Independent Bookstore Day is this weekend! This special day, which was first marked in 2015, is a time to appreciate, support, and celebrate independent bookstores. I’m a big fan of indies: I have been known to drive many miles out of my way to visit a new-to-me or favorite shop, I’ve planned whole trips around indies I’ve longed to visit, I’m in my local shop a near-embarrassing number of times per week. (With two grown readers and four kids, we always need SOMETHING.)
If you can’t visit an indie bookstore in person this weekend, there are still plenty of ways to show them some love from afar. If you don’t have a local indie, you’ll find plenty to support in the comments of this post about YOUR favorite independent bookshops. Plus Libro.fm is celebrating Independent Bookstore Day with a $5 or less sale.
Something I especially love about indies is that each has its own personality. I haven’t yet visited these bookstores—they’re stores I want to visit—so I can’t speak to the experience myself (YET), but I look forward to acquiring firsthand experience! In the meantime, please tell us about your visits to these bookstores, the bookstores you are longing to visit, and your favorite indies in comments.
Indie bookstores on my must-visit list
The Lit. Bar, NYC
It’s been several years since my bookstore tour of NYC. Since that time even more bookstores have opened—and sadly, closed—including the Lit. Bar, the Bronx’s only brick and mortar bookstore. This gorgeous bookstore and wine bar actually opened on Independent Bookstore Day in 2019!
The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL
This small but stunning bookstore was designed for browsability: every title in the shop faces out. The Oxford Exchange holds something for everyone: in addition to the bookstore, they have a restaurant, gift store, co-working space, design studio, and event venue.
The Bookshop, East Nashville, TN
My friends tell me this is a small but well-curated shop: every title is hand-picked by the owner. The attractive displays and ample natural light in their photos make me especially eager to visit.
Downbound Books, Cincinnati, OH
We’re often in Cincinnati to visit family—so I can’t believe I haven’t been to Downbound yet! The shop opened in late 2019, not long before the pandemic shutdowns. They pride themselves on carrying both bestsellers and under-the-radar titles you won’t find at major retailers.
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH
Another Cincinnati bookstore I’ve been meaning to visit for ages. This store is widely beloved for its friendly booksellers, terrific selection, and frequent events.
The Book Loft of German Village, Columbus, OH
If I had a dollar for every time a reader told me I must visit The Book Loft, I could pay for us all to visit together! This indie is one of the nation’s largest, and was featured prominently in Kerry Winfrey’s debut Waiting for Tom Hanks.
Fabled Bookshop, Waco, TX
I’ve been tracking Fabled’s journey since YEARS before it opened its doors, and am still itching to visit in person! (I was looking forward to visiting for my Don’t Overthink It book tour in 2020—but then Covid happened.) This bookshop/cafe combo features a whimsical vibe, carefully curated assortment of books, 6-foot wooden owl, and a lamppost straight out of Narnia.
Commonplace Books, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma friends rave about this beautiful store, which boasts a “carefully curated and meticulously chosen” that they hope offers something for every reader. I confess their instagram account is a major reason I want to visit myself.
What bookstores are on your To Visit list? Do you plan to visit an indie bookstore this weekend? Tell us all about it in the comments section!
P.S. 6 of my favorite independent bookstores and 7 favorite independent bookstores that are doing great things, including Bookmarks NC, where I took the photo at the top of this post on a recent and most delightful visit.