My Favorite Independent Bookstores in Pittsburgh

Yesterday was Independent Bookstore Day. While I missed the bus and totally forgot to post something about it... do we really need a holiday to celebrate reading, literature, and supporting local shops?

The answer is HELL NO!

So, in honor of great writing, small businesses, and the vibrant Pittsburgh community... I'm sharing a few of my favorite independent bookstores in Pittsburgh.

This list is by no means trying to say these are the best/only bookshops in Pittsburgh. These are just the ones that I, Madeline Quigley - a human entitled to her own opinions - frequent the most often. 

Interested in learning more? Check out the Pittsburgh Literary City Guide that I wrote for Eat This Poem in 2016! 

Am I missing your favorite? I want to check it out - please leave it in the comments below! 

Bookshops in Pittsburgh for finding your next great read:

City of Asylum

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Last year the Pittsburgh City of Asylum project opened their new bookshop and community hub on the Northside of Pittsburgh. After a decade of making an impact in the neighborhood, it's great to see City of Asylum have a beautiful home. Dubbed "Alphabet City," the space is a chameleon: part restaurant, part office, part bookshop, and part community space.

While I certainly recommend stopping by to enjoy a drink and some of their free (!!) programming (no really - they have a stacked event calendar of mostly free events!), I just love their bookstore. Being associated with City of Asylum, all of the books have a bit of a global lens. From cookbooks to nonfiction, this is a great spot to discover books you would have never found otherwise! 

City of Asylum (40 W North Ave)

Nine Stories

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I usually wander into Nine Stories while strolling through Lawrenceville, expecting to casually browse the books and grab a coffee at the adjoining Caffè d'Amore.... but I always end up leaving with the book I didn't realize I was looking for.

Nine Stories has one of my favorite collection of affordable used books. They also have a wonderful children's section. This is a great spot to bring a child to pick out a book! 

Keep an eye on their Facebook, as they frequently host events. 

Nine Stories (5400 Butler St)

White Whale Bookshop

The owners of White Whale Bookshops truly have their finger on the pulse of contemporary writing. I can't tell you how many times I've come in here, picked up a book, and then weeks later seen it on best seller lists... or recommended by Reese Witherspoon in People Magazine.

If you're looking for a thoughtful selection of literature - new and old - stop by this shop. I also love their Penguin Classic carousel! 

White Whale Bookshop (4754 Liberty Ave)

City Books

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I love City Books because it's exactly what a small, independent bookstore should be. Tucked away in the beautiful Allegheny West neighborhood, there are so many books packed into this tiny shop. The magic of literature is in the air, and you can spend hours perusing the shelves.

I love their "blind date with a book" special, where customers can purchase an unknown book (wrapped in brown paper), based off a short description. Great spot to find a book for yourself, or a loved one!

City Books (908 Galveston Avenue)

Kards Unlimited

I've been going to Kards Unlimited since I was 10-years-old and I still get the same sense of wonder every time I walk through the door. The store is crammed - and I mean crammed - with funky odds and ends. (Think Shakespeare gum, marijuana pillows, and Star Wars piggy banks.) They have a ton of books, especially unique fantasy series you may have not heard of before. 

Kards Unlimited (5522 Walnut St)

Check out the Pittsburgh Literary City Guide that I wrote for Eat This Poem in 2016! 

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HAPPY GALLIVANTING!