You don’t have to be a bookworm to appreciate what this assortment of bookstores has to offer! They have anything from interesting architecture to niche reading materials to a unique attraction. You’ll want to start buying all your book-related goods from these shops—or at least plan a road trip to check them out. Here they are, in no particular order: The Coolest Bookstores in the US.
1. McNally Jackson Books
McNally Jackson Books in New York City seems to have every book and magazine in print! As a fun twist, they arrange their books according to nation! Don’t worry, they have a knowledgable staff to help you if you get lost in the wrong country. In addition to a killer cafe, they also boast an Espresso Book Machine, which prints library-quality paperbacks in minutes!
2. The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles started in owner Josh Spencer’s loft, but it was basically just an online store. After several moves, the store is now called a “cathedral of books” and takes up almost 20,000 square feet!
3. The Montague Bookmill
The Montague Bookmill in Montague, Massachusetts will pique your interest with its catchphrase alone: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” Challenge accepted! Located a few miles north of Amherst, Massachusetts, this bookstore is housed in a gristmill built in 1842! It overlooks the Sawmill River, and you can sip coffee or beer while watching the nearby waterfall.
4. Quimby’s Bookstore
Quimby’s Bookstore isn’t your typical shop—you won’t find the latest on the bestseller list here! Quimby’s has a wide selection of what they call “unusual publications,” which includes zines, underground comics, and small press releases.
5. Square Books
Square Books calls Oxford, MS home. This shop is located on, you guessed it—the town square! It’s a small, quaint shop—so small, in fact, that it has a few spin-off locations elsewhere on the square! Square Books Jr. has a huge selection of children’s books, and Off Square Books, which has front windows that roll up.
6. Powell’s Books
You can’t talk about bookstores without mentioning the king of them all, Powell’s Books in Portland, OR. This is quite possibly the world’s largest bookstore, selling both new and used books. They have a wide variety of strange and contemporary books, as well as a strong online presence that ensure you don’t have to be in Oregon to shop at one of the best!
7. Bart’s Books
Bart’s Books in Ojai, California is—get this—an outdoor bookstore! It started when owner Richard Bartinsdale realized he had too many books for his house. He built a few bookcases to put outside, and encouraged people to stop and look and leave money in coffee cans on the shelves.
8. Rizzoli Bookstore
Rizzoli Bookstore takes up six stories of a townhouse in New York City. It has been called “the most beautiful bookstore in New York,” and for good reason! It has vaulted ceilings, chandeliers, and a Diocletian window that lets in loads of natural light to ensure the books’ natural beauty is on display.
9. Magers & Quinn
Magers & Quinn started as a small bookstore—so small, the books were laid out on tables instead of displayed on shelves! It’s now the biggest bookstore in Minneapolis, MN. The collection includes current releases, but also rare and hard-to-find books—all at discounted prices!
10. Maple Street Book Shop
New Orleans isn’t all about voodoo and Bourbon Street—Maple Street Book Shop has been around since the 1960s and is still going strong. It started as “five rooms of paperbacks,” but expanded as the owners special ordered books for customers and allowed people to hang out on the side porch sharing avant garde ideas.
11. Blue Bicycle Books
Blue Bicycle Books has a lot of volumes about its hometown of Charleston, SC. Their 50,000+ volumes, however, also include history, science, philosophy, and literary fiction, just to name a few. An extra cool thing about this bookstore is that they host a creative writing camp for kids every summer—this year marks the 11th anniversary of this workshop!
Featured photo credit: Germán Póo-Caamaño via flickr.com