With the holiday season upon us, it's officially time to start crossing gifts off the holiday wish lists. You’ll have no “shelf” control when shopping local and picking out novels for friends and family from these independently owned bookstores around the state.
1. The Otto Bookstore
Established in 1841, Otto's is the nation’s oldest independent bookstore, but most importantly is a booklover’s paradise! They offer personalized services, a new book sale section, and a large children's section. As Otto’s continues to evolve in this age of the internet and online bookselling (even featuring e-book downloads!), it has become a cherished cornerstone of the community. The warmth of the shop exudes a timeless charm that entices visitors to grab a novel and lose themselves in the magic of the printed word. Purchase a book and gift card or two for the literary lover in your life so they can experience this unique stop for themselves.
2. Newtown Book & Record Exchange
With Secret Santa & White Elephant gifts just around the corner, Newtown Book & Record Exchange is a one-stop shop for the book lovers and music aficionados in your life, or as they like to say “a home of nostalgia, hidden treasure, and a hint of magic.” A community staple for close to 30 years, the shop is home to more than 40,000 new and used paperback books, as well as new and used vinyl records, cassettes, DVDs, and CDs. If looking for gifts on a budget, check out their trade deal, where you can exchange your own books for store credit.
3. The Crooked Shelf Bookshop
Located within one of downtown Lewistown’s historic homes, the colorful and lighthearted displays of the Crooked Shelf Bookshop will make you want to stay and browse awhile. Usher in the holiday season with warmth and wonder as you explore the store’s collection of books or get cozy in their sitting areas. Whether looking for the perfect fiction novel for your best friend or a holiday puzzle for the children on your list, it’s easy to get lost in all the wonderful finds at this bookstore.
4. Mondragon Books
Mondragon Books is a treasure house of used books and select new books located in downtown Lewisburg. Their vast collection focuses on literary fiction and poetry, social studies, the arts, children's books, health and wellness, politics, and books that foster knowledge and power. After selecting the perfect book or three, shop postcards, buttons, Japanese incense, and other goods from Lewisburg-based artists. For the history buffs on your list, stop in their Book Annex at the Roller Mills Antique Mall with its collection of books on U.S. history, along with an extensive selection of books on baseball, transportation, vintage children’s books, mysteries, and other fiction.
5. Eagles Mere Book Store
Nestled in the historic village of its namesake, for four decades Eagles Mere Book Store has been a literary gem for bibliophiles from near and far. With its rustic yet welcoming atmosphere, this enchanting bookstore boasts a carefully curated collection of books that spans genres and eras, from classic to contemporary. For antique lovers, the collectibles room is the place to go, featuring an extensive collection of antique and rare books. Whether you're in search of a thrilling mystery, a heartwarming romance, or a thought-provoking work of non-fiction, you'll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list in Eagles Mere.
6. Main Point Books
Just outside Philadelphia lies the independent bookstore, Main Point Books, a haven for avid readers. Beyond its collection of fiction, mystery, and children’s books, Main Point Books acts as a community hub in the charming town, where authors and locals meet for events, book clubs, and lively discussions. Step inside to admire the store’s cozy reading nooks and tranquil atmosphere that will make you want to curl up with a warm winter read to finish at home as the perfect “from me, to me” gift!
7. Classic Elements
Classic Elements is a sanctuary and one-stop shop for book lovers of all ages. Step inside to take care of all your literary holiday needs! Grab a cup of warm hot chocolate at their on-site café, or even a glass of Pinot Grigio from their classic wine bar, while you meander through the shelves and shop locally made goods from their gift shop. Whether you're purchasing for a dedicated reader or simply seeking a lighthearted page-turner, this independent bookstore offers an extensive variety of books from which to choose.
King Of Prussia
The author-owned independent book boutique, Bookish, is located inside Pennsylvania’s largest shopping mall, the King of Prussia. This “reader’s haven” specializes in new books, exclusive editions, and current releases, and is the perfect place to discover your new favorite author. Find the perfect novel for that special someone on your holiday gift list and pair it with one of their special hand-crafted quilling cards as a cherished keepsake.
9. Salamander Books & Music
At its new home in southcentral PA, Salamander Books & Music offers a full slate of literary and auditory delights. This enchanting haven for bookworms and music enthusiasts offers quality used books, vinyl records, CDs, and music gear. Enter Salamander Books and Music and find a space where book lovers and musicians come together as part of a community hub to share thoughts and ideas.
10. Second Chapter Books
Discover a diverse range of genres and topics from classic literature to contemporary bestsellers, history to science fiction at Second Chapter Books. Whether on a quest to find an old favorite or eager to stumble upon a hidden gem, this bookstore has something to satisfy every reading palate. Beyond books, they also offer a delightful selection of locally made teas, candles, bath products, housewares, books, and women’s accessories throughout the warm and welcoming shop.
11. White Whale Bookstore
Named the city’s best bookstore in 2021 by Pittsburgh City Paper, White Whale Bookstore is a family-owned hub of literary fun. Beyond its impressive collection of books, White Whale Bookstore also hosts a range of cultural and artistic events, from poetry readings to art exhibitions, making it an integral part of Pittsburgh's cultural scene. Take your fellow book lover for an experiential gift and sip on craft beers from Mindful Brewing or a delightful cup of tea, as you attend an interactive writer’s workshop or one of their evening series this holiday season.
12. Amazing Books and Records
In the heart of Steel City’s downtown, Amazing Books and Records is considered a true local treasure, stocked with rare and used books and an extensive selection of vinyl records catering to all types of music aficionados. From classic rock to fiction books, you'll want to escape the cold and stay awhile to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Bonus: At both its downtown and Squirrel Hill locations, you’ll get a free book or record of your choice with every three you buy (with just a couple of caveats) and there’s a Booklover’s Happy Hour on select nights!
13. Bound Books
Bound Books, located in the city’s Market District, offers a delightful, curated collection of new books, houseplants, gift items, and a small café. The large front windows are the perfect spot to relax with your favorite beverage and delicious pastry. Visit their website to see the week’s new releases, add items to your wish list, or set up a registry for a special occasion.
14. Wandering Hare Bookstore
Located at the Outlet Shoppes at Gettysburg, book lovers feel right at home at Wandering Hare Bookstore. The family-owned bookstore is known for carrying quality reads of all genres, focusing on the best-selling books for all ages. With a wide range of holiday classics, and located in a shopping outlet, the Wandering Hare provides a unique and easy option to complete all your holiday needs in one fell swoop.
15. DogStar Books
DogStar Books makes it easy for you to buy local for the holidays. DogStar started out as an online only bookseller, but the desire for a physical brick-and-mortar store was always the dream as a place where people could come in, browse, and page through the latest hardcover. Located in the downtown, DogStar has combined the best of both worlds with its downtown store welcoming all booklovers and their browsing interests as well as a community gathering place, but also continues to operate a robust online store that allows users to search by category and keyword from the comfort of their own home.
16. The York Emporium
Step inside The York Emporium, a massive literary hub to explore the thousands of novels that line the shelves. Each year, the shop draws visitors from surrounding states who spend hours browsing their meticulously curated collection. If you’re looking for the perfect book to gift, there is no shortage of options at York Emporium. Before you leave, be sure to peruse their collection of records, videos, comics, and antiques for stocking stuffer inspiration and those last-minute gifts.
17. Midtown Scholar Bookstore
The Midtown Scholar Bookstore has been a staple of Harrisburg’s mid-town for more than two decades. They stock everything from the latest thrillers to used and rare books, including many signed copies, to secondhand textbooks at a great price. The book-loving owners host the annual Harrisburg Book Festival featuring award-winning authors, children’s activities focused on the power of storytelling, and, of course, hundreds of thousands of books to peruse! Stop in this holiday season, grab a cup of coffee from their café, and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list!
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