North Carolina has so many wonderful bookstores, it was a real challenge to find the best of the best. But we’ve come up with an excellent selection of bookstores that are bound to please even the finickiest of book lovers. With curated book collections, helpful staff and creative spaces, we think you’ll agree these are some of the best bookstores around.
Have a gander.
Letters Bookstore Durham, NC
Letters is a slim one-room bookstore in downtown Durham. The location is very sleek and modern with shiny wood floors, more space than bookshelves and glass-top tables. They have a carefully curated book selection and a friendly knowledgable staff, however, this bookstore is not conducive to finding a comfy spot and snuggling into a fluffy chair with a book. It’s not that kind of shop, and if that is what you’re looking for in a bookstore, you might be disappointed. Letters has a dynamic selection of books. and a surprisingly robust selection of children’s book, considering the size of the location.
We dare you to go in there and not find something you want to read. The cool downtown location, great collection of books and friendly staff makes this one of the top bookstores in North Carolina.
Buxton Village Books Buxton, NC
Buxton Village Books is housed in a small, charming, time-worn cottage at the beach. It’s not on the beach, but it’s pretty close. This cottage is old and the inside rustic, which gives the store great character. Buxton Village is crammed to the gills with books and if you’re looking for a beach read, you’ll find it has all of the latest releases, a great children’s area (including lots of beach-themed books for the kiddos) and a vibrant collection of North Carolina authors, fiction set in coastal North Carolina and non-fiction related to the Outer Banks.
There’s nowhere to sit in this store, but it’s the beach. You probably didn’t come here to hang out in a bookstore (unless it’s raining, then this is a great place to bide your time and purchase a few beach reads).
Most days you’ll find the owner manning the cash register. She’s super-friendly and loves to talk books. It’s a small space that can easily get crowded. But who cares? It’s the beach.
Page 158 Wake Forest, NC
Sometimes bookstores are too small and sometimes they can be too big, but when you find that sweet spot of a bookstore, you just know it. Page 158 is large enough to hold great author events but small enough to still feel cozy. Sweet spot found. This bookstore is a brightly lit, colorful space with strategically placed seating chairs, tables and reading nooks.
They have lots of planned events, children’s story time and book clubs. Bring your coffee, find a chair, you might want to stay awhile.
The Island Bookstore – Corolla, NC
Here’s another bookstore with lots of coastal charm. It’s located in walking distance of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, which is kind of cool and an interesting tourist stop if you’re into history. The Island Bookstore can get a little crowded with their abundance of bookshelves, but that just makes it cozy. They have a ton of books to choose from and for every member of the family. If you’re a book lover, you will not be disappointed with this location.
And if you want a little more space, you can head upstairs to their reading nook.
City Lights Bookstore & Cafe Sylva, NC
Located in the lovely mountain town of Sylva, City Lights Book Store is a required stop if you’re a bookworm. And did we mention the cafe? We love a bookstore that serves food or beverages. City Lights serves both through their connected City Lights Cafe, which means we can stay extra long drinking coffee, buying books, having a nice meal and reading said book. At least that’s how we like to experience bookstores. They also have a small list of local craft beers, which we appreciate.
City Lights Bookstore is a nicely-sized, well-stocked bookstore in the mountains of North Carolina. Does it get more picturesque than that? City Lights also has a wonderful selection of fiction and non-fiction on all things related to Appalachia.
Due South Reads – We are an advocate for independent bookstores. We encourage you to patronize your local bookstore often and visit new bookstores when you travel. Follow their social media accounts, subscribe to their newsletter, attend their events and purchase their books. You can always pre-order, special order or simply have books purchased online through your local bookstore. They may also have options to purchase audio and eBooks through their store. Locate your local independent bookstore at IndieBound.