Today is Independent Bookstore Day! So today I’m updating my blog with my favorite indie bookstore in the world – Shakespeare & Company in Paris, France. Also, see other great indie bookstores in the US and how to celebrate with indie bookstores in your area!
A world of books
I love indie bookstores. I’ve written several different blogs on indie bookstores. But, I’ve never talked about what is probably my favorite indie bookstore I’ve ever been visited – Shakespeare & Company in Paris, France.
The store is dark and mysterious with reading nooks and hideaways tucked into corners and under stairs. The walls look like they are built of books. As a writer (The Travelers, Saguaro, Books), it stirred something deep inside of me, a love of books and thought and exchange of ideas that permeates every floor plank and dust molecule.
When we visited I got lost in the stacks and stairs. I had to go in search of my family who left after a short time and sat outside waiting for me, for I wasn’t sure how long. It was kind of them to let me get lost in what felt like another realm where books make up the fabric of world. I never wanted to leave.
Shakespeare & Company has a long amazing history of inspiring readers and writers alike. The original shop, which doubled as a library, publisher and boarding house for aspiring writers, was opened by American Sylvia Beach. The store closed during World War II and reopened in 1951 by George Whitman, whose daughter, Sylvia (named after Beach), manages the store today.
I want to go back to Paris just so I can feel that literary lucid dream of wandering through a fantasy world of books. If Belle made a bookstore, it would be this.
I can’t get to Paris, so how do I celebrate indie bookstore day?
- Find a local, independent bookstore (if you don’t know one already, Google can help you out pretty quickly or Yelp works too)
- Go to your local, independent bookstore
- Participate in the festivities.
Find a local bookstore in your area and see what they have planned!
Amazing independent book stores near me in NOVA or Washington, DC area
If you live in the Washington, DC area, here are some other independent bookstores you can check out. Or scroll down and see others across the US.
One More Page Books in the Arlington/Falls Church, VA area – A store that celebrates
books and hosts numerous writer events. It also sponsors an annual NOVA Teen Book Festival. The next one will be held in March 2017.
Busboys and Poets, Arlington, VA – You may know this one. I’ve heard it’s famous. There is more than one location throughout the NoVa and DC area. President Obama apparently frequented the DC establishments for a bite to eat from time to time.
Hole in the Wall Books, Falls Church, VA – Every nook and cranny is filled with books. You practically trip over them when you walk through the narrow aisles. It’s great.
Prospero Books, Manassas, VA – I love a bookstore named after a Shakespeare character. This adorable store is in the heart of Old Town Manassas. I think it’s fun to peruse their very old books and sometimes they even have a few antiques.
Reston’s Used Book Shop, Reston, VA – Nestled in the wonderful Lake Anne area, this used bookstore is large and full of books of any genre. It’s easy to get lost in there.
Scrawl Books, Reston, VA – Reston is a great place to go for bookstores. This one has two locations, in the bustling Reston Town Center. It’s one of my favorite indie bookstores with fantastic staff and great selection of popular and local books. It’s a huge space with lots of books.
Amazing independent bookstores in across US
Strand Book Store, New York, NY
Opened in NYC in 1927 and is the only shop left in what used to be NYC’s “Book Row” and it shows no signs of shuttering. I remember walking by and always stopping to look at the books sitting outside. Here’s hoping for 87 more years.
Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
Although it moved in 2010, this bookstore has remained an institution in Seattle for over 40 years.
Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA
In a building over 100 years old, Green Apple Books has cluttered shelves, creaky floors and a huge collection. It is easy to find new books to fall in love with.
Mercer Street Books & Records, New York, NY
A small NYC purveyor of pages that specializes in rare, out of print and used books. This place is a truly a unicorn for managing to stay open.
John K. King Used And Rare Books, Detroit, MI
Nestled in a sprawling, previously abandoned, four-story glove factory has over one million volumes in stock and has staff outfitted with walkie-talkies to help customers.
The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles
Sprawling, artistic, unique and we haven’t even started talking about the books yet.
The Montague Bookmill in Montague, Massachusetts
This bookstore is in a Shakespearean-named town and housed in a gristmill built in 1842. Oh and it has a catchphrase “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find.” What’s not to love?
Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston, SC. This bookstore hosts a creative writing camp for kids every summer and they have something called the YALLFest for YA novelists and book lovers.