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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.

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Alabama Page and Palette bookstoreCourtesy Page and Palette

Alabama: Page and Palette

The early bird may get the cup of coffee at Page and Palette in Fairhope, but the night owl gets the craft cocktail. That’s because this fourth-generation family-owned shop, which began as a book and art supply store, now has both a cafe and bar, meaning you (almost) never have to leave.

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Row of backwards books in a bookstore Jessica Ruscello/Shutterstock

Alaska: Title Wave Books

You’ll find quality and quantity at Title Wave in Anchorage, the state’s largest bookstore. Bonus: The price is definitely right, especially if you shop the $1.99 (yes, really!) and $3.99 tables. Not sure which book to choose? Start with these great books you can read in a day.

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arizona bookstore changing handsBrandon Stout/Courtesy Changing Hands Bookstore

Arizona: Changing Hands Bookstore

Come for the pages, stay for the pours. Phoenix’s Changing Hands is home to the cleverly-named First Draft Bar, one of the only “book bars” in the United States, where you can sip a lavender mimosa or a locally made mead while discussing that month’s book club pick.

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Arkansas wordsworth bookstoreCourtesy Lynne Phillips

Arkansas: WordsWorth Books

If you’re looking for a book on Arkansas flora and fauna or even a guide to the most bizarre Southern state lingo, you’ll find it all at WordsWorth, which offers a large selection of local interest reads. As you browse, you’ll be treated to the pleasant sound of chirping from the flock of finches that lives in the back of this store in Little Rock.

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Many Books Piles. Hardback books on wooden table. Back to school. Copy spaceIren Moroz/Shutterstock

California: Bookshop Santa Cruz

Become a regular at Bookshop Santa Cruz and you’ll join 49,000 other people who make up the store’s “Frequent Buyer” program. Whether it’s Bookshop’s extensive new release section or the fact that it’s been a California institution for over 50 years, customers keep coming back for more. And speaking of new reads, here are some books you should add to your reading list before you watch their movies.

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Tattered CoverCourtesy Tattered Cover

Colorado: Tattered Cover Bookstore

The Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver is a literary lover’s paradise. You’ll find tons of comfy couches to pass a rainy day with your nose in your favorite book, the coziest atmosphere, and, with its slew of book signings and celebrity appearances, a solid chance you’ll catch a glimpse of one of your favorite authors.

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rjjulia bookstoreCourtesy Danya Bush

Connecticut: R.J. Julia Booksellers

One thing that makes a good bookstore a great bookstore is a knowledgeable staff. Which is exactly what you’ll experience at R.J. Julia in Madison, where the salespeople not only read all of the books they recommend but also include a handwritten index card in each novel with a quick summary of the plot and why they liked it.

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Browseabout bookstoreCourtesy Susan Thornberg

Delaware: Browseabout Books

Big-city selection with a small-town feel—that’s the vibe at Browseabout Books in Rehoboth Beach, where the shelves may be stocked with over 35,000 different titles but the owners have worked hard to keep that quaint and charming bookstore atmosphere that big chains lack. While you’re there, snag one of these books for the person who’s read everything.

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Stacks of books in the bookstoreRostislav_Sedlacek/Shutterstock

Florida: Haslam’s Book Store Inc

What’s better than an afternoon spent with a good book? An afternoon spent with a good book and a cute kitty. At this St. Petersburg institution (it’s been around since 1933!), you’ll likely be joined by one of the four kitties that roam the store as you read. If you aren’t sure what to dive into, here are the 9 books that might just change your life.

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Georgia Little shop of stories bookstoreCourtesy Jason Smith

Georgia: Little Shop of Stories

There are regular children’s bookstores—and then there’s the Little Shop of Stories. While the magical shop in Decatur hosts four storytimes a week and four book clubs just for kids and teens, its real claim to fame is its nine weeks of wonderfully whimsical summer camps which each feature a different book theme (there’s even a Camp Hogwarts!). And for adults, these are the children’s books you should definitely reread as a grown-up.

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BookEnds bookstore hawaiiCourtesy Pat Banning/BookEnds

Hawaii: 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.

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resicovered books bookstore IdahoCourtesy Jane Alice Van Doren

Idaho: Rediscovered Books

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.

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BooksBillion-Photos/Shutterstock

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.

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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.

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Iowa Prairie Lights books and cafeCourtesy Prairie Lights Books and Cafe

Iowa: Prairie Lights Books & 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).

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kansas book store rainy day booksCourtesy Rainy Day Books

Kansas: 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.

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Carmichaels bookstoreCourtesy Carmichaels

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.

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octavia booksCourtesy Tom Lowenburg

Louisiana: Octavia Books

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.

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Stack of Used Old Books Background, Books of Different Thickness and Color, Many Books Piles in the School Library, Pile of Old Books Stacked on Top of Each Other, Education Background, Back to SchoolSupertrooper/Shutterstock

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.

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Booksmnimage/Shutterstock

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.

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porter square bookstoreCourtesy Porter Square Books

Massachusetts: Porter Square Books

Porter Square Books is, well, a bookstore first and foremost, but it’s also a place where locals come to hang out, grab a cup of coffee (and one of the cafe’s famous scones!), and get together with family and friends. And if you do want a little privacy or just some peace and quiet, there are plenty of hidden nooks and crannies throughout the shop.

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Nicola's bookstore MichiganCourtest Nicola's Books

Michigan: Nicola’s Books Ann Arbor

If the rows and rows of hardcover books don’t get you in the door at Nicola’s, the lure of free coffee and a crackling fireplace will. With walls lined by oversized autographed book covers, the Ann Arbor shop (which constantly smells like fresh-baked bagels thanks to the bakery next door) hosts numerous signings and author events weekly.

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Open book, hardback books on wooden table. Education background. Back to school. Copy space for text.Galyna Motizova/Shutterstock

Minnesota: Wild Rumpus

You’d be hard-pressed to find a kids’ bookstore quite as quirky or whimsical as Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. At this store, which is based off the children’s book The Salamander Room, you’ll start “inside” and then, as you move through the different rooms, you’ll work your way “outside” into a space painted to resemble the outdoors and filled with both plush and live animals.

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Stack of colorful books. Education background. Back to school. Copy space for textGalyna Motizova/Shutterstock

Mississippi: Lemuria Books

For over 25 years, Lemuria Books in Jackson has specialized in first editions, even dedicating an entire room of the shop (which is a converted apartment) to the treasured titles. They also offer two “First Editions Clubs,” one for fiction reads and one for non-fiction. Want to start your own book club? Follow this guide.

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Left Bank BooksCourtesy Left Bank Books

Missouri: Left Bank Books

Cute window displays? Check. Friendly store cat named Spike roaming the aisles? Check. A basement full of used books? Check. There’s a lot to love about Left Bank in St. Louis—just ask Hilary Clinton or Jimmy Carter, two of the hundreds of notable celebrities who have made appearances at the store over the years.

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Stack of different old books on a table against a white wall background, reading conceptVladimir Muravin/Shutterstock

Montana: The Book Exchange

Vladimir Muravin/ShutterstockThis is not a drill: You can leave The Book Exchange with a stack of reads without ever spending a dime. That’s because the Missoula mainstay has a trade-in program where you can swap used paperbacks. If you don’t live nearby, here are some other easy ways to donate your old books.

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nebraska bookworm storeCourtesy Bookworm

Nebraska: The Bookworm

This Omaha institution is known for its plethora of book clubs, but its ties to famous billionaire (and Nebraska native) Warren Buffett are a close second. Not only does The Bookworm provide all of the books for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting, but it also stocks all of Buffett’s top titles, which he hand-chooses each year.

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Open book, hardback books on wooden table. Education background. Back to school. Copy space for textGalyna Motizova/Shutterstock

Nevada: Grassroots Books

While every day is a great day to visit Grassroots in Reno, the best is when the shop is having one of its famous warehouse sales. A few times a year, they’ll open up a back room and fill it with over 10,000 books that cost 99¢ each (plus kids’ books for only a quarter!).

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Books on the shelfOleg Krugliak/Shutterstock

New Hampshire: Gibson’s Bookstore

You don’t even have to live in Concord to take advantage of what Gibson’s has to offer (although nothing really beats its charming, family-oriented atmosphere!). That’s because the bookstore has its very own podcast, The Laydown, in which staff members discuss everything from the latest book news to the upcoming releases they’re most excited about.

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New Jersey words bookstoreCourtesy [words] Bookstore

New Jersey: [words] bookstore

Walk into [Words] in Maplewood and you’ll notice it’s open and airy, the opposite of most bookstores. But there’s a very important reason for that—the shop was designed by the owners, who have an autistic son, to be very accommodating and welcoming to kids with special needs. Among their large selection of books, they offer an extensive section of resources for parents of disabled children.

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New Mexico BookworksCourtesy Bookworks

New Mexico: Bookworks

Albuquerque’s Bookworks is exactly what you want in an eclectic independent bookstore: rotating racks of quirky gifts, shelves of books ranging from the most popular titles to the most unusual, and a healthy offering of author events each week. And as an added bonus, it’s right next door to the Flying Star Cafe, so you can fuel your book-browsing adventures with a massive slice of homemade cake.

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Stack of different old books on a table against a white wall background, reading conceptVladimir Muravin/Shutterstock

New York: Book Revue

Vladimir Muravin/ShutterstockHuntington’s Book Revue manages to make its own very special mark: One of the largest independent bookstores in the entire country, it’s been frequented by not only thousands of happy customers but also plenty of famous authors, including Jojo Moyes, Joyce Carol Oates, and Ken Follett.

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North Carolina Quail Ridge booksCourtesy Quail Ridge books

North Carolina: Quail Ridge Books

Coming to Quail Ridge feels like coming home, thanks to its inviting atmosphere, ever-smiling staff, and cozy decor. Along with an award-winning children’s section which hosts numerous weekly storytimes and kids’ book signings, the Raleigh shop has a robust music department that throws frequent free concerts for the community.

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Many books piled on a stackMinimalis Photography/Shutterstock

North Dakota: Zandbroz Variety

The name says it all: The variety of gifts, books, home decor, jewelry, crafts, and more at Zandbroz is jaw-dropping. You could literally spend hours just combing through the racks of quirky cards and eclectic knick-knacks. The fun doesn’t stop there, either. The original location in Sioux Falls also has an old-fashioned soda fountain inside.

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Book stack in the library room. World book day.Nigmatulina Aleksandra/Shutterstock

Ohio: Book Loft of German Village

There’s not one, not two, not three…but 32 (!!) rooms full of page-turners at the Book Loft, which spans an entire city block. Situated in a pre–Civil War era historic building in Columbus, it’s as charming as it is big—when the weather is nice, you can take your book out to the courtyard, filled with gurgling fountains and shady magnolia trees.

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Oklahoma best of books bookstoreCourtesy Best of Books

Oklahoma: Best of Books

The first rule of book club: Don’t talk about book club. While that’s not exactly true at Best of Books in Edmond, their “book club” is a lesser-known fact. But it’s also one that’s definitely worth joining: For every 12 books you buy from the shop, you get a store credit to put towards your 13th. We recommend one of these 20 highest-rated titles on Goodreads!

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Annie Bloom's BookstoreCourtesy Annie Bloom's Books

Oregon: Annie Bloom’s Books

It’s hard to nail down exactly what it is that makes Portland’s Annie Bloom’s so special. Maybe it’s the plush dragon rocker in the kids’ section that is rumored to be over 25 years old. Or maybe it’s the store’s mascot, a black cat named Molly Bloom. Or maybe it’s the caring staff, some of whom have worked at the neighborhood bookstore for over three decades!

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Doylestown bookshop PACourtesy Krisy Elisii

Pennsylvania: Doylestown Bookshop

If there’s one thing that Doylestown Bookshop prides itself on, it’s how well it preserves the legacy of family-run, small-town bookstores. Whether you want to bring your child to one of the interactive storytimes or comb through the quirky odds and ends tucked between bookshelves, there’s always something new to discover here.

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Many books piled on a stackMinimalis Photography/Shutterstock

Rhode Island: Wakefield Books

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. These are all things you can find at Wakefield Books, which boasts plenty of new and used titles organized neatly by category on its shelves. Music lovers will also enjoy the locally owned independent bookstore’s ever-growing vinyl record collection.

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stack of booksnadi555/Shutterstock

South Carolina: Mr. K’s Used Books

With locations in four different cities, Mr. K’s is legendary among literary fans who like to sell old books or trade them in for new ones. Bonus: They also take gently used CDs, videos, vinyl, comic books, and more. And all that inventory means one thing for shoppers in the store: that old book smell we all wish we could bottle up.

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mitzi's bookstore south dakotaCourtesy Heather Herbaugh

South Dakota: Mitzi’s Books

Come for the books, stay for the unique furniture and display tables dotting the two-floor store in Rapid City. Each hand-designed piece at Mitzi’s is not only one-of-a-kind and painted by a local artist but is also as comfy as it is creative. Find one of these books you should have read by now, then seek out one of the chairs to call yours for the day.

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Tennessee: Novel

Memphis’s Novel is much more than a bookstore. It’s a restaurant, a bar, a gathering place, a children’s playroom, and a cozy hangout all in one. What really steals the show, though, is their wildly successful kids’ programming, which includes frequent storytimes and book fairs. These are the best children’s books ever written, according to librarians, teachers, and parents.

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Composition with books on the tablemonticello/Shutterstock

Texas: BookPeople

Y’all come on in! It isn’t just the quintessential Southern hospitality that makes Austin’s BookPeople such a popular hotspot. It’s also their massive selection (two whole floors of shelves on shelves on shelves), along with the in-house cafe serving up tasty treats, and the eclectic variety of cards, toys, and trinkets for sale.

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the King's English Bookshop UtahCourtesy Anne Holman

Utah: The Kings English Bookshop

With an out-of-this-world children’s section funded by famous author James Patterson, The Kings English Bookshop is a must-visit for anyone in the Salt Lake City area. The staff also prides itself on remembering customers’ faces and, more importantly, customer purchases so they can make personalized recommendations. No wonder the store’s slogan is “matching books to customers since 1977.”

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vermont book shopCourtesy Jenny Lyons

Vermont: The Vermont Book Shop

It’s rumored that The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury was a favorite of poet Robert Frost. Whether or not that’s true, it’s definitely evolved into a town landmark over the last 60 years, thanks primarily to its warm customer service and a seemingly endless supply of local-interest gifts and books. Check out these offbeat places where famous works of literature were written.

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Virginia Chop Suey BookstoreCourtesy Chop Suey Books

Virginia: Chop Suey Books

Located in what used to be a Chinese restaurant (hence the name and the store’s cat, WonTon), Chop Suey is what used-bookstore dreams are made of. The unique, funky shop in Richmond is filled to the brim with reads in every genre imaginable. There’s even a “blind date” section of wrapped books where you can buy a book sight unseen to be surprised. If true crime is your thing, you’ll definitely want to find one of these 10 most popular page-turners.

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Third Place Books washington bookstoreCourtesy Third Place Books

Washington: Third Place Books

Founded on sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s idea that everyone needs three places (home, workplace/school, and a place to interact with others), Third Place in the Seattle area aims to be the latter. The owners literally built a community around books, with the shop itself nestled in a bustling hub that includes a food court, a children’s area, and public commons.

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A stack of books with colorful covers. The library or bookstore. Books or textbooks. Education and reading. Open book in the foreground.lapandr/Shutterstock

West Virginia: Taylor Books

Bookstore by day, hipster hangout by night, Charleston’s Taylor Books has become a place locals and visitors alike love to go to grab a cup of coffee, catch a live music performance on a Friday evening, or browse the stunning contemporary artwork and artisan crafts in the attached art gallery.

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Wisconsin Boswell Book CompanyCourtesy Boswell Book Company

Wisconsin: Boswell Book Company

If you have a book in mind when you come to Milwaukee’s Boswell, great. The incredibly friendly staff will help you find it. But if you don’t know what you want, even better! Because that same staff is made up of fellow bibliophiles who love doling out their own recommendations. You’ll even find picks written on the walls or tucked inside books on handwritten cards.

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A stack of books with colorful covers. The library or bookstore. Books or textbooks. Education and reading. Open book in the foreground.lapandr/Shutterstock

Wyoming: Wind City Books

Part bookstore, part coffee shop, Wind City Books is the place to go in Casper if you’re looking for a comfy recliner to post up in for an afternoon. And for a tiny bookseller, they have an impressively vast variety of genres. Whichever bookstore you visit, keep this list of the 50 books you need to read before you’re 50 handy.

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