If you’re looking for exceptional book recommendations, your local bookstore will not disappoint. When you arrive, there’s no better feeling than sinking into a cozy, comfortable couch with a stack of novels surrounding you on dusty shelves while the scent of fresh coffee lingers in the air.
And then when you start reading, pouring over the words, you feel that state of flow. We’ve all been there; it’s when you’re concentrating on every character. You’re focusing on every figment of the author’s imagination. You’re temporarily teleported to the world created within the words.
Finding a book that you can’t put down is like finding a hidden gem on those shelves.
The top St. Louis bookstores are owned and operated by genuinely avid readers in your neighborhoods. From Cherokee Street to Main Street St. Charles, find every book you’re looking for, including the ones you haven’t even thought to read yet.
Stroll down the historic section of Cherokee Street and the vertical BOOKS sign will stop you in your tracks. Don’t let the word ‘antiques’ intimidate you; vintage pieces are a bit fragile, but they’re full of history.
Head inside Hammond’s Antiques + Books and mind the maze of bookshelves until you’re greeted at the counter. Hidden behind that is a narrow staircase that reveals nooks and crannies to read in upstairs, as well as a room tucked away with artwork from years past. Hammond’s handles each piece carefully and with a whole lot of love.
The hustle and bustle happening on the Delmar Loop dissipates as soon as the glass doors shut behind you at Subterranean Books. You might notice that practically every book has a colorful note tucked under it with a signature. Some of those notes indicate top picks from the Subterranean staff, while other recommendations come from your neighbors or visitors passing through. Sign up for their book-a-month subscription service and they’ll even send you options based on your reading preferences.
For over the last 37 years, The Book Rack has seen countless St. Louisans meander through the bookshelves on the hunt for the classics, young adult fiction and other gently owned books. Trade in your pre-loved books (they prefer that term to ‘used’) for store credit and then be sure to ask for a staff recommendation, as they will happily oblige. And as if the books filling the shelves weren’t enough decoration, the owner’s touch on the décor provides a setting of comfort. You’ll be eager to be welcomed again when you return.
In the heart of Webster Groves is a relatively new bookstore and funky event space just east of Webster University. Although it doesn’t look that big from the outside, this community gathering place is versatile enough to reflect any space you need. Books are the bread and butter here, but The Novel Neighbor is no stranger to after-school activities, baby showers, artists in residence, parties and author events.
There’s only one independent, local bookseller in all of St. Charles County and it’s right off historic Main Street in St. Charles. Main Street Books spreads the local love as far into the community as they can. They’re eager to share the joy of reading with their patrons and they aspire to offer genuine recommendations selected to your taste. There’s history behind the building, too; it was built in 1821 by Missouri’s first Secretary of State.