14 Authors Name Their Favorite Independent Bookstores for National Indie Bookstore Day

14 Authors Name Their Favorite Independent Bookstores for National Indie Bookstore Day

Here at Bookish, we love a good indie bookstore. The staff are always so welcoming, the events well put together, and nothing beats a book recommendation from a bookstore owner. In honor of National Indie Bookstore Day, we’ve rounded up a few authors who wanted to share what their favorite indie is. Hopefully this list will give you a few more stores to hit up today!

Jules FeifferCanio’s & The Strand

“Here in Easthampton, there’s a great bookstore in Sag Harbor called Canio’s. That’s a favorite. I’ve been out of the city for years, and bookstores have changed completely. The Barnes and Noble at 82nd street has so much electronic junk. They’ve made themselves over into some sort of Frankenstein to survive. My favorite bookstore there is probably the Strand. They’re a real, old-fashioned bookstore.”

Jo Walton: Powell’s 

“This is an impossible question, because there are so many of them and they are all so great in their different ways. If I’m forced to choose, my favorite has to be Powell’s in Portland, because they’re just so big and comprehensive and they cover a whole city block. I wish they’d open a branch in Montreal.”

Anand Gopal: St. Mark’s Bookshop

“Tough question, because I’m fortunate to live in New York City, where there are a number of excellent indie bookstores. My favorite, because of its location and selection, is St. Mark’s Bookshop—where I stopped just before leaving for Afghanistan for the first time, to stock up on reading material.”

Kim Stolz: BookHampton

“My favorite bookstore is BookHampton out in the Hamptons. I grew up going to it, and they’ve got a great selection. It feels like home to me.”

Andrew Meredith: Small World Books

“I like Small World Books on the Venice Boardwalk. They have a pretty nice selection of poetry and art books, a good noir section, lots of lower-profile literary novels. Also, the people behind the counter are always eating stuff that smells good like tabouleh and big wraps full of garlicky chicken and grapes. There are balsamic notes. They keep it appropriately Mediterranean from what I can smell. The best part of that store, though, is neither the view of the Pacific from the front window nor the shade of the palms, but rather the glorious fact that there are no cats on premises, i.e. my number one requirement in a bookstore. If I walk into your store and have to ask myself “Is this a business or the SPCA?” then you will not be getting my book dollar.”

Monica Byrne: The Regulator Bookshop

“Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, and The Regulator Bookshop in Durham. The Regulator, especially—it’s a Durham institution, and when I first moved to Durham 9 years ago, I went there asking for a job. Basically, everyone who was a young creative type goes [there] looking for a job, and they’re hard to come by. It’s just a wonderful community space; they have so many author readings, and they’ve been there for ages. It’s my home bookstore.”

Steve PressmanBooks Inc., Book Passage, & Green Apple Books

“I’m very fortunate to live in San Francisco, where independents still appear to be doing reasonably well—knock on wood—all around the Bay Area. I head over to Books Inc. (in SF’s Civic Center) from time to time. And Elaine Petrocelli’s Book Passage is another longtime favorite. Every once in a while, I drop by Green Apple Books. I just love the smell of the place—that rich, deep, used-bookstore smell that I love.”

Erika JohansenCopperfield’s Books

“Copperfield’s Books, a wondrous and happy place.”

Peter SísThe Children’s Book Shop

“Everything I do is for the Children’s Book Shop in Brookline: I designed their posters, if I win something I give them a share. They’re struggling and fighting for existence in Brookline, Massachusetts. The scary part is also there aren’t many stores left, for children, I mean, and they’re special to me.”

Rebecca RotertThe Bookworm & Many More

“I never met an indie I didn’t like… We’ve got one lone indie left here in Omaha: The Bookworm, and the most wonderful used/rare joint called Jackson Street Booksellers. Prairie Lights in Iowa City is a must-stop when driving across the plains. (I still, in my mind, visit the ghosts of Ketterson’s and the Amazon feminist bookstore in Minneapolis, both gone now.) The abundance of Powell’s in Portland and the history of San Francisco’s City Lights bring me to my knees and intimidate me in a good way. The Strand in NY. I’ve loitered at the Tattered Cover for years on every visit to Denver and I love it more each time I visit. I’m totally guilty of judging a city by its indie (or lack thereof). Indie-free cities get chucked to the Cities To Which I Can Never Move list.”

Brendan Deneen: [words]

“My local store in NJ is [words] in Maplewood and I love it. I keep going in there and making sure my Flash Gordon graphic novels are easy to find!”

Lisa O’DonnellPowell’s

“My favorite independent bookstore has to be Powell’s. The recycling of literature and making it affordable for everyone is an incredible concept. I love Powell’s.”

Josh MalermanBook Beat, Schuler, & More

Book Beat in Oak Park, MI. Schuler in Lansing and Grand Rapids. Joseph-Beth in Cincinnati and Lexington, KY. Bookbug in Kalamazoo. Nicola’s in Ann Arbor, MI. City Lit in Chicago.”

Gary Kriss: Any & All Indies

“Any indie bookstore I happen to be in at the time is my favorite! It’s not a flip answer. I love indie bookstores and I’m totally committed to seeing them survive and thrive. I know, admire, and appreciate all the factors that keep indies afloat, even when some are shouting to them ‘get out—the water’s rising!’ One thing about water—it rises and it recedes. If you love being near water, you realize and accept that. You don’t move away: You learn how to swim and maybe you have a boat handy. But you don’t scare off. Now I’m not quite sure what all that means, but I know what I want it to mean and it’s this: God bless the indies, I love them and everything they represent!”


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