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The best indie bookstores in Philly, the burbs, and N.J.

If you are looking to support your local bookstore, here is a list of the best in Philly, the suburbs, and New Jersey.

Hakim’s Bookstore, founded in 1959, is considered the city's first African American bookstore.
Hakim’s Bookstore, founded in 1959, is considered the city's first African American bookstore.Read moreBAIDI WANG / Staff Photographer

It’s always a good time to support independent bookshops.

We’ve rounded up more than a dozen Philadelphia-area and New Jersey indie bookstores where you can find your next read or those last-minute holiday gifts. Shop in person or online for books, gift cards — and sometimes, audiobooks.


This East Passyunk shop features a strong selection of books from local authors and publishers (among them: co-owner Christina Rosso-Schneider, whose latest book, Creole Conjure, was released in 2021). There are also plenty of in-person and online events to attend, as well as a private, 90-minute Valentine’s Day date package for two if you want something a little more romantic. For folks in need of curbside pickup, email the store to request it.

📍1726 E. Passyunk Ave., 📞 267-764-1202, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @anovelideaphilly, ⌚ Tuesday 3-7 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday noon-7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Located on Fabric Row, Brickbat has all kinds of used and new books from art books to children’s literature. But, really, its specialty is rare editions of all types of publications, so hit them up if you’re looking for something special for your bookshelf or coffee table — and be sure to check Instagram, where new stock is regularly announced.

📍 709 S. 4th St. 📞 215-592-1207, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @brickbatphilly, ⌚Tuesday-Wednesday 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday noon-5 p.m. Closed on Mondays.

Mount Airy’s Big Blue Marble Bookstore has been at it since 2005, and focuses on providing a diverse selection of reading material for its community, ranging from indie bestsellers and cookbooks to kids books and LGBTQ-focused fiction. If you’re feeling charitable, check out the “Pay It Forward” fund, in which you can donate money to be used by customers in need of books. Although in-person shopping is fully back, you can request no-contact pickup by phone or email.

📍 551 Carpenter Lane., 📞 215-844-1870, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @bigbluemarblebooks, ⌚Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Bookhaven has been providing a cozy paradise for readers since 1996. It has a broad selection of secondhand books, but you will have to visit the shop to check them out. And if you are lucky, you might be greeted by two very fluffy cats who call the store home.

📍 2202 Fairmount Ave., 📞215-235-3226, 🌐, 📷 @bookhaven_philly, ⌚ Wednesday-Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday-Sunday noon-5:30 p.m. Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Located in West Philadelphia, Hakim’s was founded in 1959 and is considered the city’s first African American bookstore. The shop sells in-person and online, specializing in African American history and studies with publications ranging from educational children’s books to memoirs and biographies.

📍210 S. 52nd St., 📞 215-474-9495, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @hakimsbookstore, ⌚ Monday, Wednesday, and Friday noon to 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This woman-centric Fishtown bookshop, named for abolitionist Harriet Tubman, is open for in-person business and online shopping (and has cool merch, too). Here, the focus is on celebrating “women authors, women artists, and women activists,” as the shop’s tagline goes, and its diverse offerings reflect that goal.

📍 258 E. Girard Ave., 📞 267-241-2617, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @harrietts_bookshop, ⌚Thursday-Sunday from noon-6 p.m.

Located in Old City, this two-floor store offers the best of both worlds for books and record lovers. It specializes in used and hard-to-find books and has a record room on the second floor. If you have books in good condition that you no longer read, you can trade them for 10% to 20% store credit.

📍7 N. 2nd St., 📞215-925-2080, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @phillybooktrader, ⌚ Monday-Sunday noon to 7 p.m.

Open since 2019 in East Kensington, The Head & The Hand is a nonprofit publishing company, writers’ workshop, and bookstore that focuses on supporting and developing its local literary community. Here, you’ll find local literature, fiction and nonfiction, children’s and young adults’ books, and more. You can browse in-person, shop online and pick up, or even reserve a private, 90- to 120-minute date night.

If you are looking for unique gifts for the holiday season, this bookstore will be selling themed book boxes focused on exploring, Philadelphia, and art. The deadline for online ordering is Dec. 4 for pickup through Dec. 14.

📍 2230 Frankford Ave., 📞 484-532-8987, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @theheadandthehand, ⌚Thursday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.

Nestled between Society Hill and Queen Village, since 2005 offers books and gift cards for sale online. If you’re looking for a recommendation, check out Richard’s Picks, hand-selected titles from owner Richard De Wyngaert. Or, if you want regular book deliveries, consider its monthly or quarterly “HHB To You” subscription service.

📍 619 S. 2nd St., 📞 215-923-9525, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @headhousebooks, ⌚Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

This Manayunk comic store was created “for nerds, by nerds” and has a wide selection of art books, comics, action figures, and more. Anything you can’t find can be ordered for you. Besides selling your favorite comics, it offers a subscription service so you get new editions as they come in, monthly gaming nights, and a Graphic Novel of the Month Club called RetroSpectacle.

📍4327 Main St., 📞 215-482-7700, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @johnnydestructo, ⌚ Monday-Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

This Germantown shop was launched by former CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill in 2017 and quickly became a Philly favorite. Open for online and in-person shopping, Uncle Bobbie’s has everything from titles featured on Hill’s Coffee and Books podcast to offerings for kids and young adults — plus killer lattes if you need a pick-me-up.

📍 5445 Germantown Ave., 📞 215-403-7058, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @unclebobbies, ⌚ Monday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.


In Montco, Narberth Bookshop is open for in-store shopping and takes orders for delivery via email. (The shop delivers to Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Wynnewood, Ardmore, and, of course, Narberth.) Its large collection of books should have just about anything you’d want, but if not, the staff will take requests and special orders. Voracious readers might consider a membership that can save 30% on special orders, 20% on hard copies, and 10% on paper.

📍 221 Haverford Ave., Narberth, 📞 610-664-1112, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @narberthbookshop, ⌚ Tuesday-Saturday noon- 7 p.m., and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Elkins Park’s Open Book Bookstore is back to fully operating in person, but masks are mandatory inside the store. It offers books from Philadelphia area authors as well as a trove of offerings from literary and classic fiction to young adult and children’s books.

📍 7900 High School Rd., Elkins Park, 📞 267-627-4888, ✉️, 🌐, ⌚Tuesday-Friday 12:45 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12:45 to 4 p.m. Closed on Monday.

This Phoenixville shop, open since 2019, is a local favorite — in fact, Reads & Company has won the Main Line Today readers’ choice award for best independent bookstore for three consecutive years. It’s open for in-store shopping and curbside pickup, and has a wide selection of author-signed books if you’re looking for something special. In-person writer conversation events are set to resume in January 2023.

📍 234 Bridge St., Phoenixville, 📞 484-920-3695, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @readsandcompany, ⌚ Monday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This Bucks County bookstore — which has a sister store, the Lahaska Bookshop in Peddler’s Village — is open for in-person shopping and online book orders. There’s plenty to choose from, but of particular note: It’s an official provider of Berenstain Bears books and offers special collections that you won’t find at other stores.

📍 16 S. Main St., Doylestown 📞 215-230-7610, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @doylestownbookshop, ⌚ Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. — 5 p.m.

Wayne’s Main Point Books has been selling all kinds of books in the burbs since 2013. Focused on local authors, it offers a variety of handpicked collections, including literary fiction, popular fiction, memoirs, history, and children’s books, as well as an array of virtual author conversations and book groups.

📍 116 N. Wayne Ave., Wayne, 📞 484-580-6978, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @mainpointbooks, ⌚ Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.

New Jersey

This Haddonfield shop started life in Tampa, Fla., in 1991 but made its way to Jersey with a sister store in 2015, and has been a local favorite ever since. You can choose from a ton of fiction, nonfiction, teen, and children’s books (for inspiration, check out picks from owner Julie Beddingfield). Online gift codes are available, or you can pick up an audiobook. Curbside pickup can be arranged by calling the store.

📍 106 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, 📞 856-429-1298, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @inkwoodnj, ⌚Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Closed on Monday.

Princeton University students know this bookshop well, seeing as it’s the official bookstore for the school — but its offerings aren’t just for the Ivy League folks among us. In addition to the usual contemporary and classic literature, Labyrinth has a wide selection of rare, antiquarian, and used books to peruse, so it’s a good place to check out if you’ve got a book collector in your life.

📍 122 Nassau St., Princeton, 📞 609-497-1600, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @labyrinth.books, ⌚Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

This Mount Laurel shop may look quaint, but don’t let appearances fool you. Here, there are more than 60,000 titles in stock. And with all that shelf space, its collection covers everything from philosophy and religion to children’s titles. The focus, though, is on history, science-fiction, and fantasy — and you can even “dibs” books ahead of your visit via the store’s Instagram.

📍 114 Creek Rd., Mount Laurel, 📞 856-234-9335, ✉️, 🌐, 📷 @secondtimebooksnj, ⌚Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Monday.