In the list below, we’ve featured 10 top independent bookstores in Mississippi. Keep reading to learn more.
Find yourself in Jackson, MS and looking for a rare or first edition book? Then stop by Lemuria Books, located in downtown Jackson, MS. Opened in 1975 by John Evans, Lemuria Books contains everything from popular fiction and nonfiction to genre fiction, local authors, and children’s stories but prides itself on its collection of first editions. They have even a selection of book clubs dedicated to first editions that have been running since 1993.
Other events hosted at Lemuria include book signings and author discussions, as well as genre book clubs and children’s story hours. Contact them online if you have questions or want to book a place at one of their events.
If you venture out of Jackson to the suburb of Flowood, MS, stop by Impression Books, the only bookshop in the area. Opened in 2019 by online bookseller Ronald Traxler, Impression Books houses titles for every type of reader. However, it is children’s first impressions of reading that Impression Books focuses on the most, with nearly a third of the bookshelves filled children’s themes and a special section devoted entirely to children’s toys and games.
Impression Books holds local authors’ books signings and open discussions regularly. They even have a dog assistant, Luna, who works on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact them to find out when their next event takes place or stop by to check out the shop (and pet Luna!).
3. Square Books
As THE premier bookstore in Oxford, MS, Square Books seem to be all over the city. While the flagship shop opened in the town square in 1979, the business and popularity of Square Books has grown so much that they’ve opened three further satellite stores in Oxford since the 1980s: Off Square Books, dedicated to hosting author events, lifestyle books, and the used book bought back by the Square Books staff; Square Books, Jr., a smaller shop in the courthouse devoted to children’s books and gifts; and Rare Square Books, which features all their rare, out-of-print, or first editions.
Events at Square Books are visited by book lovers far and wide, often hosting local authors and artists not normally seen at author meet-and-greets and book launches. There is even a subscription service for signed first editions of fiction and nonfiction books. Contact them on their website to see what’s next for this Oxford, MS, treasure.
Opened in 2002 in Hattiesburg, MS, Main Street Books has grown just as the city itself has grown and evolved into a bustling Mississippi Hub of arts and culture. Although it began as a simple bookstore focusing on Mississippi (and surrounding) authors and interests, it has grown to include an art studio and pottery workshop next door.
The Author Shoppe, the dream child of Allison Chestnut, Murph Little, and Erin Little, opened in mid-2020 just off Main Street in downtown Hattiesburg, MS. Author Shoppe is more than just an independent bookstore; it is a haven for Hattiesburg’s community of local writers and readers. The store focuses on selling mostly local authors and artists, but also sells cold and hot beverages in store for patrons to enjoy while curling up with a new favorite book.
Events at Author Shoppe are also varied, as they provide writers workshops led by professors from the local university, as well as book clubs and author readings and signings. They even have a small conference room out the back that can be hired to record or deliver live podcasts. A modern indie bookstore for a modern world, Author Shoppe has already created a positive reputation for itself in the short time it’s been open. Contact them to see how you can book a workshop or the conference room, or just stop by for a browse and a beer!
6. Bay Books
If you find yourself on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, stop by Bay Books in historic Old Town Bay St. Louis, MS (two blocks from the Gulf of Mexico). Opened in 2011 by Jeremy Burke and his wife, Bay Books carries all the most popular fiction and nonfiction but specializes in local authors, children’s stories, and used books. They also carry a variety of toys and gifts.
If you are travelling along the Mississippi River, stop in to Lorelei Books in Vicksburg, MS. Opened in 2006, Lorelei Books carries books of all kinds but with a special interest in local authors and related themes.
Lorelei hosts events, such as book clubs, author events, and story time, in the small apartment upstairs that houses only 20-30 people, making each event more intimate than some of the bigger independent stores. Contact them to find out how to get discounts and when the next event takes place.
Amidst the national lockdown of 2020, Emily Liner opened Friendly City Books in Columbus, MS. Columbus is known for its associations with famous writers Tennessee Williams and Eudora Welty, and Friendly City Books capitalizes on this association by featuring a large section of local authors and local interest books among the larger collection of general topics and genres.
Friendly City Books hosts author events nearly every week both in store and online, so that you’ll never miss a good author discussion. Local authors could even sell their books through Friendly City on a consignment basis. Contact them to see what they have coming up soon or to get your book on their shelves!
Turnrow Books was opened by Jamie and Kellie Kornegay in 2006 in Greenwood, MS. As the biggest independent bookstore in the Mississippi Delta region, it is known for its vast collection of classic and contemporary fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as bringing notable authors to the area for events such as book signings, meet-and-greets, and even full on author discussion panels.
Stop by the café for lunch or just a coffee to sip while you read or attend an author event. You could even grab some Turnrow-branded merchandise or a jar of local honey. Contact them to see what other services they could offer while you’re in town!
Located in Water Valley, MS, southwest of Oxford, Violet Valley is the only feminist and LGBTQ+ independent bookstore in the entirety of Mississippi. Opened in 2017 by Jaime Harker, Violet Valley’s stock consists of almost entirely Southern queer literature and related topics.
Events at Violet Valley consist of poetry readings and book clubs, book signings and book launches. You can buy branded merchandise or even just donate to support their cause while you’re there. Stop by or contact them to find out how you can support this unique bookstore and ensure it continues to promote its message of inclusivity and tolerance.