How many are on your list to visit?

By Liz Steelman
Updated February 01, 2017

If you’re like us at Real Simple, you love a good bookstore. You could spend hours just rifling through the stacks, looking at colorful spines, only to take the occasional coffee break (with a book or magazine in hand, of course). You might even plan your vacations around that great independent bookseller you heard about. Well, if you need recommendations, Publisher’s Weekly has a fantastic list for you. The “bible of the book business,” announced the five finalists for the 2017 Bookstore of the Year earlier this week.

The stores nominated this year are “some of the most creative and energetic … in the business,” Cevin Bryerman, Publisher’s Weekly publisher, said in a statement. “All are community leaders.”

Last year, 165 year-old Books Inc., with stores across the Bay Area, claimed the top prize. Though none of the stores on this year’s list are quite that old, they all have their own claims to fame. Two stores, The King’s English Bookshop (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Prairie Lights (Iowa City, Iowa), have been operating since the mid-seventies. Parnaussus Books (Nashville, Tenn.) is co-owned by New York Times bestselling author Ann Patchett. Avid Bookshop (Athens, Ga.) is a relative newcomer to the independent bookshop scene, opening in October 2011. Rounding out the list is Wild Rumpus Books (Minneapolis, Minn.), the only children-focused bookstore to ever be nominated.

The 2017 winner will be announced at the BookExpo, taking place in New York City in March.