Charleston is seriously one of my favorite cities in the country. There are amazing restaurants, a plethora of historical sites, plenty to do for kids, beautiful wildlife, a variety of pristine beaches, and so many places to explore! And let’s not forget about the fabulous shopping.
One of my favorite types of shopping to do is shopping for new books. I am an avid reader; I read every night before I go to bed. And no matter how many books I read (and buy), I’m always on the hunt for more!
As I’m a fan of shopping local, I love supporting independent book stores, and Charleston boasts some of the best I’ve ever been to! Each bookstore is completely unique, loaded with fabulous books, and is full of charm. I highly recommend each one, and encourage all book lovers to check them out!
My Top Six Independent Book Stores in Charleston
Located in the shopping district on historic King Street, Blue Bicycle Books is a true treasure! This store boasts books from all genres and carries new, used, and rare books at great prices. They also have a fantastic section filled with books on the history of Charleston. Walk through Blue Bicycle and you’ll be sure to find pictures from author visits to the store and a piece of whimsical book art on display. This local hot spot is also the host of the ever-popular Young Adult book festival, Y’ALL Fest, every November.
You’ll find this store located in Mount Pleasant. At first, this store seems intimidating with its large shelves, full of stacks and stacks of books. But once I realized they were separated by type and each section was organized by author, it was easier to navigate. Sullivan’s Trade a Book is great because all books are sold at 60% off, and the highest price of any book is only $12.95! You can buy and/or trade books here. You’re welcome to bring in books from home to trade or you can also purchase books, and then bring those purchased books back for trade-in after you’ve read them. And you get paid for your trade-in. You can’t go wrong here!
This book store is a true gem! Located in beautiful Mount Pleasant, The Village Bookseller is one of the most charming little book stores I’ve ever been to. Not only do they have a wonderful selection of books, but they also boast a variety of bookish goodies for every book enthusiast. You’ll find journals, notebooks, bookmarks, mugs, and so much more! The children’s section of The Village Bookseller is absolutely adorable and is filled with all types of children’s books and activities, including items I’ve never seen at other book stores. On top of all of the above, they also serve coffee and have a cute little seating area, where you can browse books, sip your beverage of choice, and relax in a calming and inviting atmosphere.
I actually discovered Itinerant Literate by accident one day. I was strolling through the Park Circle neighborhood and saw a sign for a book store. I’ve been to Park Circle more times than I can count, and I never knew this book store was there. I followed the signs a couple of blocks, turned a corner, and saw a little house colorfully painted, inviting, and just waiting to be explored. The first thing I saw when I walked in the door was a stand with signed copies of a brand new book I’d been wanting. I was sold right then and there! Itinerant Literate often boasts signed copies of brand new books of all types and genres. You can also pre-order new books through them. The children’s section is very cute and fun, and the book store owner is very sweet and kind and knowledgeable about books. So, next time you’re in Park Circle, be sure to take that walk around the corner to visit Itinerant Literate!
Like Blue Bicycle, Buxton Books is also located on King Street (just at the opposite end). When you walk in you notice right away that it has a sleek, sophisticated feel to it. They have a wide variety of books, including some special edition books with beautiful covers. The children’s section is full of interactive books, Charleston-based coloring books, classics, and more! What’s really fun about Buxton is that they also host events and do Charleston ghost tours! Events include author visits and talks, and storytelling. The ghost tours are based on the book, The Ghosts of Charleston, written by the store owner, Julian T. Buxton. You can find more information on ghost tours on their website.
Main Street Reads is a great indie bookstore located in Summerville. (It’s located just down the street from my bonus pick below, Yellow Bird Press.) In addition to selling new books, the owner works with local authors to promote and sell their books. Main Street Reads hosts a variety of book clubs and has a great selection of books of all genres. On my visit to Main Street Reads, I met and chatted with the owner. She was so very nice and helpful! When I told her I was a blogger and book podcaster, she even gave me a free Young Adult book and free Dog Man posters for my boys.
This store is not technically an indie bookstore, since it has three locations outside of SC. It’s also a lot bigger than a normal independent book store and sells music and DVDs as well. But while it may not have the cozy atmosphere of a typical indie shop, it boasts a fantastic collection of books at great prices. Mr. K’s accepts books for trade-in and sells used books, some of which are signed by the author. My boys and I have found some great reads at this store. We even found a signed copy of The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer, hidden on a shelf. You’ll find Mr. K’s located in North Charleston on International Blvd.
This one isn’t a book store at all, but I wanted to include it on my list because it’s a great company important to the book world. Yellow Bird Press is a local publishing company located in Summerville. It was founded in 2019 by the Charleston, SC fiction author and columnist, Lorna Hollifield. Hollifield started Yellow Bird Press because she saw a need in the world of publishing.
“There is a demand in the market for real voices that do not necessarily follow trends, or marketing reports, but are just plain powerful. There is a need for authentic literature from once-in-a-lifetime writers to grace the shelves again. The Yellow Bird Press aims to find those tiny creatures singing from the forests, small but fierce, looking for their places in the literary world. We want to find that unknown story that has wings that nobody ever knew could fly…and set them free.”
In their space, they have a room for their authors and members to work, bookish goodies for sale, and they also hold a book club. It’s a fantastic space, and I had a great time chatting with Lorna, and Director, Destiny!
What indie book stores would you add to this list?
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