11 Independent Book Stores in Philadelphia Every Bookworm Needs to Visit
The adventure of finding a new gem to add to your personal library can be just as fun and rewarding as reading the book itself. If you’re like us, patronizing independent shops make purchases both big and small enjoyable. We always promote independent establishments here at Wooder Ice, so when the task came to find the best bookstores we found no shortage of great shops. Without further adieu here is our list of 11 independent bookstores in Philly every bookworm needs to visit.
7 N 2nd St.
If you are looking for a place to get lost in isles of books, this is the place to be. It looks like something out of an a movie. This place encompasses organized chaos that can seem a bit intimidating for first time visitors. However, after assimilating yourself and walking the isles this place transforms from a book warehouse to a cozy bookstore in no time flat. The Book Trader even offers up cushy chairs for those looking to make a day warming up to a book. Most of all the books they sell are used but in good condition. So for those with a lot of time on their hands and want to rummage for a new book to get lost in, definitely check this place out.
311 N 20th St
Located right off the Ben Franklin Parkway and behind the Free Library of Philadelphia is The Book Corner. In an area populated with museums and tourist attraction this place sits in the shadows of the more popular destinations. However, for bookworms in this area it stands as a giant. Frugal shoppers will be happy to know that this place offers up books from $1-$3. Their selection is massive and well organized so if you know what you are looking for you can be in and out in no time. This spot is also associated with the Friends of the Free Library so they do take donations.
The South St. district garners a lot of attention for their shopping boutiques and eateries. Just off the beaten path is an independent bookstore worth checking out if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of South St. shoppers. Located just a block from South St., is Head House Books. This quintessential bookstore is very family friendly and even offers up a cozy kid section if you have little ones tagging along. Carrying mostly new books, Head House covers most of the popular books out today. Their staff is helpful and the places is bright and airy. So if you’re looking for a place to relax and digest your Ishkabibbles cheesesteak, Head House is your destination.
112 Cotton St.
In what seams like the farthest reaches of Philadelphia just off Main St. Manayunk is The Spiral Bookcase. This spot is as cozy as the neighborhood it sits in. You almost getting a feel like you’re visiting a relatives house especially when greeted by Amelia the store cat. Looking around you may get a real “homey” feeling that most other bookstores do not offer. For those concerned more with the bottom line, not only are the prices reasonable, this place is very well kept, tidy, and organized. This is the perfect spot to wonder off to when in Manayunk.
1724 Sansom St.
Situated just off Market Street’s business district is Joseph Fox Bookshop. This spot is quaint but worth the trip if you happen to be in the area. Those working nearby will find this place perfect to swing by after work and pick up a book on the way home. Although this place leans heavy on art and architecture, their selection is more than adequate. Independent bookstores are hard to come by especially in the heart of center city. So if you are into supporting independent stores as we are, check out this bookshop.
3037 Richmond St.
Located in a renovated 1920’s silent theater, this places is the perfect spot to get lost at. With over 200,000 books, magazines, and articles, you can spend a whole day here. Perfect for those book treasure seekers looking for obscure reads or even classics. This is an amazing bookstore that every bookworm should check out.
709 S. 4th
Tucked away on Frabric’s Row, this quaint bookstore is clean, spacious and very tidy. If you don’t care about aesthetics you’ll still be pleased by the solid selection. There’s even a vintage kids book section that’s pretty unique.
130 S. 34th
Located in the heart of University City, this spot is a nice mix of academia and casual. Aside from the textbooks, this places offers an awesome inventory of books for the avid reader. This place is pretty unassuming but once inside, you’ll be happily surprised by the sprawling floor plan. Happy hunting.
3920 Spruce St.
Another University City bookstore makes an appearance on our top list. This one is a place that if you blink you’ll miss it. Located inside a traditional Victorian home, it may not look like much. However once in side you’ll discover a cozy 2 story bookstore with a solid selection of classic readings. Many of the books are second hand, but since it’s located next to two major Universities the inventory is top notch. Many classical readings and authors that were studied in lecture halls can be found here.
527 South St.
Definitely the most unique bookstore on the list, Garland specializes in books about spirituality, religion and oddball topics such as cults and conspiracies. Visitors are greeted by what looks like DJ Khaled’s famous lion statue. Once inside you’ll enchanted by the burning incense and crystals on display meant for healing and other spiritual practices. At the very list this bookstore is a cool visit onto itself.
529 Bainbridge St.
Mostly Books is a huge store that sells books-and more-at 529 Bainbridge Street in Philadelphia. Located at the intersection of the Society Hill, Queen Village, and Bella Vista neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Mostly Books is housed in a series of 19th century stables and workshops. Visitors are delighted as they spend hours winding their way through room after room of personally selected volumes in our incredible collection. And with the reasonable prices, they can leave with a nice bag of books for a fraction of what they would have spent in a mall bookstore.