Local bookstores really are important to improving readership and literacy in the areas they are in. Below we’ve featured 10 top independent bookstores in Pennsylvania.
1. Joseph Fox Bookshop (Philadelphia)
Joseph Fox Bookshop was first founded in 1951 in Philadelphia, PA. This independent bookstore carries a great spread of titles and genres, including non-fiction, literary fiction, books relating to art, poetry, music, architecture, and more. They also have international literature, as well as books designed for kids of all ages.
The store is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. As well as their great selection of books, Joseph Fox Bookshop also hosts many events, including readings, book clubs, and more. Contact Joseph Fox Bookshop to learn more.
2. White Whale Bookstore (Pittsburgh)
If you’re looking for an independent bookstore in Pittsburgh, PA, White Whale Bookstore is an excellent choice. Open seven days a week (12:00 pm until 5:00 pm on Sunday/Monday, 11:00 am until 7:00 pm all other days), they have a fantastic selection of new books, including literary fiction, poetry, philosophy, plus non-fiction and children’s books.
White Whale Bookstore loves supporting independent publishers and local authors. Their team of book lovers is always happy to point you in the direction of a book you’re looking for, help recommend a new book, or order anything they don’t currently have in stock. They are also heavily involved in community activities and host writing workshops, author readings, book clubs, and more. Contact White Whale Bookstore to learn about their next event.
3. Let’s Play Books Bookstore (Emmaus)
Located in Emmaus, PA, Let’s Play Books Bookstore has three stories full of stories! They have a great selection of books for grown-ups, including both fiction and non-fiction titles. They also have a second floor that’s almost entirely dedicated to kids – your little ones will have an amazing time exploring all the books and toys on show.
As well as a great range of books, Let’s Play Books Bookstore also has three cats that roam their store! Plus, they host a range of events, including readings, book clubs, and plenty of activities designed for kids. Contact Let’s Play Books Bookstore for more details.
4. Big Blue Marble Bookstore (Philadelphia)
Big Blue Marble Bookstore first opened their doors in 2005 in Philadelphia, PA. They try to keep things simple – they fill their bookstore with books they love and support local writers whenever possible. In fact, some of their staff are writers, which helps them find new, local, amazing books.
Big Blue Marble Books is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 am until 5:30 pm, and Sundays from 11:00 am until 4:00 pm. They offer delivery for local customers based in NW Philadelphia and also have shipping for customers further afield. Contact Big Blue Marble Bookstore for more information.
5. City Books (Pittsburgh)
Since 1984, City Books has been providing the residents of Pittsburgh, PA, with an exceptional and eclectic collection of books. This independent bookstore specializes in used books, many of which are rare or collectible. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, they’re more than happy to place orders.
The bookstore is located in the Old Allegheny Historic District, and features Wi-Fi, mood music, and lots of friendly book lovers eager to help you find your next read. City Books is open from Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. Contact the team at City Books for more details.
6. Pressed Books & Coffee (Erie)
Some would say that the only thing better than a bookstore is a bookstore with coffee! The team at Pressed Books & Coffee would certainly agree. Based in Erie, PA, this independent bookstore, gift store, and coffee shop is a relaxing spot where you can find a great read and sip a great brew.
Pressed Books & Coffee has a book for everyone. They have an exceptional range of history books, thrillers, other fiction genres, cookbooks, science/nature, various self-improvement topics, and much more. Contact Pressed Books & Coffee to learn more about this unique store.
7. Head House Books (Philadelphia)
Head House Books opened their doors in 2005 in Philadelphia, PA. Their independent bookstore is open seven days a week from 10:30 am (closing times vary), and they feature a very select arrangement of books. Their store isn’t overwhelming or filled with more books than you could ever imagine; instead, their selection is carefully hand-picked by their knowledgeable staff.
The team at Head House Books really knows their stuff. They read the books on their shelves and are more than happy to make recommendations or order books for customers. Whether you’re looking for new indie releases, young adult fiction, or anything else – contact Head House Books to make it happen.
8. The Big Idea (Pittsburgh)
For quality, independent bookstores in Pittsburgh, PA, you can’t go past The Big Idea. This bookstore is run by volunteers who are on a mission to bring awareness to oppressive or non-inclusive behaviors. Whether it’s supporting non-binary issues or fighting capitalist behaviors, The Big Idea is happy to take on the challenge.
The Big Idea is dedicated to bringing people together through books and community events. They have both new and second-hand books, as well as cards, gifts, and more. Their events include lectures, readings, film showings, workshops, and more. Contact The Big Idea to discuss their big ideas.
9. Brickbat Books (Philadelphia)
Brickbat Books is located in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia, PA. Currently, they are open seven days a week, offer pick-ups for orders, and can mail books to those further afield. As well as their new and used book collection, Brickbat Books has a great selection of vinyl records for music lovers.
If you’re looking to thin out your collection, the team at Brickbat Books also buys books. Providing your pre-loved books are in great condition, they will happily take your fiction novels, poetry books, non-fiction titles, and children’s books. Contact Brickbat Books for more details.
10. Bindlestiff Books (Philadelphia)
At Bindlestiff Books in West Philadelphia, PA, you can find a great selection of kid’s books, graphic novels, cookbooks, literary fiction, politics, and more. This independent bookstore is run by volunteers dedicated to providing the community with a great place to find new books.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for at Bindlestiff Books, their team can happily place an order for you. They’re also always on the lookout for people who are happy to spend some time volunteering at the store – contact Bindlestiff Books if that could be you.