10 Outstanding Women-Owned Bookstores From the East to West Coast

Bookshops welcome readers with their diverse collections and unique atmospheres. Let’s explore 10 captivating bookstores owned by women!

Book Culture Bookish Lifestyle
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Bookstores are havens for bookworms, offering a sanctuary where the scent of aged paper mingles with new ideas and adventures. Across the country, from busy cities to quaint small-town corners, bookshops welcome readers with their diverse collections and unique atmospheres. In this article, we embark on a journey across the country to explore ten captivating bookstores owned by women that stand as beacons of literary delight in their towns.

New York: Sister’s Uptown Bookstore

The owners of Sister's Uptown Bookstore stand outside of the storefront.
IMAGE VIA FACEBOOK

Sister’s Uptown Bookstore is a family-owned and woman-run bookstore in New York. Janifer and Kori Wilson collaboratively run this business and their connected Cultural Center under the motto that “knowledge is key.” In their diverse community, they intended to create a nurturing space that promotes mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. For community resources and a wonderful reading environment, check out this bookstore in Washington Heights. 

Illinois: Semicolon Bookstore

A tall bookshelf filled with front-facing books in Semicolon Bookstore.
IMAGE VIA SEMICOLON

Based in Chicago is the Semicolon Bookstore. This Black woman-owned nonprofit bookstore is run by an art and literature lover. The owner has curated the perfect combination of these worlds with her bookstore-gallery space. With this, Semicolon hopes to provoke an interest in the pursuit of knowledge and creativity to better its community. Artists, readers, and anyone in between are bound to be enticed by this amazing conglomeration. 

Florida: Hello Again Books

Bookshelves and a lounge area inside Hello Again Books.
IMAGE VIA HELLO AGAIN BOOKS

Hello Again Books, a new and used bookstore, is located in Cocoa Village in Florida. This bookstore prides itself in its ability to maintain a safe space that is priceless with free events and dedication to its core values: community, diversity, and creativity. Additionally, Hello Again aims to reduce waste by giving mass-market books a second life on its shelves. Go say “hello” to your next read!

Mississippi: Violet Valley

A reader browsing the shelves in Violet Valley bookstore.
IMAGE VIA VIOLET VALLEY

 Author of The Lesbian South, Jaime Harker founded Violet Valley Bookstore in 2017. With the help of their team, Harker strives to make feminist, queer, and multicultural books physically and financially accessible in the state of Mississippi. To meet this goal, the bookstore offers both new and used titles to ensure everyone can afford the books they work hard to promote. Violet Valley continues to support diverse voices through its book selection and other programs it hosts. Stop in to this store to support its mission!

Indiana: Beyond Barcodes

The storefront of Beyond Barcodes Bookstore.
IMAGE VIA THEINDIEBOBSPOT

Beyond Barcodes is a Black woman-owned bookstore in Indianapolis. This indie-ana store has a short summary in its “about” statement: Books, coffee, community. Concise as its description may be, this establishment — a cafe, bookstore, and learning center — has a large impact on its town. The owners work hard to establish common language, common ground, and close community through their events. For an above-and-beyond book experience, check out this store!

Texas: Bookwoman

Artwork on the storefront of Bookwoman showing an angelic woman reading a book.
IMAGE VIA BOOKWOMAN

Bookwoman is celebrating its 46th year of service in Austin, Texas. This feminist bookstore is run by manager Audrey Kohler. Not only does the Bookwoman team outwardly express their devotion to selecting relevant and diverse books for their shelves, but they also treat each interaction with a customer with great sincerity. Kohler said in an interview, “That’s what’s important about a feminist bookstore — having someone behind the counter who cares.” This store is guaranteed to give you a personal and inclusive guide to your next book. 

Montana: Montana Book Co

The storefront of Montana Book Co with a bright and colorful window display of books and flowers.
IMAGE VIA VISITMT

In downtown Helena, the independent, LGBTQ+ bookshop, Montana Book Co., offers so much behind its rainbow-painted windows. This bookstore is home to all-age books, community events, author readings, and other sweet gifts. The company started in 1978 but has since changed owners and direction slightly. Today, with each sale and philanthropic event, their group pursues a mission of creating a safe space where everyone is openly welcome and has access to authors who relate to their experiences. 

Arizona: Wijaya House

A line of bookshelves with front-facing books at Wijaya House.
IMAGE VIA WIJAYA HOUSE

In Tempe, Arizona, resides an oasis of a shop called Wijaya House. In this independent, BIPOC, woman-owned bookstore, inspiration blooms among the fresh flowers. It is a coffee, book, and flower shop. Wijaya House specializes in the carefully chosen genres of fiction, non-fiction, and biographies but also has a young adult section. If you are shopping in celebration for a friend or in need of a to-me-from-me gift, check out Wijaya House for the perfect book, matched with a beautiful bouquet and delicious coffee. Who doesn’t love a one-stop shop?

Oregon: Broadway Books

The storefront of Broadway Books with a red and white floral sign.
IMAGE VIA BROADWAY BOOKS

Broadway Books in Portland, Oregon is a locally-owned independent bookstore that was started by two friends in the early ’90s. As their team actively seeks to modernize their space, they hold strong to their original core values of high-quality service and community engagement. Broadway Books features both established and emerging writers on its shelves. Just as the team cares for their authors, they want to make sure the community is involved in their story by supporting local organizations and curating a space where the customer knows they are valued. They even have a pink punch card to redeem a reward with purchases!

California: Reparations Club

The inside of Reparations Club, showcasing a colorful patterned design and a diverse collection of books.
IMAGE VIA X (@REPARATIONSCLUB)

The wonderful Jazzi McGilbert founded the Reparations Club in Los Angeles, California, in 2019. This Black-owned business is a concept bookshop that acts as McGilbert’s “physical offering for Black people in LA…where they can be themselves.” Reparations Club does a tremendous job of highlighting Black authors, while also creating community and connection for anyone who walks in its doors. Patrons describe it not as just a retail or art shop, but as the cozy living room you have always wanted. Stop into the Reparations Club for a fun karaoke sesh and your next addition to your bookshelf!

Each of these bookshops has its own unique flare. Whether you’re a road tripper or book lover, we hope these amazing locations reserve a pin on your map!


For more information about how bookshops curate their selection, read here!

Check out Bookstr’s bookshelves on Bookshop for some incredible recommendations!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA CANVA / KENNEDI CUTLIFF