where to buy a book

Whether you’re looking for something specific or “just browsing” — where do you go to get a new (or new to you) book? Your local independent bookstore, assuming you have one nearby? Or that online behemoth named after a massive rainforest?

If you’re lucky enough to have a cozy, independent bookstore near you, I hope that’s where you start all of your book searches. (Unless, of course, you only want to read the book and not own the book … in that case, start at your local public library!)

But if you don’t have a local bookshop nearby … or if you’d rather order a book online, here are a few options that — unlike Amazon — will still allow you to support one or more independent bookstores …

First, scroll down past the photo to browse the list and see whether any of our favorite indie bookstores are close enough to you that you could pay them a visit. Or maybe pick one or two from the list, get in touch with them, and ask about their ordering process. If you do order remotely, you’ll still be supporting a local, independent bookstore, even it it’s not in your own town.

But if you’d rather jump online and do your book ordering right away, may I suggest visiting the website of our friends at the Village Lights Bookstore in Madison, Indiana. They have a robust book-search and book-ordering page, where I even found a book I’d been hunting for years and had been unable to find anywhere else. If you go this route, you’ll be supporting a wonderful small-town bookshop and their delightful bookstore cats.

Or, as another alternative, but still without resorting to Amazon, you might want to try the Bookshop.org website. It showcases reading lists, hosts online storefronts for both indie bookshops and other bookish groups (our affiliate shop* is here), and pledges to give a hefty percentage of proceeds to all of its member bookstores.

* Full disclosure: If you follow one of our links to Bookshop.org and buy a book — or if you buy a book directly from our storefront on the site — we receive a small percentage of the sale. And that same amount also goes to the site’s member bookstores as well.



In our search for cozy home-away-from-home spots, we here at The Novel Cat are always on the lookout for delightfully independent bookshops. And, to help you in your search for the same, we’ve compiled this list of our favorite U.S. shops that sell new, used, and new-and-used books.

The list below is arranged alphabetically, but if you’d prefer, we’ve also arranged the list by city & state. As we continue to travel and discover wonderful new-to-us bookstores, we’ll add them to the list.

Whenever you find yourself close to one or more of these, be sure to stop in for a visit!


Argosy Book Store

New York City  |  212-753-4455  |  website


Battery Park Book Exchange

Asheville, North Carolina  |  828-252-0020  |  website


Black Swan Books

Lexington, Kentucky  |  859-252-7255  |  website


The Captain’s Bookshelf

Asheville, North Carolina  |  828-253-6631  |  website


Carmichael’s Bookstore

Louisville, Kentucky  |  502-896-6950  |  website


The Corner Bookstore

New York City  |  212-831-3554  |  website


Downbound Books

Cincinnati, Ohio  |  513-541-1394  |  website


Joseph-Beth Booksellers

Lexington, Kentucky  |  website  


M. Judson Booksellers

Greenville, South Carolina  |  864-603-2412  |  website  


Poor Richard’s Books

Frankfort, Kentucky  |  502-223-8018  |  website  


Three Lives & Company

New York City  |  212-741-2069  |  website  


Union Ave Books

Knoxville, Tennessee  |  865-951-2180  |  website 


Viewpoint Books

Columbus, Indiana  |  812-376-0778  |  website


Village Lights Bookstore

Madison, Indiana  |  812-265-1800  |  website  



If none of the bookstores we’ve listed here are close enough, and you’d like to find one near you, visit IndieBound and click on the big red button that says, “Locate an Independent, Local Bookstore.”


mug of tea