When you think of a great local bookstore, you probably single it out for its conscientious curation, enthralling events, and splendid staff. But what makes a bookstore go from great to one of the best in America? We partnered with Yelp to explore the best independent bookstores our country has to offer. There are no chains on this list. Using an algorithm that looks at the number of reviews and star rating for each business, Yelp singled out the top bookseller in each state.
We found that the unique touches that make a bookstore the best are just as diverse as America itself. There is a bookshop for just about every age and taste: some are children-focused stores with story time galore, like Minnesota’s Wild Rumpus. Others lean towards adult-only fare: Books and booze is becoming quite a trend, just take Maine’s Elements: Books Coffee Beer and Denver’s BookBar for example. Some stores are particularly interactive. Little Shop of Stories in Georgia has a room that brings Goodnight, Moon to life and The Writer’s Block in Las Vegas is home to an artificial bird sanctuary complete with fake birds just waiting to be adopted! Others have no gimmicks at all—just a passionate staff filled with avid, adventurous readers that just want to put the right read in their customer’s hand.
Of course, we couldn’t be in touch with bookstore employees without asking for a list of recommendations. Though the picks run the gamut (local history, critically acclaimed novels, children’s books, text books), many stores recommended local authors. Take a peek—maybe you’ll even discover your new favorite author.