Independent bookstores abound in North Carolina

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1. Quick list of 20 independent bookstores in North Carolina

Rachel, O.B., Brian and Steve from Scuppernong Books in their Halloween best. How could you not love these people?

Not that long ago they said the independent bookstore was dead. The big box and the Internet had killed them off. But a funny thing happened. Folks drew a line in the sand and chose community and relationships over savings and instant gratification.

I’ve always been a book lover. Some would say I have a book addiction (and pens too!), and I would be hard pressed to deny it.

As a boy in Winston-Salem, we had Hinkles and Ellis Ashburn. I lived at the public library as a teen and then B. Dalton’s at the mall. I discovered so much in college just wandering the stacks, opening books at random and scanning the shelves for titles.

I patronized City Lights and Malaprop’s during my college years in Western North Carolina, and supported small bookstores that came and went in the 90s in my hometown.

I married a nice girl from Highlands, N.C. and was blessed to know Ran Schaffner of Cyrano’s before he retired. My mother-in-law ran her own bookstore for several years on the road from Highlands to Cashiers, in a building her husband diligently converted from a decades old tire shop when he retired.

In recent years, my life has been utterly changed and incredibly blessed by my friends Steve, Rachel, O.B, Shannon, Amira and Brian at Scuppernong Books in Greensboro. Their success has brought me much joy, even though I had to slow my purchasing roll when I realized what a backlog I’d developed buying new books each week in a state of bliss. I think that 10-percent discount card worked!

Rachel and Steve helped me with this list, along with a few friends on a Facebook thread.

You can find Scuppernong online here or learn about the upcoming Greensboro Bound literary festival.

Either way, I want the Scuppernongers to know how much I love them.

We put together a list of 20 bookstores across North Carolina. Email info@litsouth.com if you have others to be added.

2. Boomerang Bookshop: Nomad Chapter

Boomerang Bookshop: Nomad Chapter is based in Greensboro’s eclectic Glenwood Neighborhood south of UNCG.

The Boomerang Bookshop: Nomad Chapter is managed by Diarra “Crckt” Leggett, a collage artists who made use of a former Chapel Hill Library bookmobile.

Find them online. 

3. Quail Ridge Books & Music

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, N.C.

Nancy Olson founded Quail Ridge books and managed it for 29 years. Lisa Poole bought the store in 2013 and it is now located in the North Hills Lassiter District.

Online here. 

4. Foggy Pine Books

Foggy Pine Books offers a welcoming space along West King Street in lovely Boone, N.C.

Mary Ruthless runs Foggy Pine Books in Boone, N.C. She settled on English Lit in college and opened the store in 2016 after purchasing the existing Black Bear Books. Ruthless moved Foggy Pine into a larger space in early 2018.

Online here.

5. The Regulator Bookshop

The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C.

Four decades after a small cadre of book lovers put down rent on a small building on Durham’s popular Ninth Street, Tom Campbell and team run The Regulator.

Online here.

6. Duck’s Cottage, Coffee & Books

Ducks Cottage Coffee & Books is located at 1240 Duck Rd. in Duck, N.C.

What was once a hunting club founded in 1921 by a group of sportsmen from New York, Duck’s Cottage, Coffee & Books opened in the Dare County town of Duck, N.C. in 2002. The cottage is owned by Allen LeHew and a fascinating history of the building is on their website. The bookstore is managed by Jamie Anderson, who also owns Downtown Books in nearby Manteo.

Online here.

7. City Lights Bookstore

City Lights Bookstore is up the hill from Main Street in Sylva, N.C.

Before Three Billboards came to town, folks far and wide knew of Sylva’s wonderful City Lights Bookstore. Tucked up a hill from the bustle of Main Street, it just doesn’t get much better.

Online here. (Editor’s note: I graduated from WCU and can’t help myself.)

8. So & So Books

So & So Books on Person Street in Raleigh, N.C.

Located in Downtown Raleigh on Person Street near Peace University. Find them on Twitter @SoandSoBooks

Online here.

9. The Country Bookshop

The Country Bookshop on on NW Broad Street in Southern Pines, N.C.

The Country Bookshop opened in 1953 in the sandhills town of Southern Pines, N.C. Located downtown on Broad Street near the park and Amtrak station.

Online here.

10. Malaprop’s Bookshop

Malaprops in Asheville, N.C. is located downtown on Haywood Street in the heart of it all.

Emöke B’Racz established Malaprop’s in 1982 and the store was on the vanguard of Asheville’s downtown revitalization. The bookstore is loved by many and is located at 55 Haywood Street.

Online here.

11. Park Road Books

Park Road Books is at 4139 Park Road in Charlotte, N.C.

Park Road Books is the Queen City’s only independent bookstore selling only new books. The shop opened in 1977 and is located at 4139 Park Road.

Online here.

12. The Book Shelf

The Book Shelf on North Trade Street in Tryon, N.C.

The Book Shelf is a downtown Tryon, N.C. mainstay since 1952. New owners Penny Padgett and Bobby Silvers took over in 2010. The store is located at 86 N. Trade St.

Online here.

13. Two Sisters Bookery

Two Sisters Bookery located on the riverfront along Nutt Street in Wilmington, N.C.

Two Sisters Bookery is located in the Cotton Exchange Shopping Center along Nutt Street in historic Wilmington, N.C. Christine Greer bought the 40-year-old shop from Barbara Galvin in 2017. The store is at 318 Nutt Street.

Online here.

14. Bookmarks

Bookmarks opened at 634 W. 4th Street in Downtown Winston-Salem.

After more than a decade as a successful literary festival, Bookmarks opened a store and cafe space in Downtown Winston-Salem in 2017. A gathering space allows for many author and community events at the location at 634 W. 4th St.

Online here.

15. Letters

Letters Bookshop is on West Main Street in Durham, N.C.

Letters opened in Downtown Durham in 2013 when veteran bookseller Land Arnold found his ideal location. The store is located in the heart of the city at 313 W. Main St.

Online here.

16. Page 158 Books

Page 158 Books is located at 158 S. White St. in Wake Forest, N.C.

Sue and Dave Lucey founded Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, N.C. in 2015 after buying the previous Storytellers Bookstore from Drew Bridges. The store is located at 158 S. White St.

Online here.

17. Sunrise Books

Sunrise Books on Hillcrest Place in High Point, N.C.

Angel Schroeder opened Sunrise Books in the Uptowne District of High Point, N.C. in 2016. A nearby brew pub compliments the location at 7 Hillcrest Place.

Online here.

18. Sassafras on Sutton

Sassafras on Sutton brought a new flair to Black Mountain, N.C.

Author Susanne Blumer and her husband, Cole, launched Sassafras on Sutton in a building that was once home to a livery. The historic building is located at 108 Sutton Ave. in Black Mountain, N.C.

Online here.

19. Bright Leaf Books

Bright Leaf books opened in Downtown Winston-Salem in April 2017 along West Fifth Street.

Samuel Puliafito opened Bright Leaf Books in downtown Winston-Salem in 2017. Both the city’s urban core and the niche book market continue to grow. The store is located at 227 W. Fifth St. in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Online here.

20. Flyleaf Books

Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Jamie Fiocco opened Flyleaf Books in Chapel Hill in 2009. Known as much for their nearly 300 annual book-related events as they are for their collection, the store is located at 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Online here.

21. McIntyre’s Books

McIntyre’s Books is in Fearrington Village in Pittsboro, N.C.

McIntyre’s Books hosts nearly 150 author events each year, boasting one of the most robust programs in the south. Managed by Keebe Fitch since 1989, the popular spot is located in Pittboro’s Fearrington Village.

Online here.

22. Cultivator Bookstore

Cultivator Bookstore is located at 301 E. Main St. in Murfreesboro, N.C.

Cultivator Bookstore serves rural Hertford County and seeks to preserve the area’s cultural heritage. The store is located at 301 E. Main St. in Murfreesboro, N.C. and serves as the home base for both the Hertford County Arts Council and the Hertford County Literary Society.

Online here.