One of our greatest pleasures when traveling is to vsit the wonderdul independent bookstores that can still be found around the world. During the pandemic, most of these stores are closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit them and show your support. Just go online and choose your favorite book or magazine. It’s time to brew that perfect cup of tea, break out those comfy sweatpants, and start in on a story. Whether you’re in the mood for a travel memoir like Wild by Cheryl Strayed, a riveting novel like The Call of the Wild by Jack London, or even if you want to learn some magic tricks, these independent bookstores are open online and ready to share with you some of the greatest stories ever told.
This store focuses on (you guessed it) magazines. You can find everything you could possibly imagine. From popular titles like Marie Claire, to celebrated international publications like Der Spiegel, and even magazines you’ve never heard of, like New Humanist, a magazine dedicated to the evolving humanism movement. Whatever you’re in the mood for, it can be found here.
Harvard Book Store
The Harvard Book Store isn’t actually officially part of Harvard. However, the store, which dates back to 1932, is a Cambridge landmark and is one of the most well-respected indie bookstores in all of America. They have a wide selection of popular literature, while also having an entire basement dedicated to discounted used books (which you can purchase online as well). They even have a selection of books that are published right inside the bookstore! Yep, they have their very own printing press.
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, California
The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles is a massive labyrinth of literature. Shop books by famous authors like Joan Didion and Mary Karr, and also find a wide range of California-centered books, as well as an excellent lineup of “staff picks” that are sure to keep you entertained long after lockdown ends.
Attic Books is in a little college town in Ontario, Canada, but it’s home to some of the coolest used books ever. They have a huge selection of hard-to-find vintage classics, retro gay erotica, books on the occult, and even first editions of classic novels like Catch-22. Browsing through their selection is an experience in and of itself!
Dubray is bringing back Irish literature (amongst many other genres) and is your perfect destination for finding all the Oscar Wilde classics, as well as some of his works you might not have heard of before, such as Only Dull People Are Brilliant at Breakfast. Dubray ships all over Europe.
Let’s not lie. During our lockdown, we’re all looking to try new things. So, why not witchcraft or wiccanry? And what better place to find books on magic than Salem? HEX has books on herbal magic, crystals, divination, and more. And why stop there? They also sell candles, potions, and spell kits for beginners, among much much more!
The Bookshop sells all things LGBTQ. From books like Mama’s Boy by Dustin Lance Black, to films like Call Me By Your Name, you can find everything here. They also have a wide collection of erotica, and even a section of Aussie and Kiwi queer media.
Powell’s calls itself the “city of books” because the Portland bookstore got so large that it had to open a few additional locations around town, as well as a massive warehouse to house its collection. Powell’s currently has over 4 million books in stock, featuring new, used, rare, out-of-print editions, and even signed copies. If you’re ever in Portland, it’s a must-visit destination. But in the meantime, browse their online store and find something new!
London and Bristol, England
Stanford’s is the world’s best store for travel goods. From books to maps to travel gear, it has it all. Their book selection is massive and has everything you could ever need. From travel literature like Bill Bryson, to field guides, travel guides, books on plant species, and even travel fiction, like Robinson Crusoe. Whatever you’re looking for, they’ve got it.
B&B Rare Books
New York, New York
Maybe you’re looking for something very specific. Well, B&B probably has it. They’re one of the world’s leading shops for rare books. Among their collection is a signed copy of African Game Trails by Theodore Roosevelt from 1910 for $11,000, and a first edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, printed in 1891 for a much more reasonable $5,500. Even if you don’t end up buying, just browsing their collection can keep you entertained for hours.
Book People is Austin’s premiere local bookstore, and their online shop is just as quirky and unique as the city itself. Their online store is arranged by lists; like Austin Writers, which features books like The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward, and a comedy section, which features books like Good Omens by Neil Gaiman. They also have a large selection of mystery, YA, and memoirs, as well as board games and activities to keep you occupied.
San Diego, California
San Diego isn’t just home to Comic Con, it’s also home to Mysterious Galaxy, a bookshop that is dedicated to Sci-Fi, fantasy, horror, and mystery. They sell classics like Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury and new released like The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. It’s a treasure trove for anyone looking to add a little adventure to their lockdown.
San Francisco, California
This little bookshop in The Bay Area focuses on cooking and food. They have a wide range of cookbooks, books on meats, and even books that explore the history of food and cooking. Best of all, they have created a “Quarantine Quenchers” section online that’s loaded with all the books you need to cook your way through lockdown. From Julia Child to Jamie Oliver, they’ve got everything you covered.
Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse
Amalgam is your classic comic shop…with a twist—they also have a great online store. There, you can find comic books and graphic novels for all your favorites like X-Men, Avatar, Black Panther, Wonder Woman and more. You can also find new and emerging comic series you may have never heard of before, along with T-Shirts, toys, and everything else fandom has to offer.
Bleak House Books
Bleak House sells a wide range of fine books and comics in both English and Chinese. It’s an excellent way to discover new books from authors on the other side of the globe. Most notably is the new release City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong, by ex-pat Anthony Dapiran, which chronicle his witness of the 2019 Hong Kong uprising.
57th Street Books
57th Street Books is a local bookshop in Chicago’s southside that also serves as a book co-op with the University of Chicago. That means they’ll have all the literary classics you could want like The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, as well as books on sociology, economics, film, and anthropology. They even have an entire section of books published by faculty at UChicago.
Politics and Prose
If you’re looking for excellent nonfiction, especially literature pertaining to thought, politics, and history, then Politics and Prose is your perfect bookshop. From The Book of Gutsy Women by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton to Walden by Henry David Thoreau, this bookstore has you covered. Who knows, you might even come out of lockdown with a desire to run for office.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Nestled into the college town of Ann Arbor, right by the renowned University of Michigan, sits Literati. With a quaint café upstairs, and college kids roaming the aisles, this place makes you feel like you’ve teleported to a simpler time. From popular culinary books like Infused by Henrietta Lovell, to highly praised new releases like In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado, Literati your go-to spot for a wide range of titles.
The Poisoned Pen
Looking for some mystery and whodunnit action? Fans of the film Knives Out will love The Poisoned Pen. From literary staples like Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie to modern classics like Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, this bookshop will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Books Are Magic
Brooklyn, New York
Author Emma Straub (The Vacationers, Modern Lovers) decided to open her own bookstore – which has since gone on to become one of New York’s favorites. With new release titles, salacious memoirs, classics, and award-winning YA, it’s one of the best little bookshops around.
BooksActually is an awesome shop filled with quality literature you might not find otherwise. You can find emerging hits like This Side of Heaven by Cyril Wong as well as Singaporean literature like Singapore Noir, a collection of 14 short mysteries by famous Singaporean authors. Many of the books are in English and are compiled from authors around the world.
A Capella Books
A Capella has a wide selection of books of all genres, including a huge range of books focusing on Atlanta and the South, and a great selection of books from the Beat generation, like Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gary Snyder and more. You can even find some signed first editions!
Burlington is known as one of America’s coolest little towns. And why shouldn’t it be? Home to companies like Ben and Jerry’s and Burton, while also being home to a large university, the town is young, funky, and unique. Crow Bookshop is no exception. You can find new, used, and rare titles from numerous genres.
Murder by the Book
Looking for mystery, true crime, and books on historical madmen like Jack the Ripper? Then you need to check out Murder by the Book. This little bookstore in Houston celebrates all things death and murder. As their website says, in here, “A Good Crime is Had by All!”
Moe’s has been around since 1959 and has even been home to scandal. Back in the 60s, the bookstore was selling indecent magazines and underground comics, for which the store was raided and the owner, Moe, was held at $500 bail. Today, the bookstore continues its reputation, bringing you all the books you could ever want. From popular titles, to banned books, to rare first editions, Moe’s is dedicated to bringing literature to all.