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 my 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 (my 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 an ongoing search for cozy home-away-from-home spots, I’m always on the lookout for delightfully independent bookshops. And, to help you in your search for the same, I’ve compiled (and continue to add to) this list of my favorite U.S. shops that sell new, used, and new-and-used books.
The list below is arranged alphabetically, but if you’d prefer, I’ve also arranged the list by city & state. As my husband and I continue to travel and discover wonderful new-to-us bookstores, I’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!
New York City | 212-753-4455 | website
Asheville, North Carolina | 828-252-0020 | website
Lexington, Kentucky | 859-252-7255 | website
Asheville, North Carolina | 828-253-6631 | website
Louisville, Kentucky | 502-896-6950 | website
New York City | 212-831-3554 | website
Cincinnati, Ohio | 513-541-1394 | website
Lexington, Kentucky | website
Greenville, South Carolina | 864-603-2412 | website
Frankfort, Kentucky | 502-223-8018 | website
New York City | 212-741-2069 | website
Knoxville, Tennessee | 865-951-2180 | website
Columbus, Indiana | 812-376-0778 | website
Madison, Indiana | 812-265-1800 | website
If none of the bookstores 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.”
Hi, there! I’m Jennifer, and I help too-busy-to-read bookworms and those who want to *be* readers maximize life’s simple joys — like reading a good book — by helping them create quiet spaces (mentally and physically) inspired by the habits of cats, who are masters at finding joy in life’s small details.
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“The only important thing in a book is the meaning it has for you.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
“There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.”
“Standing there, staring at the long shelves crammed with books, I felt myself relax and was suddenly at peace.”
“What a happy woman I am, living in a garden, with books … birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them!”
Elizabeth von Arnim
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
“The art of reading is … an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us; when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“When I … looked round at the familiar bookshelves, and could hear no sounds but sounds of peace, and knew that here I might read or dream or idle exactly as I chose with never a creature to disturb me, how grateful I felt to the kindly Fate that has brought me here and given me a heart to understand my own blessedness.”
Elizabeth von Arnim