouth), Escape Hatch Books (Jaffrey)
30. The Best Bookstore in New Jersey: Montclair Book Center // Montclair, New Jersey
Fans have mused—semi-seriously—that being locked in the Montclair Book Center for the rest of your life wouldn’t be so bad. The shop boasts over 10,000 square feet of shelves stocked to the brim with new and used titles, including an impressive collection of vintage sci-fi and history books. There’s also a room full of used records to buy.
Other New Jersey Bookstores We Love: Books and Greetings (Northvale), WORD (Jersey City)
31. The Best Bookstore in New Mexico: Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse // Santa Fe, New Mexico
Relax with a book and organic, locally roasted coffee indoors or on the patio at Collected Works in Santa Fe, which boasts over 30,000 titles and plenty of author readings. Fans of the bookshop point to its relaxed, inviting atmosphere and fresh desserts as reasons to linger.
Other New Mexico Bookstores We Love: Page 1 Books (Albuquerque), Bookworks (Albuquerque)
32. The Best Bookstore in New York: The Strand Bookstore // New York, New York
The Strand ’s multi-story collection of books is so plentiful it bleeds out into the sidewalk. The brand claims its bookshelves hold 18 miles’ worth of new, used, and rare books, and you can find multiple storefronts and kiosks throughout the city.
Other New York Bookstores We Love: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe (New York City), Binnacle Books (Beacon), Dog Ears Bookstore (Buffalo)
33. The Best Bookstore in North Carolina: Main Street Books // Davidson, North Carolina
There’s stiff competition in North Carolina, but Main Street Books in Davidson is one of the finest literary establishments in the state. In business since 1987, the store was actually built out of an old general store, and offers a plethora of programs and activities for book lovers. As part of the bookstore's subscription program, “ The Matchbox ,” customers can elect to receive a staff-approved book from the store’s kids’ books, first editions, or paperback titles each month.
Other North Carolina Bookstores We Love: Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe (Asheville), City Lights Bookstore (Sylva)
34. The Best Bookstore in North Dakota: Zandbroz Variety // Fargo, North Dakota
In May 1989, brothers Jeff and Greg Danz realized their longtime dream of opening the kind of store where they would want to shop, launching the first location of Zandbroz Variety in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It became so popular that they decided to head north to open a second location in Fargo just a few years later. The Fargo store features a trippy mix of smart and quirky goodies, but books are undoubtedly the main event, with a special section dedicated to local authors and titles that explore the history of the area (which is just as interesting to visitors as it is longtime residents). But there’s also a full supply of greeting cards, toys, jewelry, housewares, and other trinkets. They also brew a mean cup of coffee, giving you one more excuse to never want to leave the store’s delightfully eclectic confines.
Other North Dakota Bookstores We Love: Main Street Books (Minot), Sweets N Stories (Oakes)
35. The Best Bookstore in Ohio: Loganberry Books // Cleveland, Ohio
Loganberry Books —named after owner Harriet Logan—has been offering Clevelanders an alternative to big bookstore chains since 1994. Considering that Loganberry boasts over 100,000 new, used, and rare titles, the shop certainly gives mainstream outlets a run for their money. Online, Loganberry Books also runs a helpful service called “Stump the Bookseller,” which lets customers describe books they can’t quite recall the title of, in hopes that other bibliophiles will be able to fill in the gaps.
Other Ohio Bookstores We Love: The Ohio Book Store (Cincinnati), Gramercy Books (Bexley)
36. The Best Bookstore in Oklahoma: GypsySnark Books // Stillwater, Oklahoma
This little used bookstore and bric-a-brac shop in Stillwater covers pretty much any genre you might want—get lost in the sci-fi and horror nook, or search through shelves on the presidents, gardening, or local history and authors. Its unusual name reveals its owner’s varied interests: Founder Susan Thomas, a retired analyst with the U.S. Forest Service, spent years studying gypsy moths (now known as spongy moths ). She also has always loved the Lewis Carroll poem “The Hunting of the Snark.” Combine the two, and you get GypsySnark .
Other Oklahoma Bookstores We Love: Full Circle Bookstore (Oklahoma City), Chapters (Miami)
37. The Best Bookstore in Oregon: Bloomsbury Books // Ashland, Oregon
For nearly 40 years, Bloomsbury Books has worked to make the pleasure of reading as pure as possible. It's named for an early 20th century London literary society called the Bloomsbury Group —one in which Virginia Woolf was a central figure, just as she is at this Bloomsbury. Ask the staff for recommendations, then relax with your new tome in their cozy on-site coffee shop.
Other Oregon Bookstores We Love: Powell’s Books (Portland), Gold Beach Books (Gold Beach)
38. The Best Bookstore in Pennsylvania: Farley's Bookshop // New Hope, Pennsylvania
Located in bustling downtown New Hope, a picturesque enclave nestled on the Delaware River, Farley’s has been in business since 1967. The shop has that lived-in feel that makes you kind of nostalgic for the time before Amazon existed, and its friendly staff is full of bibliophiles who seem magically able to figure out what it is you’re looking for, even if the only description you can utter is “a true crime book with a black cover by that guy.” It’s also worth noting that the store has a private parking lot, which is a rarity in the area and a godsend for shoppers who have a tendency to lose all track of time when surrounded by an impossibly well-curated collection of literature.
Other Pennsylvania Bookstores We Love: Head House Books (Philadelphia), The Old Library Bookshop (Bethlehem), Books Galore (Erie), City Books (Pittsburgh)
39. The Best Bookstore in Rhode Island: Charter Books // Newport, Rhode Island
Charter Books was founded in 2020 by Steve Iwanski to serve full-time Newport residents as well as tourists. It takes its name from the Rhode Island Royal Charter of 1663, which created the state, and its mission is “to cultivate community and a robust local culture through a broad selection of books, programming, and the free exchange of ideas.” Among its offerings is a “ Signed First Editions Club ,” which offers subscribers a new hardcover signed by a staff-picked author every four to six weeks.
Other Rhode Island Bookstores We Love: Barrington Books (Cranston)
40. The Best Bookstore in South Carolina: Blue Bicycle Books // Charleston, South Carolina
Don't let the small(ish) storefront fool you: Blue Bicycle Books on Charleston ’s Upper King Street, located just a few blocks from the College of Charleston, takes up a substantial amount of real estate: It goes back 172 feet. It has ample space for as many as 150 people to attend the more than 200 author events the store hosts each year. David Sedaris, R.L. Stine , Sue Monk Kidd, Bill Murray, and Neil Gaiman are just a few of the hundreds of authors who have stopped by since Blue Bicycle opened in 1995. The shop devotes a chunk of its shelf space to local Charleston authors as well as military history (The Citadel and Fort Sumter are just a stone’s throw away, after all), but it doesn’t shy away from bestsellers and other new titles. The shop also deals in rare signed first editions from the likes of Harper Lee and William Faulkner. In an effort to engage its community of young readers and writers, the store also hosts a summer writing camp for kids and the annual YALLFest , which attracts more than 12,000 YA fans (not to mention top authors in the genre) to the city each November.
Other South Carolina Bookstores We Love: M.Judson Booksellers (Greenville), Fiction Addiction (Greenville)
41. The Best Bookstore in South Dakota: Mitzi's Books // Rapid City, South Dakota
For more than a decade, Mitzi’s has been offering Rapid City’s literati an amazingly well-curated selection of books in a comfy-cozy shop that kind of feels like an extension of your own living room. You’ll get no dirty looks here if you decide to plop down in a chair and while away an afternoon reading one of the knowledgeable staff’s latest book recommendations. In fact, hanging around is encouraged. Best of all, there’s just as much variety in the well-stocked children’s book section, making a visit to Mitzi’s an easy all-ages affair.
Other South Dakota Bookstores We Love: The Book Zealot (Watertown)
42. The Best Bookstore in Tennessee: Parnassus Books // Nashville, Tennessee
Parnassus Books (“An Independent Bookstore For Independent People”) has become an oasis for Nashville book lovers. Indeed, it was designed that way: Bestselling author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes opened Parnassus in 2011 at a moment when Nashville had zero other bookstores, drawing on Patchett’s childhood love of smaller-scale, personable bookshops. “I wanted to re-create that kind of bookstore, one that valued books and readers above muffins and adorable plastic watering cans,” she writes on the Parnassus website. Highlights include books by local authors, a standout biography section, a passionate staff, regular author events (both in-store and virtual), and a monthly book subscription club .
Other Tennessee Bookstores We Love: Burke’s Book Store (Memphis), Landmark Booksellers (Franklin), novel. , (Memphis)
43. The Best Bookstore in Texas: BookPeople // Austin, Texas
The city of Austin , Texas, has gone through rapid changes in the last 10 years. While restaurants have gotten more expensive and buildings have gotten taller, some staples of the city remain. The charm of "old" Austin can still be found at BookPeople , a local favorite since 1970. Every bookseller there is extremely well informed, they’re never out of stock of the classics, and they are always promoting new, great literature. Some of the biggest authors in recent memory have made their way through for readings and events. It’s been the best bookstore in Austin since it opened its doors, and it's always worth stopping by.
Other Texas Bookstores We Love: Interabang Books (Dallas), Burrowing Owl Books (Canyon), The Twig Bookshop (San Antonio)
44. The Best Bookstore in Utah: The King’s English // Salt Lake City, Utah
Ann Berman and Betsy Burton wanted a place to work on their novels when they opened King’s English in 1977. They ended up committing themselves fully to the business, and today, King’s English is one of the most beloved bookshops in Utah. Though it has attracted some famous fans, like author James Patterson (who gave the store a grant to build its children's section), it’s still a community business where employees remember your name and your reading preferences.
Other Utah Bookstores We Love: Weller Book Works (Salt Lake City), Back of Beyond Books (Moab)
45. The Best Bookstore in Vermont: Northshire Bookstore // Manchester Center, Vermont
This warm, family-owned bookstore has been around since 1976, although it moved across the street to take over the beautiful premises of a historic inn. With a great selection, plenty of reading nooks, and a dedicated staff (some of whom have been there for decades), you’re sure to find your next favorite read. Close to a third of the shop is dedicated to kids’ books, which makes it a perfect excursion for little ones.
Other Vermont Bookstores We Love: The Vermont Book Shop (Middlebury), Crow Bookshop (Burlington), Bartleby’s Books (Wilmington)
46. The Best Bookstore in Virginia: Shelf Life Books // Richmond, Virginia
Shelf Life Books ( formerly Chop Suey Books ) is home to two floors of books, both used and new, as well as a very sweet black-and-white cat named Wonton who’s known to lounge in the shop windows.
Other Virginia Bookstores We Love: One More Page Books (Arlington), BookPeople (Richmond), Blue Whale Books (Charlottesville)
47. The Best Bookstore in Washington: The Elliott Bay Book Company // Seattle, Washington
A community mainstay since 1973 (even if some still mourn the original, historic Pioneer Square location), Elliott Bay Books is the place to find the latest books from established names and rising stars alike. New releases (as well as some older gems) are prominently displayed with hand-written notes from the sales staff, and the local history section is particularly strong. A downstairs area is one of the best places in town to catch local and touring authors, and the cafe is a perfect spot to refresh or even work on a laptop (provided you can find a seat). For serious bibliophiles, it’s a must-see destination in the Pacific Northwest.
Other Washington Bookstores We Love: Third Place Books (Seattle), Auntie’s (Spokane), Darvill’s Bookstore (Eastsound, Orcas Island)
48. The Best Bookstore in West Virginia: Taylor Books // Charleston, West Virginia
It would be easy to lose track of time and accidentally spend an entire day at Taylor Books , Charleston’s one-stop shop for all things artsy. Sure, the brick-walled building is charming, and there are thousands of books to choose from, but those aren’t the only draws. Customers can also grab a coffee and scone (lovingly made by owner Ann Saville) from the built-in cafe, take a pottery class, stroll through an art gallery, and attend live musical performances on the weekends.
Other West Virginia Bookstores We Love: Paradox Book Store (Wheeling)
49. The Best Bookstore in Wisconsin: Dotters Books // Eau Clair, Wisconsin
This independent, woman-owned bookstore works hard to curate its selection to focus on women , authors of color, and smaller publishing presses. One of the ways Dotters stands behind their selections? Every book is forward-facing, meaning no books can be hidden away in the corner of a shelf. And if you can’t make it into the beautiful little shop, its monthly subscription service will mail that month’s book club pick in addition to a new recommendation list and a locally designed bookmark.
Other Wisconsin Bookstores We Love: Boswell Book Company (Milwaukee), Village Booksmith (Baraboo)
50. The Best Bookstore in Wyoming: Sidekicks Bookbar // Rock Springs, Wyoming
This bright, cozy little enclave in downtown Rock Springs has everything you need for a relaxing evening in, with or without your favorite bibliophile friends. Find a book on their floor-to-ceiling wall of titles, tuck into one of many white couches that wind through the shop, and order some wine and charcuterie. Sidekicks has partnered with Jackson Hole Winery, so the selection of local wines is as well-stocked as the bestsellers up front.
Other Wyoming Bookstores We Love: Jackson Hole Book Trader (Jackson)
By Colin Ainsworth, Erika Berlin, Michele Debczak, Shaunacy Ferro, Kat Long, Bess Lovejoy, Emily Petsko, Javier Reyes, Jake Rossen, and Jenn Wood.
This article was originally published in 2019; it has been updated for 2023.
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