Author-Owned Bookstores

A deep love of books and literary culture is a must-have for any aspiring bookstore owner. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise that some bestselling authors have launched independent bookstores of their very own! Check out the list below to find bookstores across the country, owned and operated by much-beloved literary figures.

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books

Philadelphia, PA • Est. 2017

Author Marc Lamont Hill owns and operates Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books. The bookstore features books, coffee, and apparel, and hosts events.

I opened Uncle Bobbie’s because I really believed, one, in the power of community.

Marc Lamont Hill, 2017

An Unlikely Story

Plainville, MA • Est. 2015

Author Jeff Kinney opened An Unlikely Story with partner Julie Kinney. The space features a café and event space, in addition to the bookstore, and is located in a former historic market. The Second Story is located just upstairs, which hosts community events, like workshops and yoga.

image credit: Filip Wolak

“If one kid’s life is changed because of this bookstore, then the whole thing was worth it.”

Jeff Kinney, 2015

Beastly Books

Santa Fe, NM • Est. 2019

Author George R.R. Martin purchased the Jean Cocteau Cinema—an “eclectic movie house”—in 2013 and opened Beastly Books right next door. The bookstore exclusively sells books signed by their authors, and also hosts readings and literary events—many of which are currently offered virtually.

“We’ve been doing amazing author events at the Jean Cocteau Cinema ever since we reopened the theatre….And all of them have signed stock for us. The only problem was the Jean Cocteau lobby was far too small….With that in mind, on November 30, we opened our own bookshop right next to the theatre.”

George R.R. Martin, 2019

Birchbark Books

Minneapolis, MN • Est. 2001

Author Louise Erdrich opened Birchbark Books in the St. Paul-Minneapolis area. The space focuses on using salvaged material in its construction, including lights from an old-school house and a salvaged confessional booth, “now a forgiveness booth, there for the dispensation of random absolution.” In addition to its inventory of books (including the author’s signed works), Birchbark also offers Native American artisanal paintings, dreamcatchers, metal work, and more.

image credit: BuzzFeed News

“Birchbark Books provides a locus for Native intellectual life. We are native owned (Louise Erdrich is an enrolled Turtle Mountain Chippewa) and our staff is of either Native background, or exceedingly Native-friendly!”

Birchbark Books, Our Story

The Blue Bunny Bookstore

Dedham, MA • Est. 2003

Author Peter H. Reynolds founded The Blue Bunny Bookstore with the mission to inspire creativity and self-expression in kids and grown-up kids. The store features books, toys, and art supplies, as well as signed copies of Peter’s work.

“We are “the little shop with a big mission”—to inspire creativity and self-expression in kids and grown-up kids…We try hard to know our customers by name, give friendly advice and book suggestions, we always gift wrap for free, and we happily support and collaborate with schools, community organizations and non-profits in the area.”

The Blue Bunny Bookstore

Booked Up, Inc.

Archer City, TX • Est. 1971

Author Larry McMurtry owns and operates Booked Up, Inc. The bookstore features between 150,000 and 200,000 fine and scholarly books.

image credit: Courtesy Studio Seven7

 Few books are rare; we have handled only a handful in 44 years in the trade.  But many books are attractive.  Customers come to us from wherever the four winds blow. 

Larry McMurtry

Books Are Magic

Brooklyn, NY • Est. 2017

Author Emma Straub opened the Brooklyn-based shop with partner Michael Fusco-Straub. Books Are Magic is home to “new releases and beloved classics,” hosts author events, and even features “gumballs filled with poetry.” Based on her advocacy for independent bookstores, both as an author and a bookstore-owner, we’ve featured Emma Straub as a Bookstore Champion!

“There are just certain things that I believe to be true, and one of them is that books are magic.”

Emma Straub, 2017

Books & Books (at the Studios in Key West)

Key West, FL • Est. 2016

Author Judy Blume co-founded Books & Books at Key West along with her partner, George Cooper. The store’s location, The Studios at Key West, is an arts center and non-profit housed in a three-story former masonic temple.

“We just opened a bookstore!  We’ve had no full service bookstore of any kind for years and were desperate for one. There’s such a strong literary tradition here.”

Judy Blume, 2016

Book Moon

Easthampton, MA • Est. 2019

Author Kelly Link owns and runs Book Moon with partner Gavin J. Grant. The space was formerly White Square Books—an independent bookstore run for nine years—which Link was able to purchase, in part, with the stipend from her MacArthur ‘genius’ grant when White Square went up for sale. Book Moon sells new and used books, and specializes in fiction (including signed books by the author), poetry, and children’s books, as well as titles from their publishing press, Small Beer Press.

“Any town worth itself has a thriving bookstore. I hope we can continue to have a bookstore, and it can serve the needs of the whole spectrum of residents.”

Kelly Link, 2019

Liberty Bay Books

Poulsbo, WA • Est. 1996

Author Suzanne Selfor purchased Liberty Bay Books in February of 2020. The bookstore offers books, e-books, cards, gifts, and games, as well as book clubs and events with favorite authors.

image credit: Tasha Vanasse

“I’m very excited to become a member of this wonderful community and keep this bookstore alive. It’s been a part of my life for a long time…”

Suzanne Selfors, 2020

M. Judson Booksellers

Greenville, SC • Est. 2015

Author Ashley Warlick is a partner and co-owner of M. Judson Booksellers with Samantha Wallace. Located in downtown Greenville in a historic courthouse building, M. Judson specializes in promoting titles by Southern authors.

“We all started dreaming of what a bookstore could be, and should be, in this climate of less-friendly attitudes toward giant online retailers and big-box stores.”

Ashley Warlick, 2015

Nowhere Bookshop

San Antonio, TX • Est. 2020

Author Jenny Lawson (AKA The Blogess) owns and operates the newly-opened Nowhere Bookshop. The space features books, author events, and offers coffee as well as wine and beer.

“Growing up I spent more time in the land of books than I did in real life. I lived in those neverlands that you can only visit in stories. The places you grew up in that never actually existed. The ones you got lost in and the ones you found yourself in. Those strange countries that are real and important, in spite of the fact that they exist nowhere at all but inside you.”

Jenny Lawson, Nowhere Bookshop

Parnassus Books

Nashville, TN • Est. 2011

Author Ann Patchett owns and operates Parnassus Books with Karen Hayes. The store features a large book inventory (including a local authors section), hosts author events, and also has its own bookmobile (called Parnassus on Wheels). Based on her advocacy for independent bookstores, both as an author and a bookstore-owner, we’ve featured Ann Patchett as a Bookstore Champion!

“Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore.”

Ann Patchett

Red Gap Used Books

Blue Hill, Maine • Est. 2009

Author Jonathan Lethem co-owns Red Gap Used Books with Marjorie Kernan and André Strong. The bookstore features a selection of used and rare books, the collection of which is a passion of Lethem’s.

“…thanks to Red Gap and owning two shelf-laden homes…I’ve found significant alleviation [to my overwhelming collection of books]. But that’s not to say I don’t have my own books on the shelves at Red Gap and about forty cartons of books in the attic.”

Jonathan Lethem, 2012

Skylark Bookshop

Columbia, MO • Est. 2018

Author Alex George owns and operates Skylark Bookshop. The bookstore features a large collection of books, including signed editions of George’s books, and hosts author-events.

“Skylark Bookshop has been thriving. We’re fortunate to be in a town of wonderful readers — having three universities helps — who like to support locally owned businesses. We’re working hard, having a huge amount of fun and making good progress.”

Alex George, 2020

The Raven Book Store

Lawrence, KS • Est. 1987

Author Danny Caine owns and operates The Raven Book Store and published the zine How to Resist Amazon and Why. The bookstore offers book subscriptions, signed books, merchandise, and more.

We’re not relics; we’re community engines. We create free programming. We donate gift certificates to charity silent auctions. We partner with libraries and arts organizations. That stuff might seem small to someone aiming to colonize outer space, but to us and our community it’s huge.

Danny Caine in a letter to Jeff Bezos

Square Books

Oxford, MS • Est. 1979

Author Lisa Howorth and her husband Richard own Square Books, a general independent bookstore in three separate buildings on the historic town square of Oxford, Mississippi.

Working in a bookstore, one can’t help but be inspired–by the store patrons and readers, by writers past and present, by the publishers and editors and everyone who makes it possible for books to exist and enrich our lives and our world.

 Lyn Roberts, General Manager 

Tattered Cover

Denver, CO • Est. 1971

Author Len Vlahos and his wife, Kristen Gilligan, bought into Tattered Cover in 2017, when previous owner Joyce Meskis retired. Tattered Cover is a large indie bookstore and cafe with the cozy feel and comfort of smaller bookshops. They sell new and used books, in addition to crisp pre-discounted bargain editions. 

We want customers, no matter who they are, to feel they can come into Tattered Cover and browse for books and content without fear of being judged. Whether you want to come in for a book on gender identity or a book on gun ownership, you’re welcome here. We want to help get the right book into your hands.

Len Vlahos, 2017

Do you know of a bookstore owned by an author that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “Author-Owned Bookstores

  1. Well, it’s a little awkward to give yourself a shout-out, but here we go. I’m Alex George, author of A Good American, Setting Free the Kites, and (most recently) The Paris Hours, and I own Skylark Bookshop in Columbia, MO (a proud store!). We’ve been open for almost two years. The website is: Thanks!

    1. Hi Alex, thanks so much for reaching out! We’ve added Skylark Bookshop and you and your audiobooks to this post. We’re proud to have you as a partner!

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