Your Guide To Memphis Bookstores

Your Guide To Memphis Bookstores

It's Independent Bookstore Day! Memphis has a ton of wonderful independent bookstores and libraries for book lovers of all generations, with varying interests. Check these out. 

1. Book Traders

An East Memphis fixture, Book Traders will celebrate 28 years in business in 2021. This family-owned business offers thousands of used hardback and paperback books, from philosophy to young adult fiction to coffee table keepsakes, in great condition.  

6112 Quince in East Memphis

Tuesday - Saturday 11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

2. Burke’s Books

bookstore interior

Burke’s is my neighborhood bookstore, and it’s a challenge to get my kid out of there once we walk through the door, given the cool child/young adult section and her obsession with the vintage display of typewriters that you’re allowed to touch (gently).

Proprietor Corey Mesler, a Memphis novelist and poet, offers new, rare, and used books in this charming Midtown fixture that could serve as the backdrop for an independent film about an independent bookstore. It smells like paperbacks, is decorated with art and author memorabilia, and you’re welcome to bring your well-behaved canine companion.

936 S. Cooper Street in Midtown

Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday- Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

3. Cornelia Crenshaw Memorial Library

This historic library opened in 1939 to serve Memphis’ African-American community during segregation and continues to play a central role in the lives of neighborhood residents. It’s an especially great location for parents and children, with its interactive literacy space for families.

While it's not an actual bookstore, you can check out books with your library card, so we think they're worth including on this list. The library’s charming children’s learning area features colorful murals by local artists, adorable plush animal seating, a play kitchen, grocery store, LEGO play area, and seats for mom and dad to relax and read. In addition, they have an incredibly passionate staff that includes an artist and a head librarian who personally knew Ms. Crenshaw.

531 Vance Avenue downtown

Open Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 

4. Crosstown Concourse Reading Area 

The revitalized Crosstown building is a bustle of activity, and one of its newest additions is a reading area situated between the second and third floors in the atrium. The shelves have been stocked with books donated by Friends of the Library. It’s a sleek contemporary spot that offers a unique reading sanctuary in the heart of this energetic, revamped space.  

1350 Concourse Avenue in Crosstown

5. Novel

Novel in Laurelwood Shopping Center is a locally-owned bookstore that's served the city since August 2017 (and for years before that under different names and owners). Novel’s customers can expect a personalized shopping experience and a wide selection of books and gifts, including a kids’ area. The cafe inside, “Libro”, is by Sabine Bachmann of ECCO on Overton Park. If you're looking for a specific gift or book recommendations, they can help. If you prefer to shop online and pickup at the store, they can accommodate that too. If you want a Sunday brunch followed by book browsing, yes, they have that too!

Mon–Sat: 9AM–8PM, Sun: 10AM–5PM

387 Perkins Road Ext. in East Memphis

6. Second Editions

Second Editions at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library is an absolute gem. This second-hand bookstore, operated by Friends of the Library, is the perfect place to buy gifts for the bibliophile in your life, with best-selling hardback novels and exquisite, barely touched coffee table books for $2 a pop. The store stocks the shelves with new books each day, and there’s a massive collection of overstock downstairs.

They even have vinyl records, rare signed books, and a retired pathologist volunteer who repairs rare, antique or just ordinary broken books in the basement. No, I didn’t just make that up. Second Editions is an interesting place.

3030 Poplar Avenue at the Central Library

TUE-SAT: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
(7 People allowed in the store at one time)

7. South Main Book Juggler

It would be impossible for a book-lover to pass the South Main Book Juggler’s cheerful turquoise storefront without being lured inside. Their motto is “Somewhere between serious and silly.”

The store, which opened in 2013 in Downtown’s South Main Arts District, offers mostly gently loved books, along with some new ones and unique gift items. They have books in a variety of genres and have a great Memphis section featuring books about the Bluff City and books authored by Memphians.

548 S. Main Street downtown

Tuesday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sundays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

8. Tiger Bookstore

Yes, Tiger Bookstore sells mostly textbooks and Tiger gear, and that’s why most folks go there. Heck, I’m a UConn alumna and even I own Tiger gear because I’m a Memphian. But it’s an iconic Memphis bookstore, serving Memphis Tigers fans all over the world for more than 50 years. Tiger Bookstore also carries literary classics and books about local history.

Monday and Thursday 8:30-6:00 Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 8:30-5:30 Saturday: 11:00 - 4:00

3533 Walker Avenue in East Memphis

9. Xanadu Music & Books 

John and Bev Lowe have been running this mom-and-pop music and book shop for more than 25 years. John handles the music side, selling guitars and his custom mutant guitar invention, the Lowebow. Bev manages their wide selection of books. But Xanadu’s real boss is resident lady cat Cordell, named in honor of Memphis-based female rockabilly guitarist Cordell Jackson.   

2200 Central Avenue

Call ahead for hours.

About the Author

Aisling Maki is a writer, editor, and public and media relations specialist with awards from The Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists and Public Relations Society of America, as well as several awards for fiction writing. Her work has appeared in publications in more than 20 countries. You can usually find her cheering on the Grizzlies, doing outdoorsy things, or traveling with her daughter, Brídín. They live in Cooper-Young with their pets.

Comments Make Us Happy

Leave a Comment
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.