Perhaps I’m biased being a writer and having a B.A. in English, but I love a good bookstore! What about you? Cincinnati is a goldmine of independent booksellers so don’t miss out on what these 11 bookstores have to offer!
1. Smith and Hannon Bookstore
Smith and Hannon is located downtown on Vine Street and is the only black-owned bookstore in the Cincinnati region. It was opened in 2003 by retired educator, Joyce Smith.
Smith and Hannon shines a light on African American voices, but their collection features a variety of genres and authors. Make sure to check them out for book signings and storytelling.
Address: 1405 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45202
2. The Book Rack
Do you live on the east side of Cincinnati? You’re missing out if you haven’t been to The Book Rack! They are open for browsing and curbside service.
The Book Rack has been serving the community off of Beechmont Avenue for over 30 years. They boast a hefty collection including new and used books, puzzles, board games, tabletop RPGs, manga, as well as MTG and Pokemon cards!
You can also bring in your material to trade for store credit.
Address: 8315 Beechmont Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45255
3. Ohio Book Store
Another treasure trove located downtown, Ohio Book Store is a real treat. Not kidding- this book store has FIVE floors! There is also a Bookbinding and Repair Department that offers restoration services as well as custom bindings.
Address: 726 Main St. Cincinnati, OH 45202
4. Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Joseph-Beth has a Barnes and Noble feel, but they’re your local independent bookstore!
Located in the Rookwood Commons and Pavilion, this bookstore hosts a series of events and story-times, and even has its own restaurant, Bronte Bistro! Find the shiniest, newest, and most crisp books here, and drink in that new book smell.
Address: 2692 Madison Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45208
5. Iris Book Cafe
The Iris Book Cafe is what it sounds like; a bookstore that is also a coffee shop! They also serve a vegan-friendly menu provided by local vendors.
The book collection reaches across the globe and across all genres. The walls are adorned with carefully curated photography. Make sure to check out this unique, cultural shop in historic Over-the-Rhine.
Address: 1331 Main St. Cincinnati, OH 45202
Phone: 513-381-BOOK (2665)
6. Blue Manatee Literacy Project
Blue Manatee is truly a project of passion and love. Not only are they a brick and mortar bookstore, but they also donate a book to a child in need for every book sold!
The donated books cross a wide range of reading levels, and so does the collection at the Blue Manatee Bookstore.
The Blue Manatee Literacy Project, a non-profit organization, is headquartered at the bookstore. They present story times that my son absolutely loves, and then there is even a tunnel for the littles to walk through…over and over and over again. This is not a shop you want to miss if you have kids!
Address: 3094 Madison Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45209
7. Duttenhofer’s Books
Duttenhofer’s Books is in the heart of the campus scene at the University of Cincinnati, located on McMillan Street. This bookstore, however, has been established much longer than the current metropolitan cityscape that has been constructed.
Duttenhofer’s Books offers more than 40,000 high quality rare and used books. There are over 7,000 titles listed online. They do buy books, but make sure to call or email them about your inquiry.
Address: 214 West McMillan St. Cincinnati, OH 45219
8. The Friends of the Public Library Used Bookstore
Do you love your local library? Support them by shopping at the Warehouse, as it’s called! The Friends’ of the Public Library’s mission is simple; to support the Library one gently used book at a time.
The Warehouse is open four days a week and browsing is available by appointment. Yes, you’ll find used books, but you’ll also find CDs, DVDs, LPs, 45s, audiobooks, and play-aways. Wandering the stacks is always an adventure, and every purchase funds the Library. Address: 8456 Vine St. Cincinnati, OH 45216
9. Roebling Point Books and Coffee
Cross over the river to Covington and visit Roebling Point Books and Coffee. They bring together two of my favorite things like the Iris Book Cafe. Stop by for a cup of joe, or browse their selection of books. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll special order it for you! The only thing that’s missing is a spa!
Address: 306 Greenup St. Covington, KY 41011
10. The First Edition Rare Books
If you’re into rare books, and I mean rare, then you have to check out The First Edition Rare Books. This regional store is one of three First Editions locations. If you’re a true collector, then you don’t want to miss the fine collection of rare books here.
Address: 250 E 5th St. Suite 1542 Cincinnati, OH 45202
11. The Bookshelf
The Bookshelf is a cute little bookshop nestled in the corner of a plaza in Madeira. They have the most popular genres of fiction and nonfiction, so you definitely won’t be disappointed! The staff, like the others on this list, are reputably knowledgeable, kind, and helpful.
The Bookshelf also has a curated collection of puzzles, board games, greeting cards, and gifts.
Address: 7754 Camargo Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45243
Conclusion for 11 Independent Bookstores in Cincinnati
There’s just something about a bookshop: the smell of the pages, the friendliness of the staff, and in the case of my preference, a steaming cup of hot coffee on the cafe table next to me. Bookstores are truly magical places, especially local gems. If you’re a bibliophile like me, bookmark this blog post right now!
What’s Your Favorite Bookstore in Cincinnati?
I haven’t had the privilege of visiting all of the bookstores on this list, so please let us know in the comments if you have been to any of them!