By now you know all about — and might know enough to avoid — Black Friday: a coupon-clipping, deal-scoring, discount-loving consumer’s dream day, filled with enough price hacks and bonus giveaways to make your post-Thanksgiving head spin. But if Black Friday isn’t your thing (or hey, even if it is) then shopping on Small Business Saturday might be just the vibe you’re looking for. And if you’re a book lover, this list of independent bookstores to visit on Small Business Saturday is exactly what your book-buying heart needs.
First started in 2010, Small Business Saturday was designed to counter the consumer chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by encouraging eager shoppers to invest locally by visiting small and independently-owned business on the Saturday after the Thanksgiving holiday. But in addition to investing in your local community, Small Business Saturday is the perfect opportunity to discover that cool, quirky shop you keep saying you want to visit, but never actually do. If that shop just happens to sell books, well hey, even better.
Featuring tons of bookstores from every region of the United States, here are 35 bookstores to visit on Small Business Saturday — and if I’ve missed your nearest town don’t worry: there are TONS more indie bookshops all over the country. A quick Google search will lead you straight to their front door.
1. Left Bank Books Collective, Seattle, Washington
Find them at: Pike Place Market, 92 Pike Street # B, Seattle, WA
Committee-run and activist-frequented, Left Bank Books Collective has been a staple of Seattle’s Pike Place Market for years. They offer thousands of new and used books, specializing in independent and small-press titles with ultra-leftist and anti-authoritarian vibes. Something we could all use more of these days.
2. Powell's Books, Portland, Oregon
Find them at: 1005 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR
Powell's Books is actually chain of independent bookstores in Portland, Oregon, who claim to be — and probably are — the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. So if they can’t find you what you’re looking for, chances are nobody can.
3. City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, California
Find them at: 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA
Both an independent bookstore and an indie publisher in one, San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore was founded by the beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1953 is most famous for publishing Allen Ginsberg's influential — and controversial — poetry collection Howl and Other Poems. Today they specialize in experimental titles, world literature, and politics.
4. The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California
Find them at: 453 South Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA
As California’s largest independent bookstore, you’ll be able to spend days in The Last Bookstore’s 22,000 square feet of literature and more. Be sure to stop by their Art & Rare Book Annex, and if you’re a graphic novel aficionado, nobody stocks more than these folks.
5. Bauman Rare Books, Las Vegas, Nevada
Find them at: 3327 South Las Vegas Boulevard #2856, Las Vegas, NV
When I think of Las Vegas, taking some quiet time to read isn’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind. But Bauman Rare Books, located just steps from the Las Vegas Strip, offers first editions, autographed books, and other unique and rare documents.
6. The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, Utah
Find them at: 1511 South 1500 East, Salt Lake City, UT
The cozy King’s English Bookshop has been a literary staple of Salt Lake City since they opened their doors in 1977. Their wide selection of books, knowledgeable staff, and tons of reading nooks make this bookstore a must-visit.
7. Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado
Find them at: 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO
This 3-story, light-and-book filled store nestled in Colorado’s stunning mountainscape is always my first stop whenever I visit Boulder. They shelve over 100,000 titles, and if you want to catch a reading or literary event when you’re done shopping, chances are they’ll have one scheduled.
8. The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, Arizona
Find them at: 4014 North Goldwater Boulevard #101, Scottsdale, AZ
The Poisoned Pen isn’t kidding when they say they host lots of events. Their calendar is jam-packed with author signings, and throughout their shelves you’ll find signed leftovers. One of their favorite genres to stock is mystery, so if you’re an Arizona-based mystery lover, head on over.
9. Page 1 Books, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Find them at: 5850 Eubank Boulevard, Suite B-41, Albuquerque, NM
Considered one of the best places to visit in Alburquerque, Page 1 Books features tons of new and used books and a knowledgeable staff who loves books even more than you do. Their totally cool Rare Books Boutique (aka: Antiquarian Room) is open Wednesday-Sunday, otherwise by-appointment.
10. BookPeople, Austin, Texas
Find them at: 603 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX
One cool feature about Austin’s BookPeople (other than the fact that they’re the largest independent bookstore in Texas) is that they list their signed editions on their website, so if you’re looking for a particular author’s John Hancock, you’ll know if they have it before you go. Either way, stop by to check out their Staff Picks and local authors section too.
11. Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Find them at: 1900 Northwest Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK
As the largest independent bookstore in Oklahoma, Full Circle Bookstore is the kind of place you can get lost in for hours — or days. They even have those ladders that slide along the floor-to-ceiling shelves so you can reach the books at the top. Don’t forget to visit their Poetry Room.
12. Common Good Books, St. Paul, Minnesota
Find them at: 38 Snelling Avenue S, St Paul, MN
This month St. Paul’s Common Good Books just celebrated their ten-year anniversary — and this independent community bookstore that’s still going strong. Be sure to check out their great selection of local authors.
13. Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Find them at: 124 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Featuring signed first editions and a well-rounded Staff Picks section, Ann Arbor’s Literati Bookstore is a Michigan must-visit. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable, and they believe wholeheartedly in the future of printed books. Which is good, because gifting someone an e-book for the holidays isn’t all that festive.
14. Prairie Lights, Iowa City, Iowa
Find them at: 15 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, IA
Iowa City’s Prairie Lights is one of my favorite bookstores in the world — their crowded shelves, their author events, their proximity to the brilliant literary minds at work at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Plus, they were early advocates of both Raymond Carver and Alice Munro.
15. Subterranean Books, St. Louis, Missouri
Find them at: 6275 Delmar Boulevard, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis’s all-women owned and operated independent bookstore, Subterranean Books, offers a constantly-evolving selection of new titles in a number of genres: literary fiction and nonfiction, music, film, pop culture, art, children’s literature, cultural studies, history, religion, science, nature, gardening, travel, and more. So basically, everything.
16. Myopic Books, Chicago, Illinois
Find them at: 1564 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL
Voted Chicago’s Favorite Used Bookstore by The Chicago Reader, Myopic Books is located in the heart of artsy-neighborhood Wicker Park. Featuring more than 70,000 new and used books spaced across three stories and dozens of different categories, plan to spend most of your Small Business Saturday browsing here. You’ll be glad you did.
17. Quimby’s, Chicago, Illinois
Find them at: 1854 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL
Another Chicago-based literary fave, Quimby’s is a quirky, independent bookstore offering tons of unique and offbeat books and graphic novels. According to their website, they specialize in aberrant periodicals and saucy comic booklets. How can you resist?
18. Duttenhofer's Books, Cincinnati, Ohio
Find them at: 214 West McMillan Street, Cincinnati, OH
Cincinnati’s Duttenhofer’s Books specializes in good-quality rare, used, and out-of-print books — and whether you’re buying or selling, they know their stuff. If you’re looking for something special and authentic, definitely check them out.
19. The Book Trader, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Find them at: 7 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA
You’ll totally be able to imagine Jess Mariano hanging out in Philly bookstore The Book Trader. They offer used fiction and nonfiction, plus a handful of new titles and an ever-expanding record selection.
20. Argosy Book Store, New York City, New York
Find them at: 116 East 59th Street, New York, NY
Like many of the cities on this list, it’s nearly impossible to do all the amazing indie bookstores in NYC justice. But Argosy Book Store, with six floors of books, antiquarian and out-of-print titles, and unique maps and other documents, is hard to resist. Plus, they’ve been in business since 1925, so they definitely know what they’re doing.
21. McNally Jackson, New York City, New York
Find them at: 52 Prince Street, New York, NY
Roomy and well-lit, McNally Jackson features a wide selection of titles on practically any topic you can think of, in a number of global languages. Plus, their always-packed calendar of events means you can really spend all day here.
22. Strand Bookstore, New York City, New York
Find them at: 828 Broadway, New York, NY
When I think of book-buying in New York City, I think of Strand Bookstore first. An independent bookstore specializing in new, used, rare, and out-of-print titles (so basically anything you could ever want) Strand Bookstore boasts 18 miles’ worth of books. It’s a book lover's dream.
23. Longfellow Books, Portland, Maine
Find them at: 1 Monument Way, Portland, ME
I have two words for you: store cat. Enough said. …OK, maybe not quite enough said. (But a good bookstore cat will get me through the door every time.) Portland, Maine’s Longfellow Books offers a huge selection of new and used books, and a great variety of featured staff picks.
24. Brattle Book Shop, Boston, Massachusetts
Find them at: 9 West Street, Boston, MA
In addition to being one of the largest and oldest used bookstores in the United States, Brattle Book Shop’s unparalleled collection of rare and antiquarian books practically guarantees you’ll leave with something that’ll make you the envy of all the other readers in your local book club. Plus, their outdoor sale lot means you can browse books outside.
25. Watchung Booksellers, Montclair, New Jersey
Find them at: 54 Fairfield Street, Montclair, NJ
An independent community bookstore located in the heart of Montclair, New Jersey, Watchung Booksellers and their staff have a pulse on what their neighbors want to read, and they stock accordingly, while also supporting the local community in various artistic and literary endeavors — a great thing to contribute to this Small Business Saturday.
26. Atomic Books, Baltimore, Maryland
Find them at: 3620 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD
Atomic Books might be the quirkiest locale on this list, and I love them for it. They’re an independent bookstore that features small press titles and work by indie comics and graphic novelists. Plus, they have a bar.
27. Politics & Prose, Washington D.C.
Find them at: 5015 Connecticut Avenue. NW, Washington, D.C.
Politics & Prose is exactly the kind of independent bookstore you’d expect to find in Washington D.C. — and President Barack Obama has been known to visit this particular shop on Small Business Saturday himself. They maintain a great community vibe despite being located in a big city, and their selection of books is awesome. They also have a wine and coffee bar.
28. Upshur Street Books, Washington D.C.
Find them at: 827 Upshur Street NW, Washington, DC
Upshur Street Books is another great Washington D.C. find — especially if you’re looking for a place that isn’t jam-packed with tourists. They stock a little bit of everything, including a great selection of books about D.C. life and history.
29. Parnassus Books, Nashville, Tennessee
Find them at: 3900 Hillsboro Pike #14, Nashville, TN
Parnassus Books is one of my faves — a first stop whenever I’m passing through Nashville (and sometimes I go out of my way to pass through Nashville just to pass through Parnassus.) Co-owned by bestselling author Ann Patchett, you know their stock is going to be impeccably selected. In addition to all the great titles you’d expect, they also have a noteworthy selection of local authors.
30. The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Virginia
Find them at: 1312 East Cary Street, Richmond, VA
I once lived in Richmond, Virginia for six months, and I think I spent about five of those six months in The Fountain Bookstore. Located on cobblestoned-and-cozy Cary Street in the heart of downtown Richmond, The Fountain Bookstore has a small, but quirky, selection of new books and assorted literary items. They've also featured a small collection of highly-amusing socks for sale, so keep an eye out for those.
31. Battery Park Book Exchange, Asheville, North Carolina
Find them at: Grove Arcade, 1 Page Avenue #101, Asheville, NC
Another bookstore that I will drive miles (like, lots of miles) out of my way to visit is Battery Park Book Exchange, in Asheville, North Carolina. This is a bookstore you can actually get lost in — really, I’ve done it myself and needed assistance getting back out. Battery Park Book Exchange is located in the heart of downtown Asheville, and features winding, mesmerizing shelves and staircases and floors filled with thousands of new and used books. They also have a champagne bar, in case you really want to lose yourself.
32. A Cappella Books, Atlanta, Georgia
Find them at: 208 Haralson Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA
The Atlanta-based A Cappella Books features an impressive selection new, used, and antiquarian titles, with a specific nod to books about music and politics. They also schedule tons of book signings, so be sure to check out what signed books they have in stock, or coming up.
33. Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, Louisiana
Find them at: 624 Pirate Alley, New Orleans, LA
This former home of William Faulkner now houses an independent bookstore — or, as Faulkner House Books describes themselves “a sanctuary for fine literature.” Aka: exactly where I want to spend my Small Business Saturday. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, Faulkner House Books features new titles, as well as rare, signed, and out of print books. Several are even about William Faulkner himself.
34. Maple Street Book Shop, New Orleans, Louisiana
Find them at: 7529 Maple Street, New Orleans, LA
Another New Orleans must-visit, Maple Street Book Shop is an independent bookstore offering new, used, and rare titles, and acts as a hub for Louisiana book lovers. They feature a great local spotlight section, celebrating local authors, fiction, and non-fiction.
35. Books & Books, Miami, Florida
Find them at: Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach, FL
Books & Books is a locally-owned, independent bookstore with three locations in South Florida: Miami, Coral Gables, and Bal Harbour. According to their website, they host a whopping 60 author events each month, so you know what that means: plenty of signed books.
Images: Patrik Göthe/Unsplash; giphy(12)