Top Independent Bookstores in Austin
With a knowledgeable and friendly staff and over 300 events held there every year (including various book clubs, author visits, children’s reading programs and camps), let’s be honest, who doesn’t love BookPeople? Voted best bookstore in Austin for 15 years straight (overachieving much?), BookPeople doesn’t disappoint. Their fabulous staff are always on the hunt for new and exciting books to expand their selections. From children’s Summer Reading Programs to MysteryPeople, BookPeople makes it their duty to serve the diverse community of Austin. You will never be bored here, as they host a myriad of book signings, book clubs, storytime theatre, and much more. And the final cherry on top of this reader’s sundae? Two words: indoor cafe. Boom! Seriously, what’s not to like?
A fresh, new face on the hip Austin bookstore scene, Malvern Books takes its name from the Middle English classic “Piers Plowman,” by William Langford. Though the origins of their name cometh from ye olden times, Malvern Books prefers focus on new, contemporary authors in order to showcase independent publishers and to give emerging artists their rightful space on bookstore shelves. They are no strangers to the Internet either, as they are constantly updating their blog to let book nerds in on the latest literary and musical gossip. Poetry, prose, postmodern anxieties, what’s not to like? Get ready for Malvern Books to send you to new literary heights. Snaps for Malvern.
As Beyonce eloquently states, “Who run the world? Girls.” Born in the midst of the sexual revolution, BookWoman celebrates women writers and advocates for feminist
literature. From a small attic shop on Guadalupe Street to its own independent book store on Lamar, BookWoman has grown tremendously while showcasing women writers to the growing Austin community. Their events are plentiful and not to be missed: author signings, poetry readings, monthly book group, art workshops, and even an in-house tarot reader! Read some poetry while someone reads your palm. In a time when the world is quickly opening up to more diverse perspectives, why not enlighten yourself with the writings and philosophies of a group of people who make up over half the world’s population: women. Jane Austen would probably stop by, so you should too! Stay fierce, BookWoman.
Ready for something different? Resistencia Bookstore’s carefully curated selections highlight some of the most prominent voices in Chicano/a and Native American literature. Founded by noted Chicano poet Raul R. Salinas, Resistencia has been a community meeting space for the discussion of political issues, poetry readings, and cultural celebration. Clearly, Resistencia has proven itself as more than just a bookstore, especially since it is the headquarters of Red Salmon Arts, a Native American and Chicano based cultural arts organization which works to bring literature and art to the indigenous Austin community. On top of that, this organization serves as a literary venue and small press for new, emerging artists to speak about and publish their work. A bookstore, small press, political forum, performance venue…dang. Resistencia has it all. Viva la Resistencia!
As a volunteer-run, Texas non-profit whose mission is to push toward radical change, Monkeywrench Books carries a unique reading selection based on social and economic justice. They also have a great atmosphere and host a variety of events, including open general assemblies, author presentations, film screenings, and, most importantly, brunches. Get ready for some local Austin flavor too, as Monkeywrench’s mission is to provide a space where the community can gather to explore and discuss the history of the Austin area and the current issues which continue to shape the city. But our personal favorite? Their comfy couches. Take a seat. Your bums will thank you.
South Congress Books
Located along SoCo, like the name says, South Congress Books houses a great collection of used, rare, and vintage books, prints, posters, and other artwork–perfect for book-lovers and gift-givers alike. Each title is handpicked, so there’s no need to dig to find that perfect gem of a book you’ve been searching for; they’re all on display. A hipster paradise, South Congress Books prides itself on their selection of vintage and collectible tomes, which you probably already knew about. Their staff enjoys working with buyers and collectors on a personal level to build up their collections, so the customer is never left in the lurch. They also boast an extensive online inventory of books through their Internet retail service, “Tornbooks,” whose motto is “Interesting books for interesting people.” Basically you’ll be the coolest of your friends if you come to South Congress Books.
12th Street Books
For those of you who like the finer things in life, 12th Street Books is the type of bookstore for you. Specializing in rare and antiquarian books, 12th Street Books carries small-press titles and first editions. But what’s really cool is that it’s the only walk-in rare book room in Austin. We like that. Like gallerists at the MoMA, the staff at 12th Street Books will personally travel to your library collection to purchase books of the highest caliber. First editions, signed books, fine bindings, 12th Street Books only seeks the crème de la crème of literature. So, for you book connoisseurs, grab your monocle, get your top hat, and strut on down to 12th Street Books to bring a little sophistication to your book collection.
Brave New Books
Looking for something a little weird? Brave New Books is probably the place to go. Everyone can find their niche there, as the fun and quirky staff are always eager to have a conversation about…just about anything. All views are respected, and the people at Brave New Books always make it their goal to provide the best literary avenue for you to open your mind. Freedom is their virtue, and they will gladly assist customers in their literary education, so that readers may feel empowered to defend their ideas with knowledge. Playing host to speakers, film screenings, book signings, and activist groups, Brave New Books is never exhausted when it comes to the dissemination of information. Also, they sell health supplements. So, get healthy, get informed.
Austin Books & Comics
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, silly, it’s Austin Books & Comics. Austin Books & Comics is the place to fulfill all your comic needs, even when on a budget. KAPOW! Fell in love with The Avengers movie last summer and want to make it last? Check out the issues upon issues they have of your favorite superheroic adventures. Geeks and nerds unite, and come check out the several events Austin Books & Comics hosts, including speakers, signings, and giveaways. BAM! We also love their discounted store down the road, The Sidekick Store, where you can find discounted action figures, t-shirts, comics and other merchandise. And don’t forget to browse through their rows and rows of one dollar comics. THWAP! Total bargain.
P.S. Shout out to Brazos Bookstore in Houston, because we love them so much. Very much engaged in Houston’s literary scene, Brazos Bookstore’s personal service will serve all of your literary needs, and authors come through in hordes to sign books or to speak. Their calendar is brimming with events and activities; so, basically, you will never be bored there. Check it out!