9 Nonprofit Bookstores That Every Book-Lover Needs To Visit

Any book-lover will tell you that independent bookstores are the foundation of our communities. But within the category of independent bookstores, there's another very special category of shops: the nonprofit and collectively-owned bookstores. The profits from their sales usually go towards keeping the shop open and freely available for events or towards a good cause. It's a win/win — you get more books, and you get to give back to your community.

In an interview with Bustle about Independent Bookstore Day in April 2018, author Celeste Ng said: "Whenever you buy at an independent bookstore, most of that money stays in your immediate community. I learned recently that shifting even a small percentage of your book buying — as little as 1 in every 10 books you buy — goes a huge way towards the health of your local bookstore and your community. So when you shop locally, you’re helping the local economy, too."

This is especially true for nonprofit and collectively-owned bookstores, which often serve as safe spaces for community and conversation. Plus, you'll find that plenty of these bookstores are politically-minded and are focused on feminist ideologies and policies that ensure the equality of all people.

I love bookstores, and I'm always looking for a new place to browse. But I especially love it when I can shop for a good cause. So no matter where you are in the United States, here are some fantastic nonprofit and collective bookstores that you need to check out:

Bluestockings: New York City

Find them at: 172 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002

Bluestockings is a "volunteer-powered and collectively-owned radical bookstore, fair trade cafe, and activist center" in the LES. Stop by for a feminist book, a vegan treat, or an inspiring reading and discussion.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe: New York City

Find them at: 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe's mission is to "end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS." At this nonprofit, all-donation, volunteer-based bookstore, you can buy books, music, coffee, and more to support their charitable mission.

Wooden Shoe Books: Philadelphia

Find them at: 704 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147

Wooden Shoe is an all volunteer, collectively-run, anarchist bookstore with no bosses or managers. Filled with awesome feminist and politically radical books, this store is truly a treat to visit.

Readers Bookstore: San Francisco

Find them at: Fort Mason Center, 2 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123

Operated by the nonprofit Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, Readers Bookstore is a true gem. The best part is that the money you spend here benefits the public library!

Monkeywrench Books: Austin

Find them at: 110 N Loop Blvd E, Austin, TX 78751

Monkeywrench Books is a radical "all-volunteer event space, literature distro, and social hub." A great place to stop by for a fresh zine or to join in on a community event.

Open Books: Chicago

Find them at: 651 W Lake St, Chicago, IL 60661 and 3411, 905 W 19th St, Chicago, IL 60608

OK, so Open Books is super cool. They are a "a nonprofit social venture that provides literacy experiences for tens of thousands of readers each year through inspiring programs and the creative capitalization of books." That's right, they fund literacy programs, book grants, and more by selling donated books.

Charis Books: Atlanta

Find them at: 1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

Charis Books is one of the oldest feminist independent bookstores in the country, and it also includes a nonprofit programming arm called Charis Circle. Charis Circle "encourages the expression of diverse and marginalized voices, fosters sustainable feminist communities, and works for social justice."

More Than Words: Boston and Waltham, MA

Find them at: 242 E Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02118 and 56 Felton St, Waltham, MA 02453

More Than Words is a "a nonprofit social enterprise that empowers youth who are in the foster care system, court involved, homeless, or out of school to take charge of their lives by taking charge of a business." That's right, this bookstore is run by young adults. You have to check it out.

Left Bank Books: Seattle

Find them at: Pike Place Market, 92 Pike Street # B, Seattle, Washington

Left Bank Books is a radical, anarchist, collectively-owned bookstore, selling new and used books. They specialize in anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles. An absolute must-visit if you're in Seattle!