Best Bookstores in the Midwest

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    • #31420

      Hello Midwestern MMDBC members! Here is a short list of some of my favorite bookstores in the Midwest.

      Book Cellar, Chicago, IL
      Novel Neighbor, St. Louis, MO
      Prairie Path Books, Wheaton, IL
      Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS
      Read Between the Lynes, Woodstock, IL
      Roscoe Books, Chicago, IL
      Wild Geese Bookshop, Franklin, IN

      There are so many great bookstores. What are some of your favorites?

    • #31738

      Watermark Books Wichita, KS

    • #31745

      Schรผler Books – Grand Rapids and Lansing, MI
      This is a Bookstore – Kalamazoo, MI

      • #35108

        I love Schuler Books in Grand Rapids.

        • #41829

          Totally agree about Schulers. It is the best bookstore in Southwest Michigan and Grand Rapids.

    • #31900

      Subtext Books, Common Good Books, and Red Balloon (children’s) all in St. Paul, Minnesota

      • #31986

        @nanettels, I second Red Balloon and Common Good Books! Adding Magers & Quinn in Minneapolis. Where is Subtext?

        • #32038

          Itโ€™s downtown St. Paul. 5th and Wabasha. Nice selection and good events

    • #32099

      Iowa City (where I’m staying right now) is a UNESCO City of Literature. They have some great bookstores, namely:

      Prairie Lights (frequent author readings, a great selection, and a really good coffee shop)

      The Haunted Bookshop (an impressive selection of used books)

    • #32100

      Also, a really cute one in Cherokee, IA is called The Book Vine.

    • #32616

      I have heard great things about Watermark Books in Wichita. I am only 3 1/2 hours from Iowa City and have considered making a day trip to Iowa City to go to Prairie Lights! I travel for work so I like to know where the bookstores are so I don’t miss one on the road.

      • #33058

        @kac, let me know if you do make a day trip to Iowa City!

        • #42333

          Iowa people!!! I’m in Des Moines and have never heard of Prairie Lights! Granted…I’m a Cyclone so that may be through my own faults ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • #47420

            I’m also in Des Moines…actually Altoona! I have stopped in Prairie Lights while traveling past Iowa City. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #33074

      I’ve only been to half of these! (So far, that is.) We’ll be in the Chicago area this summer so maybe I can cross another bookstore or two off the list. I do also really like Unabridged Books in Chicago’s Lakeview East neighborhood. It’s proximity to Intelligentsia doesn’t hurt. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • #34154

      My dad lives in Harbor Springs, MI and every time I visit him I HAVE to go to McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, MI. It is hands down my favorite bookstore… ever!

    • #34157

      More Chicago: Volumes Book Cafe in Wicker Park is amazing! And Myopic is always fun for used books ๐Ÿ˜€

      • #34160

        I live in lower Michigan and we go up north every Summer. This is my favorite bookstore too!!!

    • #34159

      More Twin Cities MN:
      I’m adding in Addendum – seriously a small bookstore but so nice and amazing walls of books!!
      Also Wild Rumpus totally needs an add-in ๐Ÿ™‚
      I third Red Balloon and Common Good Books. I haven’t actually be IN Subtext yet, but it’s on my list. They have a monthly book club at Tin Whiskers Brewing Co each month where you read a book on a topic rather than a specific book so it’s fun since everyone comes in reading a different book! (Disclaimer – I keep wanting to participate in the book club, but can’t since I’m usually working at Tin Whiskers on those Tuesdays)

      • #38029

        Good to know! I’ll be moving to Minneapolis this fall!

      • #39591

        Are you familiar with Books & Bars in the Twin Cities? I went to a couple of their meetings when they partnered with MN Opera where the book related to the current show. Pretty fun conversation!


    • #34168

      Has anyone ever visited Loganberry Books near Cleveland, Ohio? It’s a wonderful place in a quirky part of town – full of interesting places and people.

    • #35109

      I havenโ€™t been, but I want to visit Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I love their Instagram.

    • #38388

      For those in the Milwaukee WI area:

      I’ll add Boswell Books on the city’s East Side. Great staff and a wonderful selection of books!

      And also The Little Read Book in Wauwatosa, a cute little shop with lots of personality just a little to the west of Milwaukee.

    • #38427

      I love visiting Myopic Books in Chicago. It’s a used bookstore, and just old, unique, and fun to visit and explore. It’s the location I pictured in my mind when reading “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore”.

    • #39330

      If you are in Chicago and have not been to The Dial Bookshop on Michigan Avenue in the Fine Arts Building you must check it out! Nicely curated selection of new and gently used books in a beautiful space.

    • #39578

      If you’re in the Madison, WI area — A Room of One’s Own is great!

    • #39592

      All my Twin Cities, MN favorites are already listed. For those who trek even further north here are a couple in Duluth, MN!
      Zenith Books
      Booksore @ Fitger’s

    • #40281

      I love Brilliant Books in Traverse City, MI. I recently signed up for their Brilliant Books Monthly and really enjoyed their first pick for me.

    • #42293

      Left Bank Books in St. Louis is a good one too!

    • #48581

      I second Novel Neighbor in STL! I really love their little store. I have heard great things about Left Bank Books, but haven’t made it there (I actually live in southern Illinois but I am 1.5 hours from STL and go up there occasionally).

      This isn’t technically a store, but once a year there is the Greater St Louis Book Fair in Queeny Park. It. Is. Incredible.


      It’s coming up on the first weekend in May. They set out long tables in a huge room and stack books (spine up) in boxes to sort through. And they are cheap! $1-$5 plus they also have cds, dvds, records, comics, and rare and collectibles. I went on Saturday last year and found some great deals, but goodness – I’m quite tempted to hit them up on opening day this year, even if I do have to take a vacation day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I’m hoping to check out King City Books in Mt. Vernon, Illinois next weekend. I didn’t realize it existed (I don’t go up there much) but I hope to attend the Midwestern Herb and Garden Show next Saturday and thought I might pop in to King City as well.

      • #48601

        @bohosoul โ€ฆ your profile says you’re in Marion โ€ฆ I’m in Carterville! Small world!!

        • #48611

          Oh, wow! Yes! Hello, neighbor! ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

    • #88827

      The Next Chapter, Farnam Hill, Omaha, NE…so adorable, great customer service…opened in 2019…close to Joslyn Art Museum and The Old Market.

    • #91903

      I live in western Shawnee, KS and work at a library in KC MO so I do love and second the recommendation for Rainy Day Books. But my favorite in the area is The Raven bookstore in Lawrence, KS. – this Twitter feed often has pictures of their adorable bookstore cats.

      They have a small space, but they use it with care and every book is obviously personally curated. The sellers all write blurbs for some of their favorites so you can walk around the shelves and find staff picks. They have a gumball machine that gives you poetry, an old tv set turned into a viewing station for a cat bed, and it is quite simply one of my favorite happy places among all of the happy places. Last year my fiance and I started doing the ‘Christmas Book Flood’ tradition and went there on Christmas Eve to buy each other a book and stay up late reading. They have many author events (Deanna Raybourn and Megan Phelps-Roper were two favorites!) and I have a lot of great memories wrapped up in that store just in the handful of years I’ve lived in the KC area.

    • #99407

      Indiana: Indy Reads 1066 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203
      Main Street Books 426 Main St, Lafayette, IN 47901
      Von’s Book Shop 315 W State St, West Lafayette, IN 47906
      Books and Brews 9402 Uptown Dr #1400, Indianapolis, IN 46256

      Illinois: Women and Children First 5233 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60640
      Semicolon Bookstore 515 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60642
      Roscoe Books 2142 W Roscoe St, Chicago, IL 60618
      57th Street Books 1301 E 57th St, Chicago, IL 60637

      Michigan: The Bookman 715 Washington Ave, Grand Haven, MI 49417
      Cottage Bookshop 5989 S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636
      Leelanau Books 109 N Main St, Leland, MI 49654

      Ohio: Prologue Bookshop 841 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215
      Book Loft of German Village 631 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43206
      Gramercy Book 2424 E Main St, Bexley, OH 43209
      Loganberry Books 13015 Larchmere Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44120
      Appletree Books 12419 Cedar Rd, Cleveland, OH 44106

    • #99410

      I was in Chicago last February for my birthday, before the pandemic shut everything down, and I had the chance to visit this spot.
      There are books available in their gift shop, but the real enjoyment is the museum itself. A must see for any bibliophile.

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