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8 Author-Owned Bookstores Every Book Lover Needs To Visit

Today is the fifth annual Independent Bookstore Day β€” and these shops owned by authors like Judy Blume, Louise Erdrich, and more, are a great place to celebrate.

Posted on April 27, 2019, at 12:05 p.m. ET

Nestled in the historic Falk's Market, the indie bookstore and cafΓ© An Unlikely Story is owned by Jeff Kinney (author of the children's series Diary of a Wimpy Kid) and his wife Julie. The shop regularly hosts author events and encourages long visits, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee, and wine.

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Paddington Bear storytime, more info here.

2. Parnassus Books, Nashville

Courtesy of Parnassus Books

Co-owned by Ann Patchett (Commonwealth, Bel Canto, the forthcoming The Dutch House) and her business partner Karen Hayes, Parnassus Books is not only a bookshop but also a bookmobile, traveling around Nashville with a selection of titles. It also hosts two book clubs.

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Singalong storytime, music, prizes, giveaways, and one-day-only books and merch. More info here.

3. Birchbark Books and Native Arts, Minneapolis

Courtesy of Birchbark Books

Owned by Louise Erdrich (The Round House, The Bingo Palace, Future Home of the Living God), Birchbark Books and Native Arts specializes in Native literature and Native-made goods, including basketry, jewelry, paintings, and more.

[ Related: Louise Erdrich, Great American Novelist, Is Just Getting Started ]

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Giveaways, music, live poetry, refreshments, and children's creative activities coordinated with ARTrageous Adventures. More info here.

Ashley Warlick (The Arrangement, Seek the Living, The Summer After June) is a partner at M. Judson Books, which specializes in Southern books but also serves food, sells vintage home goods, and works with local artists. The shop is named after and inspired by Mary Judson, who worked as principal of the Greenville Female College in the early 19th century and taught every class the school offered.

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Story time, author talks, and more. More info here.

5. Books Are Magic, Brooklyn

Michael Chin

Owned by Emma Straub (Modern Lovers, The Vacationers, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures) and husband Michael Fusco-Straub, Books Are Magic hosts nearly daily readings and panels, and features a substantial children's section complete with reading nook.

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Storytime, exclusive merch, hidden coupons and prizes. More info here.

Uncle Bobbie's Coffee & Books, owned by author and professor Marc Lamont Hill (Beats, Rhymes, and Classroom Life: Hip-Hop Pedagogy and the Politics of Identity, Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on The Vulnerable from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond), is home to a vast and diverse politics section; it also specializes in literature by African and African-American writers. The shop β€” named after Hill's own uncle, who was "committed to a lifetime of learning" and whose home was "a bastion of unapologetic Blackness" β€” isn't holding any Indie Bookstore Day-specific events on April 27, but will be hosting the launch of Mumia Abu-Jamal's Murder Inc.: Empire, Genocide, and Manifest Destiny.

The nonprofit shop Books & Books at the Studios of Key West is affiliated with both the Florida independent bookseller Books & Books and the nonprofit arts and culture center The Studios of Key West. It's also co-owned by Judy Blume and husband George Cooper, and, in addition to its vibrant collection, sells a full line of art supplies.

Indie Bookstore Day 2019 events: Exclusive merch, giveaways, refreshments, and more. More info here.

Co-founded by Lawrence Ferlenghetti (A Coney Island of the Mind, Little Boy) in 1953, City Lights has long been a staple of the San Francisco literary community. The store began as the country's first all-paperback bookstore, but has since added hardcovers into the mix, and specializes in titles from small or rare presses. City Lights isn't holding any Indie Bookstore Day-specific events, but it's as good a day as any to stop by and support β€” and maybe read for a bit in their cozy poetry room.


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