I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for
a good book shop — anywhere cluttered and cozy, maybe with a big fireplace, antique ladders stacked high with classics, chairs you can lose yourself in for hours, colorful end tables littered with mismatched tea cups and coffee mugs. I love bookstores nearly as much as I love the books they sell. And as a book-lover who spends a lot of my reading life on the road, one of my favorite ways to get the feel of a new city or country is to browse their bookstores.
But as fun as it is to take in great book shops across the word, it also leads to some
serious book shop FOMO. It’s a feeling I imagine most book lovers can relate to: you might be in Los Angeles or Chicago, and all of a sudden the urge to browse the shelves of New York City’s Strand Bookstore, or Paris’s Shakespeare and Company, becomes overwhelming. The good news is, there are probably tons of amazing book shops in your neck of the woods, if you look hard enough — and when you can’t get to the one you’re dreaming about immediately, there’s always Instagram. Or, should I say, #bookstagram?
Check out these 20
book shops that every book-lover should follow on Instagram. They’ll inspire your own #shelfies, for sure. Follow: @bookshelftville
This Indie bookstore in Thomasville, Georgia has been serving up books to their local community for over 30 years, describing themselves as "the little bookshop that could." And their smiles-and-books filled Instagram will totally brighten up your feed.
Boasting their iconic 18 miles of new, used, and rare books, Strand Book Store is the place that generates most of my book browsing FOMO. When I can’t get up to New York, their Instagram account is almost enough to hold me over until my next trip.
Located in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, the family-owned bookstore Books Are Magic is owned by a family all bookworms will recognize: Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub. You’ll add a little something new to your TBR pile every time you scroll through their feed.
If a trip to the Philippines isn’t in your near future, the Instagram account of the National Book Store might be the next best thing. As the Philippines’s most-loved bookstore, they feature fun and colorful photos highlighting what readers love best: books!
Another bookstore you’ll spend lots of time missing when you're not there, Shakespeare and Company is the iconic Paris bookstore located just across Le Seine from Notre Dame. They’ve been called the most famous bookstore in the world — founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919 as a place where French and American expat writers could gather.
Add some feminism to your book-lovin’ feed with Bluestockings Bookstore. Bluestockings began as Bluestockings Women’s Bookstore, a community space for women in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Featuring over 6000 titles on all things feminist, queer, radical, and social justice, the bookstore is named after The Blue Stockings Society, a mid-18th century English political movement founded to promote both writing and reading by women.
Established in 1980, the Chicago-based Unabridged Bookstore describes themselves as a “fiercely independent” book store. Their feed features just a glimpse of the store’s awesome author events and book-loving community members.
Politics and Prose is exactly the kind of independent book store you’d expect to find in Washington D.C. — and former President Barack Obama has been known to visit this particular bookshop himself. They maintain a great community vibe despite being located in a big city, and their selection of books is awesome. Just like their Instagram.
Tattered Cover Book Store
There’s always something fun going on at Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store. And you can tell the team of this locally-owned literary locale loves what they do. Since 1971 Tattered Cover has been selling new and used books, hosting tons of author events (nearly 400 authors, illustrators, and public figures each year), all while maintaining an awesomely cozy atmosphere captured in their feed.
This San Francisco icon, City Lights Books, is a book store/publisher hybrid that specializes in world literature, art, and progressive politics. You can almost imagine Allen Ginsberg photobombing their Instagram feed.
Another New York City-based indie book store, Book Culture isn’t afraid to challenge its readers by featuring tons of political, feminist, progressive, and controversial books, both on their shelves and throughout their Instagram account. There’s also a healthy dose of children’s books featured too — love.
Described as Houston's premiere independent bookseller since 1974, Brazos Bookstore boasts the kind of staff you want to spend all afternoon hanging out with — at least, judging from their Instagram feed, these folks look like a fun, funny, book-loving crowd. If you get the chance to take your browsing off Instagram and directly to their store, be sure to check out one of their many author signing events.
Powell's Books is actually a chain of independent book stores in Portland, Oregon, and collectively form the largest independent new and used book store in the world. Suffice it to say they're a #bookstagrammer's must-follow.
Not only does Housing Works have a bookishly beautiful Instagram feed, it also supports a beautiful mission. Founded in 1990, the New York City-based Housing Works is a social enterprise–business that provides housing, medical, prevention, and support services for over 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS.
We know what Rory Gilmore thought about the Harvard Library, so I can only imagine how much she might have geeked out over the Harvard Book Store. Too bad Instagram didn’t exist in Rory’s college years… she would have loved scrolling through this book-filled feed from Yale’s stacks.
This Ann Arbor-based independent book store boasts three floors of books, in addition to facilitating local book clubs and plenty of literary events. Literati Bookstore’s Instagram is one of the most colorful and creative indie book store accounts you’ll find—don’t be surprised if you find yourself looking for a last-minute flight to Ann Arbor.
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
This Chicago book store co-op has been member-owned since 1961, beginning with just 17 members and boasting over 53,000 today. Seminary Co-op Bookstores shelve tons of academic titles (based on their proximity to University of Chicago) as well as tons of other titles that’ll keep you browsing all day.
If you consider yourself a book person, the book people at BookPeople will totally get you. BookPeople is Texas' largest independent book store, and their readers and staff have perfected the art of the book selfie.
Another Chicago gem, Pilsen Community Books sells both new and used books in addition to supporting Pilsen's neighborhood schools by promoting literacy and providing students with books. Pay all that book love forward.
Artsy, loud, and colorful, it doesn’t take much IG scrolling to get a sense of what Housmans Bookshop has to offer. This London-based indie bookshop is the place to go for books, zines and periodicals of radical interest and progressive politics.