Independent Book Stores

Jan 26, 2023 by Gency Brown

Put away the gloom and doom. Our friends, the independent book stores, seem to be making a comeback. At least every time I turn around, I hear of a new one somewhere. Yes, we’ve lost some old favorites, especially as a result of the recent pandemic, but hark, what looms on yonder horizon? A new place where I can buy the latest New York Times best seller or have a cup of tea and a cookie over an old favorite. A survey conducted by Statista shows an increase from 1401 in 2009 to 2023 in 2022. Of course there was a drop in 2019-21, but look how we bounce back. 

I hear someone say, “But they don’t keep enough on hand. By the time I get there, they’ve sold the one or two copies they had.” or “They won’t buy more than one of my books at a time”, (Most are small and have limited resources for purchasing) or the mantra of today’s impatient customer, “If I have them order it, I’ll see it in maybe a week or two. Amazon prime will have it at my door in two days.”. All true, but you miss my point.

As much as we authors need the online services to buy and sell books, these brick- and- mortar shop owners provide services they cannot. The fellow reader who loves to talk the written word with you. Authors, editors, students, coaches hanging out together and networking. Many locations offer events like book signings or book clubs. Our senses are stimulated by rows of shelves and tables filled with the colorful covers that entice us to pick them up.

I’ll share a few that I have visited or have heard good things about. You can do as I did, and google independent book stores. Some sites provide them by state, others by general focus.

My new favorite here in Albuquerque is Books on the Bosque which opened a few months ago. The atmosphere is like being in your own living room with snacks, coffee and tea close at hand while you peruse the well curated volumes and the staff is welcoming. Last Saturday I attended Prose Night there. It is basically an open mic for authors to read from their work. I had a blast reading and listening.

Treasure House Books has been around for decades and is still going strong in the Old Town section of Albuquerque. They are a powerhouse of support for local authors.

The Children’s book genre continues to grow and is supported by specialty stores across the country. Hooray For Books in Alexandria, VA and Mr. Mopps’ Children’s Books in Berkley, CA are good examples.

If black topics and authors are your thing, Positive Vibes in Virginia Beach, VA will fit your bill. 

Most, of course, provide a general selection from all genres.  Full Circle Bookstore  is the largest in the Oklahoma City area and is located in a high-rise office and retail space. It may sound cold and elite site, but it is a surprisingly cozy place for author and music events.

I have wonderful memories of visiting Kramers in the heart of the Dupont Circle area of Washington, DC. A popular gathering spot since 1976, it provides books, gifts, events, and a full café in the back.

If you like to sip a glass of wine while you read, visit Bards Alley in Vienna, VA. 

Many venue websites will offer the opportunity to order online. A recent addition to online ordering is  It allows you to order books while selecting the independent book store you wish to support with your purchase. offers the same for digital books. These are perfect ways for someone who can’t get to their favorite seller for some reason or doesn’t crave the personal attention and camaraderie, to support what I feel is still an important segment of the book world. Independent books stores. Visit one soon.