Discover Unique Author-Owned Bookstores Across America

While we often imagine authors as reclusive figures, many are actually deeply involved in their local literary communities. One of the most engaging ways they connect with their audiences is through owning and operating independent bookstores. These author-owned spaces offer not just books, but a reflection of the authors' sensibilities and priorities. Below, we've compiled an exciting list of bookstores owned by renowned authors. Even if you can't visit in person, many of these stores offer online shopping and other ways to stay connected.

The Lynx in Gainesville, Florida, Owned by Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff, famous for works such as The Vaster Wilds and Matrix, opened The Lynx in the spring of 2024 in Gainesville, Florida. This space is not just another bookstore, but a haven for books that are often challenged or banned. Groff, concerned by the rise of book bans and restrictions in schools, aims to provide access to diverse voices, including works by BIPOC and LGBTQ+ authors. The Lynx also hosts various events, including book clubs and author discussions, making it a literary hub in the community.

Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Owned by Louise Erdrich

Opened in 2001 in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis, Birchbark Books is the brainchild of acclaimed novelist Louise Erdrich. Known for her books like The Round House and The Plague of Doves, Erdrich has created a bookstore with a strong focus on Native literature and crafts. Birchbark Books even makes an appearance in her novel, The Sentence. In a unique location that used to be a meat market, the store is decorated with salvaged items, creating a distinctive and inviting atmosphere.

Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, Owned by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett, celebrated for novels such as Commonwealth and The Dutch House, owns Parnassus Books in Nashville. Inspired by Mount Parnassus from Greek mythology, this bookstore aims to be a haven for those who love literature, learning, and music. Since opening in 2011, it has expanded to include an airport location and an online magazine called Musing. The store is a bustling center of literary events, featuring a variety of author discussions and book signings.

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Owned by Marc Lamont Hill

Founded in 2017 by Marc Lamont Hill, a professor and activist, Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books in Philadelphia is more than just a bookstore – it’s a community space. Offering a full coffee and espresso bar, along with snacks, the store was created to provide underserved communities with access to literature and a welcoming space. Uncle Bobbie’s regularly hosts ticketed events, many of which are available to watch online.

Books Are Magic in Brooklyn, New York, Owned by Emma Straub

Author Emma Straub ventured into the world of bookselling with Books Are Magic in Brooklyn. Opened in 2017, the store has become known for its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. They strongly encourage mask-wearing at events and have practices in place for contact tracing, reflecting a commitment to community care. Books Are Magic’s two locations in Brooklyn host a plethora of literary events, serving as a vibrant hub for book lovers.

“A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking.” – Jerry Seinfeld

Support Your Local Bookstores

The charm and sense of community that these author-owned bookstores offer are irreplaceable. Even if you can't visit these stores in person, many of them provide options for online ordering and virtual events, making it easy to support them from afar. For more details and other unique bookstores, click here.

Enhance Your Literary Adventures with Bookish Merch

While you're exploring the world of books, why not add some bookish merch to your collection? Liam and Lore offer a wide range of items to enhance your reading experience, from book-themed clothing to unique literary accessories. Celebrate your love for books in style!

July 09, 2024 — Kristin James