The Most Loved Bookstore in Every State
Despite the rise of Ebooks and Amazon, the charming independent bookstore is still alive and well in America. From those with the largest selection to the ones with the coziest atmosphere, these are the best bookstores in each of the 50 states, according to customer votes on Nextdoor.com.
Courtesy Pat Banning/BookEnds
Don’t let the size of this Kailua shop fool you. While it may be small, it’s jam-packed with thousands of titles, from Hawaiian history books to page-turning horror stories to easy beach reads. The little ones will love BookEnds‘ playful kids’ spot, too, which has a basket of toys that children can play with while parents browse.
Idaho: Rediscovered Books
Courtesy Jane Alice Van Doren
A large selection of reads isn’t the only thing that Rediscovered Books has going for it—it’s also well-known around Boise for its foodie-approved events. It all started with “Books and Booze” (aka a book club fueled by wine and beer) and has grown into other edible offerings like “Tasty Tales Storytime,” where kids and adults alike can snack on donuts while listening to their favorite children’s books read out loud.
Illinois: Anderson’s Bookshop
There’s a reason that Anderson’s Bookshop was previously named “Bookstore of the Year” by Publishers Weekly: It hosts author appearances almost every single day of the week! Whether it’s book signings or writer Q&As, the Chicago shop’s four locations are a revolving door of famous faces.
Indiana: Indy Reads Books
As if you needed an excuse to buy more books, this Indianapolis store donates part of all its profits towards Indy Reads, a nonprofit that works to improve adult literacy in the community. After you snag a few page-turners, roam through the eclectic art gallery, where you’ll often be treated to local artist showings, poetry slams, and musical performances.
Iowa: Prairie Lights Books & Cafe
Courtesy Prairie Lights Books and Cafe
You could easily get lost among the three floors of stacks that make up Prairie Lights in Iowa City. But make sure you find your way to the bottom level before you leave—it houses a cafe in the same space where some of the literary greats of the last century used to meet (think Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and E.E. Cummings).
Kansas: Rainy Day Books
Courtesy Rainy Day Books
If you thought your calendar was busy, wait until you see the schedule of events for Rainy Day Books. The Kansas City shop puts on over 300 different author events every year, bringing in some of the most well-known, prize-winning writers. Coming up this month, for instance? Celeste Ng, Rick Atkinson, and W. Bruce Cameron.
Kentucky: Carmichael’s Bookstore
Not much has changed at Carmichael’s since it first opened its doors in 1978, and that’s a good thing. The family-run business in Louisville embodies the “buy local” movement in everything it does, from personal touches woven throughout the store to the fact that all of its titles are hand-picked by staff members. Psst: These are the most iconic books set in every state.
Louisiana: Octavia Books
Courtesy Tom Lowenburg
Meet New Orleans’ hidden gem. Tucked away on a side street, Octavia has something for everyone, whether you’re in search of a classic novel or something off of the New York Times bestseller list. And on the off chance that they don’t have what you’re looking for? They’ll order it and have it in the store for you within a week.
Maine: Longfellow Books
If you’re looking for the quintessential used bookstore, take a trip to Longfellow Books in Portland. It has that well-worn, messy-but-cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for digging through the sale bins to find a book (or two!) on a budget. And if you’re wondering what makes old books smell so amazing, here’s the explanation.
Maryland: Ivy Bookshop
“Ask and you shall receive” seems to be the motto at the Ivy Bookshop in Baltimore, where you’re welcome to browse freely (without being interrupted or bothered), but, if you do want recommendations or have questions, the warm and knowledgeable staff is always willing to help. Speaking of recommendations, this is the official list of the books everyone needs to read in their lifetime.