Updated January 17, 2018
There are honestly very few things I enjoy more than reading a good book. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I would and have read anything.
Oven manuals, sports biographies, you name it. Any book that sparks the smallest interest in my mind. From sweeping fantasy series that are each hundreds’ of pages long to quick coming-of-age novels. If it has a decent plot, I won’t put it down.
I’ve always preferred to own my books instead of borrowing from the library. The Columbus Metropolitan Library is an amazing resource that we are so fortunate to have in this city. But I’m tough on books. I bend their covers and corner their pages. I highlight things and spill my coffee on their pages. It’s better for everyone if I just purchase up front. Of course I’ve ordered things from Amazon or Barnes and Noble, but usually, I don’t have anything specific in mind.
I like to come across things. I like to pick up a quietly ignored paperback, read a random page, and see if it starts to come alive. Which is why I’m obsessed with independent bookstores. I grew up visiting them and as an adult, it’s my favorite form of shopping. I’ve put together a list of some of my favorites here for you, in the hopes that you can come across something inspiring as well.
The Book Loft
In the heart of German Village lies The Book Loft. This 32 room bookstore is one of the best independently owned bookstores I’ve ever been to. The fascinating maze leads you through every topic imaginable with most of the rooms covering different topics or themes. My favorite part about The Book Loft is that it’s open until 11 PM, perfect for literary night-owls like myself.
Cover to Cover
Cover to Cover is a great option for the young readers in your life. In operation since 1980, they have helped generations of children in the Clintonville cultivate their love of reading. With over 20,000 titles, Cover to Cover specializes in Children/Youth books. The shop has hosted authors such as Newbery winner Kwame Alexander, Rae Carson, Diane Rappaport and many more. Additionally, they offer a great storytime session on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM and Saturdays at 11 PM.
Village Book Shop
Like a shop out of a time warp, Village Bookshop in Linworth is a rare gem in 2017. With no Facebook page, no Instagram, not even a website, they only way to satisfy your curiosity will be to go to the store yourself. It offers a variety of new and used titles, but mostly it offers an experience. They just don’t make bookstores like this anymore. It’s housed in an old church, perfectly between Dublin and Worthington. I used to go with my father there as a child, on his never-ending quest for all things Civil War related, and I still love going there today.
Family owned since 1988, Fundamentals in historic downtown Delaware is well worth the drive. It’s one of the most amazing resources for children, parents, and educators in Central Ohio. Fundamentals frequently hosts writers, authors, and illustrators at various events, giving children and adults the unique experience to meet some of the people who are creating their favorite stories.
Gramercy Books in Bexley has something for readers of all ages. Not only do they have great books for sale, they make literature a way of life. Gramercy offers book clubs, author events and story time. From young adult to nonfiction, Gramercy has you covered.
Read It Again Books
Located inside the historical Elias White house in Grove City, Read It Again perfectly captures literary life in a small town. Like most of the shops on our list, Read It Again isn’t just about the books. It’s about the experience of going into a brick and mortar store and leafing through your options. If nothing else, you should stop by to check out the always adorable shop cat, Lucy, who can often be found asleep amongst stacks of books.
Karen Wickliff Books
Karen Wickliff Books is one of those hole-in-the-wall bookstores that calls out to bibliophiles who love to get their hands dirty. The shop may seem daunting to the casual book shop goer, but there is a beauty to the piles of books stacked throughout the store. This is the kind of store that you’ll want to spend a whole afternoon in, so be sure to leave time.
Two Dollar Radio
Two Dollar Radio is one of the coolest, most unique bookstores in the city. Located on the city’s south end, Two Dollar Radio is an independent book seller, a cafe, a bar, and an event space, all wrapped into one. Two Dollar Radio is also a printer, giving independent authors an opportunity to see their books sold in stores. So go grab a book and a drink, and enjoy your afternoon.