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19 BEST Independent Michigan Bookstores for a New Read

Do you love books? Does the thought of visiting a bookstore, perhaps one tucked into a row of shops, bring a smile to your face?

Perhaps you are over the big bookstores and want something intimate, quaint, or downright cool. You’re in the right place because here are the best independent Michigan bookstores to shop for your next book, gifts, and more.

Island Bookstore-Mackinac Island
Island Bookstore | photo via grlittlefreelibrary

Unique Upper Peninsula Bookstores in Michigan

Island Bookstore

7372 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757

Whether you want the latest edition of a book or a best-selling novel from a few years back, a stop at Island Bookstore is in order. It also has a fantastic collection of DVDs and CDs if you are planning to spend some time in a cabin or retreat for the weekend.

The bookstore is only open during the tourist season from May through October, but there are plenty of fantastic trinkets here, as well as lots of fabulous local authors’ books and great people who are sure to want to talk to you about your latest find.

Snowbound Books

118 N 3rd St, Marquette, MI 49855

There are a handful of Upper Peninsula bookstores that are a must-visit, and Snowbound Books is one of the best options. “The place for those allergic to life without books” is the watchword of Snowbound Books.

Founded in 1984 with 10,000 books collected by owner Ray Nurmi, this bookstore has expanded its wares to include reading glasses, greeting cards, journals, and a large collection of new and used books.

You’ll see the green brick exterior first. When you step inside, it’s row after row of beautiful books on custom-built shelving. You may also find some great deals on used books here.

Staff picks are conveniently categorized into groups based on season, age group, or genre, and they are portrayed with intriguing descriptions.

Book signings and community book reads are regular occurrences at Snowbound Books, and the store has thrived on the extensive support it gets from the community. If you are in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this bookstore is exactly where you need to be.

Snowbound Books-Marquette
Snowbound Books | photo via jetsetpageturner

Quaint Northern Michigan Bookstores

Cottage Book Shop

5989 S Lake St, Glen Arbor, MI 49636

Truly a small bookstore, Cottage Book Shop is only open a few hours each day, but those are the hours you want to be there. It’s the perfect option for those looking to pick up a book while on vacation.

The shop is tucked into an old log cabin, which has historical ties to this sweet little city. The books are new and old, offering something for most needs. Also, there’s a fun little area outdoor children’s storytime space called Pine Patch.

Mclean &Amp; Eakin Booksellers-Petoskey
McLean & Eakin Booksellers | photo via cassidys_bookshelf

McLean & Eakin Booksellers

307 E Lake St, Petoskey, MI 49770

This location has some fun features that make it a must for anyone who wants a charming, older-style bookstore.

Just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, McLean & Eakin Booksellers is sure to have all of the latest releases, but it also has some popular throwbacks, including rows of wooden shelves and showcase windows that you’ll want to stop by as you walk along E Lake St.

The shop is frequented by readers and authors alike who are in the area. A few events are planned throughout the year, including author signings.

Brilliant Books-Traverse City
Brilliant Books | photo via carolinesilveus

Brilliant Books

118 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

As a full-service bookstore, Brilliant Books showcases the works of local Michigan authors at its store and online. In fact, it bills itself as The Long Distance, Local Bookstore because it handles more online orders than any other comparable store in the nation.

Local and online customers continue to shop with the bookstore because of their dedication to personal service and well-curated selections. You can even request personalized and signed copies of many books. Best of all, you still support the local community when you purchase online.

Best Bookstores - The Awesome Mitten
Photo Courtesy of Horizon Books

Horizon Books

243 E Front St, Traverse City, MI 49684

Horizon Books is a fun store that’s well-recognized in the area. It’s also notable because numerous authors make it a point to stop here. Some will stop in for talks, while book signings are also common.

The shop prides itself on being “The Third Place.” What does that mean? In Ray Oldenburg’s book “The Great Good Place,” he describes the different places we encounter in society. The first place is the home, the second is the place of employment, and the third is an anchor of community life.

Horizon Books is certainly an anchor of Traverse City, having been established in 1961, and it is still family owned and operated. This location can become busy because it is one of the more well-known bookstores in Michigan, especially since it is near the Grand Traverse Bay.

My favorite part of the store is the section dedicated to the history of the State Hospital (Northern Michigan Asylum), such a fascinating part of Traverse City’s history that it seems almost a necessity for a local bookstore.

Jennifer Symons

The options in books are nearly endless, and you’ll certainly find something tasty to drink at one of the two on-site cafes. The Horizon Shine Cafe located on the bottom floor offers coffee, food, and the legendary Northwoods Soda.

Readers World Bookstore-Holland
Readers World Bookstore | photo via pagebypaije

Best Independent Bookstores in West Michigan

Reader’s World

194 S River Ave, Holland, MI 49423

While Reader’s World is well recognized for its eclectic and wide range of books, it also has one of the largest assortments of magazines, in case you need something to browse through during your time here. It’s been in Holland for more than 50 years, and that makes it one of the staple businesses here.

A cornerstone of the community, this bookstore offers an enormous selection of magazines. Plus, its website conveniently highlights the wide range of new arrivals and provides a brief description of each book.

If you can’t find something among the orderly rows of bookshelves, a friendly staff member will be more than happy to order it for you.

Still independently owned, it’s the perfect place to stop after you visit the farmer’s market to pick up goodies for the week. You can also check out one of the breweries in Holland after you grab the perfect book.

Books & Mortar

966 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

Quite the fun independent Michigan bookstore, Books & Mortar has some great book clubs, a solid online community, and a fantastic selection of books in stock, ready to take home. The company shares that the books they purchase are consciously curated and dedicated to the local neighborhood.

A friendly, progressive bookstore, it’s quite a welcoming location. Also, it is a great location when you need a fun gift option or some beautiful stationery.

Storytime At This Is A Bookstore In Kalamazoo
Storytime at this is a bookstore in Kalamazoo | photo via Kerrie Hinkle

this is a bookstore & Bookbug

3019 Oakland Dr, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

There’s quite a bit to love about this is a bookstore & Bookbug. First, it offers a wide variety of fantastic books, including recent releases. You can even look for them online, order them, and pick them up in the store.

The organization is very community-forward, including hosting book fairs and creating custom book lists for educators. It hosts community giving programs too. It’s easy to wander through this shop to find favorite books, but don’t forget to check out the fun gifts and café that are on site.

Awesome Mitten writer, Kerrie Hinkle, had a stellar experience shopping here and attending a children’s storytime event:

I visited a children’s book store, Bookbug, by chance one morning and it was pretty magical. My five-year-old agreed. Not verbally, but, I could tell he was WAY into it.

I learned from a sales clerk about storytime; held every Thursday next door at their sister business, this is a bookstore (intentionally lowercase). I attended their storytime within a week’s time. It too, was remarkable.

Shirley has been hosting story time exclusively at this is a bookstore for 11 years. At this point, she is beyond professional.

Shirley and her husband set up storytime effortlessly that chilly, but sunshiny, mid-November morning. It’s as if they were two cogs in a clock spreading a large tarp across the ground, laying out cozy blankets, putting their craft and snack totes in their places, and last, the books set on a charming wooden, hand-painted Bookbug chair.

All the while showing interest in their storytime guests. My friend and I were newcomers to storytime and they definitely noticed, making a point to introduce themselves and get our names and our children’s names.

Storytime itself was an engaging and personal experience, an extension of what one will encounter walking through Bookbug & this is a bookstore. There is much to explore between the two stores from creative supplies and gifts (for all ages) to the literature-inspired menu at the Table of Contents Café, a full-service café and bar.

Awesome Mitten Writer Kerrie Hinkle
Kazoo Books-Kalamazoo
Kazoo Books | photo via itzymitz

Kazoo Books

2413 Parkview Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 49008

“Excite your mind!” Kazoo Books exclaims because it does just that, motivating readers and writers to join one of its many groups or workshops, or simply to pick up a book by one of the many Great Lakes authors that it features.

The shop’s website has a comprehensive list of local writers and provides details of which books it carries. This independently owned bookstore has plenty of shiny, brand-new titles, as well as discounted used books that are still in excellent shape.

Kazoo Books has an extremely knowledgeable staff to enthusiastically help you. Plus, the store cats steer you in the right direction! Book trade-ins are accepted as long as the store needs them and they are clean and unmarked.

Totem Books, Flint - Winter In Flint, Small Business Saturday, Indoor Things To Do In Flint
Totem Books | photo via @jessarielle

Must-Visit Mid-Michigan Bookstores

Totem Books

620 W Court St, Flint, MI 48503

Noted for its large selection of new and used books, stopping at Totem Books just makes sense. It even has a large selection of vintage collectibles and vinyl records. The staff may even broker a trade with you if it is time to turn in some old books to make room for some new ones.

There’s a café here to grab a quick bite and coffee, as well as comfortable chairs to relax in while you read. The company calls itself a cultural curator, and it is an exceptional supporter of the community too.

Bestsellers Books &Amp; Coffee Co.-Mason
Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. | photo via adventures.with.rissa

Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co.

360 S Jefferson St, Mason, MI 48854

Located in the downtown area of the city, Bestsellers Books & Coffee Co. is the type of place you will want to go back to over and over again.

It offers coffee catering services in case you need a pick-me-up for a group. For those who want something a bit stronger or more refined than coffee while browsing the books, the location offers a full wine and beer bar.

The building itself is a historic, beautiful structure. If you want to host your own book club meeting or just a brunch with some friends, there are public and private event spaces here.

Schuler Books
Schuler Books | photo via kellyhook.readsbooks

Schuler Books

Multiple Mid-Michigan Locations: Grand Rapids, Lansing/Okemos, Ann Arbor, & West Bloomfield

With cozy fireplaces and an on-site coffee shop, it’s obvious why Schuler Books has made our list of best bookstores. This independent bookseller has four locations — the first was founded in Grand Rapids in 1982 and mostly sold new books and newspapers; it also served espresso from a kiosk cart.

Over the years, Schuler Books expanded not only its stock but also its locations. Along with magazines, the stores have a wide array of new and used books. They also offer print-on-demand spaces, extensive gift sections, and event spaces.

The Grand Rapids and Lansing/Okemos locations even have cafes that serve drip and specialty coffees and a variety of food — salads, soups, sandwiches, grilled panini, and more.

Curious Book Shop

307 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Holy macaroni! Be prepared to spend some time being overwhelmed (in the best possible way!) by shelf after shelf of 50,000 books in the Curious Book Shop. Thankfully, the store prides itself on hiring the most knowledgeable staff to assist in the navigation of three floors of literary treasures.

If you are in a hurry, you can plan ahead by using a section of the website that describes the store layout. Then, go directly to the section of choice without getting distracted by the desire to purchase a billion other books (these things happen!).

Areas of specialty in this wonderland include Michigan history, science fiction, sports memorabilia, mystery, children’s books, and old magazines covering every topic.

The Book Beat-Oak Park
The Book Beat | photo via lifeofafemalebibliophile

Amazing Independent Bookstores in East Michigan

The Book Beat

26010 Greenfield Rd, Oak Park, MI 48237

The Book Beat is a huge independent bookstore with lots to offer. It has some great children’s books too, perfect for those who want to foster a love of reading in their children.

This location has been here for more than 35 years, and through it all, it has become a must-see for those who want a special gift, the latest release, or a quick conversation with a book lover for recommendations — the team here is welcoming and knowledgeable.

Pages Bookshop

19560 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223

Pages Bookshop is a newer option in the state, set in a fantastic historic building. It’s located in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit and has a more refined collection of books to explore.

Various events are planned throughout the year at this location, and you will find several book clubs to join based on what inspires you. It also offers a large selection of children’s literature, not just simple picture books or the same-old books.

And for those who love a good deal, there are a number of sales throughout the year for members.

John K. King Used &Amp; Rare Books-Detroit
John K. King Used & Rare Books | photo via powellwedding

John K. King Used & Rare Books

901 W Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI 48226

When you need something special, it’s a great excuse to visit John King Books. The hours can be limited, but there are some excellent options here. The rare book room offers unique items, which could be the perfect gift or just some interesting titles to explore.

It’s quite the unique Michigan bookstore in the selection of items it has, spread out over four floors that used to be a factory building. You’ll find some fantastic first editions of classic literature here along with autographed copies of numerous books from over the last century.

Literati Bookstore

124 E Washington St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Located near the University of Michigan, Literati Bookstore is the perfect choice for those who want an independent bookstore with an excellent selection of options in a comfortable, relaxed setting.

It often hosts author signings and has international best sellers visit. Also, you can order some great coffee, and the book clubs are well known in the community. This is the type of location where you can grab a book, a cup of Literati coffee, and relax with ease.

Black Stone-Ypsi
Black Stone | photo via ypsireal

Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center

214 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI 48197

There are over 1 million books in stock at Black Stone Bookstore & Cultural Center, which is certainly enough to find what you need. It is also an African-American-centered bookstore, one that is noted for its cultural ties and exceptionally diverse collection of books.

This shop is the ideal choice when you want to hold a conversation with the helpful staff or just want something new written by a local author.

Find Your Ideal Book in a Cozy Nook Today

The best independent bookstores in Michigan continue to provide ample support for their communities.

When you need something interesting to read, or you want to simply support your local bookstore, stop into any of these Michigan bookstores to find out what’s new. There’s always something happening and a few fun gifts for yourself and others to enjoy.

Did we leave one of your favorites off the list? Tell us about it in the comments!


  1. The Book Nook & Java Shop 8744 Ferry St, Montague, MI Now serves food as well as entertainment – Max & Ruth Bloomquist.

  2. I’ve traveld 47 states and 5 continents. Snowbound is the best bookstore I have ever visited. 7th must be because it’s in the U.P. and the writers don’t make it up here that often.

  3. Nice to see Snowbound Books on the list! There’s a typo in the phone bomber though. the area code is actually “906”

  4. So happy that Snowbound made it! But what about McLean & Eakin booksellers in Petoskey? Surely they must be #8.

  5. Snowbound books is a complete and utter shell of the unique store it used to be. It’s now like a D-grade B. Dalton’s. So sad. Maybe one out of every 30-40 books is actually a used book. It opened a second store called Chapter 2 and when that went under, they combined and reformatted into the shadow that it is now. I will NEVER return to that place.

    1. Considering the economy, especially in the U.P, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Many people here still love it, so I’d say it’s doing pretty well. Your loss.

  6. I live 120 miles from Snowbound. If I hear of a book I’d like, all I have to do is call or email and I have the book in a few days. They send me a bill. No credit card; no Pay Pal; and the best, no Amazon! May they go on forever!!!

  7. Storybook Village in Pentwater is the most unique and magical children’s bookstore you will ever find! With the addition of the puppet theatre/story hour room, it has become a premier imagination emporium!!!

  8. I don’t know if it’s still in business, but I absolutely love(d) The Dawn Treader Bookshop! It’s in Ann Arbor, MI.

  9. Cottage Used Books in Goodrich! New to the area but already overflowing with some unique books. wide variety.

  10. There is a relatively new bookshop in Alma, Michigan called Ballyhoo Books and they just opened up a coffee shop as well. I love it and stop everytime I go to see my son at a college event. Well worth the stop if you are in the area.

  11. You should check out The Book Exchange in Jackson, MI. 30,000+ books priced at $4.00 or less.

  12. Jellybean’s is one the oldest used bookstores in the State. Used to have 4 locations. Has a location in Owosso. Great selection of books and music.

  13. Love that you covered two Kalamazoo book stores, but suggest you add a third: Michigan News Agency. Great selection of local authors and other books as well as an extensive selection of periodicals and newspapers. I would also add The Bookstore in Frankfort. They have an abundance of northern MI authors along with the NYT bestsellers.

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