Even with the advent of eBooks, independent bookstores are still alive and well thanks to the efforts of owners and loyal customers. Independent bookstores offer a space to curl up with a cup of coffee and classic for an afternoon of escape. Next time you’re looking for a future read, head to one of these excellent establishments and show your local support.
Locals love Antigone Books. That’s because they have a large selection of books written by Arizonan authors. This quirky bookstore is located right in Tucson’s Fourth Avenue shopping district. Though Antigone has a feminist slant, they carry books for all ages and interests. They also have a number of trinkets and gifts. You’ll find everything from candles to magnets to socks in their storefront. This independent bookstore is also 100 percent solar-powered. Antigone’s commitment to good books and practices make it easy to see why Tucson Weekly voted them the best independent bookstore.
Mostly Books is proof that you don’t have to judge a book by its cover. On the surface, Mostly Books looks like a tiny bookstore and is even dwarfed by the nearby Bookmans. Take a step inside, however, and you’ll find books galore. Mostly Books fills shelf after shelf with new and used books of all genres. They also have host tons of events—including author presentations and panel discussions during the Tucson Festival of Books.
Changing Hands has been a local book haven since 1974. At the time, the owners geared their store towards selling books not readily available at other bookstores. Today, Changing Hands encompasses two stores with a huge selection of books. This long-standing store has become a local destination for shopping, reading, and conversation. They host regular author readings and book some of the biggest names in literature for their events. Their Phoenix location is also home to First Draft—a beer and wine bar and perfect place to cozy up with your newest book.
Peregrine Book Company is Prescott’s largest independent bookstore. Though it’s locally owned and operated, it has the inventory to compete with top national chains. Located in a large, warehouse style building, Peregrine is filled with a wide selection of new and used books, magazines, and gift items. They also have a fully decked out children’s section complete with comfy chairs, stuffed animals, and toys. Peregrine also hosts author readings, book clubs, and workshops.
Old Town Books is a quaint bookstore hidden in Tempe’s Mill Avenue. In many ways, Old Town is a throwback to the vintage bookstores of the past. The hole-in-the wall location is filled to the brim with old wooden bookshelves, rugs, and even a house cat. Their large collection of hardcovers and paperbacks are reasonably priced and at times even cheaper than books at a large retailer. As a bonus, Old Town has an after-hours table where you can purchase a book on the honors system.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. That’s certainly the case at Book Gallery. This locally run used bookstore has a little bit for everything for book collectors. They have a large selection of fiction and nonfiction for every type of reader. You’ll find everything from first editions to rare antiques in their bookcases. Book Gallery has a vintage and inviting feel that make it a perfect place for browsing.
Poisoned Pen is an independent bookstore and a hub for fans of mystery. Located in Old Town Scottsdale, Poisoned Pen houses a huge collection of mystery books and fiction. They also specialize in local literature and books pertaining to the American Southwest. Poisoned Pen is also known for hosting author signing, book clubs, and a mystery conference.
Next time you’re in downtown Flagstaff pop in to Starrlight Books. You’ll find a small storefront filled with an inventory of vintage and rare finds. Starrlight’s used book collection includes a unique selection of niche material. You’re more likely to find a nature or poetry book than a bestseller. That’s part of Starrlight’s appeal. This locally owned and operated store has personality and some great finds.
Lawn Gnome Publishing is an independent bookstore located in the Roosevelt Row Arts District. It’s also a publishing house, event space, zine publisher and supporter of first-time and local authors. Located in a re-purposed bungalow, Lawn Gnome aims to support up and comers in every possible way. They host weekly poetry slams, open mics, and live bands. Lawn Gnome’s a great place to discover books as well as art, culture, and people.
In case the name didn’t give it away, Barefoot Cowgirl has a lot of personality. This locally owned Flagstaff bookstore carries bestsellers as well as local books. They have a space filled with books by local authors and about local topics. In addition, Barefoot Cowgirls has literary-themed apparel, toys, and gifts. Whether you’re looking for local material or the newest bestseller, head to Barefoot Cowgirl for a great find.