How A Local Bookstores Can Be A Hub Of A Community

Photo by Norbert Tóth on Unsplash

An independent bookstore is a repository of local information. The staff know local authors and information. Readers stop through for recommendations. Regional history, cooking, arts, and guides are always in stock. A bookstore becomes a hub of a community – loved for its placemaking, its focus on local economy, and its way of connecting readers and authors and books and thinkers.

Below are some favorite independent bookstores from our team. When we are travelling, or in our own hometowns, we make a point of visiting these places, even if just to browse the people there.

New York City: The Strand. More than a mile of books line the walls at this NYC institution just south of Union Square.

Washington, DC: Kramerbooks and Afterwords Café. Long-standing shop at Dupont Circle also has a café with live music.

Richmond, VA: Chop Suey Books started with a table at a flea market, and now is a highlight of a visit to Carytown, the city’s go-to strolling district.

Durham, NC: Regulator Bookshop has an especially good children’s section. The entire store is diverse in every way you can imagine.

Raleigh, NC: Quail Ridge Books is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing space we know. They have a great events series, hosting local, regional and national authors.

Miami Beach, FL: Books and Books is tucked away in a courtyard, behind a café and bar by the same name. Well-designed, engaging, and filled with interesting offerings.

Asheville, NC: Cooperatively owned Firestorm Books features a well-curated selection of radical literature.

Nashville, TN: Parnassus Books is a small space with a great selection from many genres. Regional specialties are especially strong here. The shop is co-owned by novelist Ann Patchett.

St. Louis: Left Bank Books. Wide selection, great space, and a great poetry section in particular.

Springfield, MO: Bookmarx features a great selection of local art in the rear, as well as a beloved cat keeping shop.

San Francisco: City Lights Books was a favorite hang of beat poets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg. Years later, their spirit persists in this one-of-a-kind space.

Portland: Powell’s Books. One team member said, “It feels like never-ending possibilities.” Who could ask for more? giant selection, quirky, and interesting. Feels like never-ending possibilities.

This is not an exhausted list, and if you have a favorite, we would love to know about it. Drop us a line.

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