A Book Lover’s Guide to Columbus, Ohio’s
Independent Bookstores

In a day and age when getting books online is as easy as clicking “Buy Now,” it is more important than ever to support independent bookstores. The following independent bookstores in Columbus are not part of a larger corporation and are typically run by people passionate about books and literature who took the time to create a cozy atmosphere with a distinctive charm larger retailers can only dream of.

As small stores get slowly taken over by chains and other big brands, it is more crucial than ever to support independent bookstores by attending author readings and book clubs or simply prioritizing buying your books there. Whether browsing for books you might not have found otherwise or looking for a unique gift for a loved one, this list of the best independent bookstores in Columbus, Ohio, has what you need.

The Book Loft of German Village

With over 30 rooms filled with books, The Book Loft of German Village, housed in pre-civil war era buildings, is a maze you will love getting lost in. The books are competitively priced, even if you compare them with online retailers. This place is a bibliophile’s dream and is absolutely part of the best independent bookstores in Columbus. Don’t forget to check out the Staff’s Picks or be adventurous with a Book Loft Mystery Box!

Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pickup

631 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43206 • (614) 464-1774

Photo Credit – The Bookloft of German Village

Gramercy Books

You might never look at an online bookstore again after checking out Gramercy Books. From classics to new releases, without forgetting the booksellers’ recommendations, you will find something to love no matter your age range. The author’s presentations are well-organized, and they have a small selection of gift items like socks, soaps, and more. And if you’re in the mood for a drink, it is conveniently located next to Kitties Cafe.

Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup

2424 E Main St, Bexley, OH 43209 • (614) 867-5515

Photo Credit – Gramercy Books

Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

This indie bookstore is on our list of the best independent bookstores in Columbus because not only does it feature a wealth of fantastic books but it also boasts a fully vegan bar and coffeehouse.

Everything is made in-house at Two Dollar Radio Headquarters. You will love the Tortugas, square, toasted burritos, stuffed with shredded cashew cheeze, pickled onions, and jalapenos, and the Eggplant Po’ Boy, breaded and baked eggplant, tomatoes, slaw, and remoulade on a hoagie bun. Wash it all down with a Chai Latte or specialty cocktails like the Meet Me on the Lanai, featuring gin, Aperol, and vermouth bitters.

Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pickup · Delivery

1124 Parsons Ave, Columbus, OH 43206 • (614) 725-1505

Photo Credit – Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

Prologue Bookshop

Ask around for some of the best independent bookstores in Columbus and you are sure to see Prologue Bookshop on the list. In addition to selling books, they also have three book clubs (a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, one that centers on Black authors and those across the African diaspora, and one that focuses on fantasy or science fiction but can delve into other areas as well.)

Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pickup

841 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215 • (614) 745-1395

Photo Credit – Prologue Bookshop

Cover to Cover Children’s Books

First opened by a teacher, Cover to Cover Children’s Books features a collection that goes from very small children to young adults. The staff is friendly and helpful and will love to introduce your kids to books they might not have read before. They organize events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye on their calendar. While they only stock children’s books, they can special order other types as well if you ask.

Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · Delivery

2116 Arlington Ave, Columbus, OH 43221 • (614) 263-1624

Photo Credit – Cover to Cover Children’s Books

Beanbag Books

If you’re looking for a book for your children, a special birthday present for their friends (including toys, games, and puzzles), or even a homeschooling selection, you need to check out Beanbag Books. Originally called Fundamentals Teacher and Parent Store, the place is clean and well-organized, and the staff obviously delights in helping every customer.

Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup

25 W Winter St, Delaware, OH 43015 • (740) 363-0290

Photo Credit – Beanbag Books

Karen Wickliff – Books

Some of the books are precariously stacked and the bookstore only takes cash or checks, but it only adds to the charm of Karen Wickliff – Books. Get ready to spend a few hours sifting through the large collection of often unique and hard-to-find gems.

Service options: In-store shopping

3527 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214 • (614) 263-2903

Photo Credit – Karen Wickliff – Books

Hoffman Books

Hoffman Books is one of the best independent bookstores in Columbus you’re looking for rare and out-of-print books, including older history books and private journal reprints. While you can check their website for their inventory, the helpful staff will be happy to help you find everything you are looking for.

Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pickup

4167 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214 • (614) 262-0059

Photo Credit – Hoffman Books

Kafe Kerouac

Last but not least on our list of the best independent bookstores in Columbus, we have Kafe Kerouac. It is by far one of the top spots for poetry slams, comedy shows, playing board games, and buying books and records. And what’s more, they have an extensive menu displayed on large chalkboards, including a variety of espresso drinks, and lattes inspired by famous authors like the chocolate and peanut butter Mark Twain or the hazelnut white chocolate Jane Austen. They also serve cocktails and beers, and a small selection of baked goods and food items.

Service options: Dine-in · Takeout · No delivery

2250 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201 • (614) 299-2672

Photo Credit – Kafe Kerouac

Joanna Steven