From neighborhood institutions to up-and-comers, these independent North Carolina bookstores are worth the trip.
With a literary legacy as rich as North Carolina’s, it’s no wonder our state is filled with independent bookshops that are more than just mere retail outlets—they’re the hub of their city’s literary community.
And while shops like Asheville’s Malaprop’s, Raleigh’s Quail Ridge Books, Durham’s Regulator Bookshop, Greensboro’s Scuppernong, Winston-Salem’s Bookmarks, and Charlotte’s Park Road Books are well-known across the state, these lesser-known shops are worth a trip.
471 W. King St., Boone
Probably the only bookstore in the state endorsed by Tom Hanks and Sam Elliott—the two appeared in a Super Bowl ad for the store that aired on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”—Foggy Pine Books in downtown Boone has become a community hub.
Hosting signings, book clubs and more, the shop stays busy with book lovers. And the store also helps lesser-known authors find an audience through its author consignment program, which promotes self-published or small press books.
City Center Gallery and Books
112 Hay St., Fayetteville
Part gallery, part bookstore, City Center highlights local artists on its walls and authors from all over on its shelves.
Visitors come for volumes on everything from memoir to military history, as well as to meet authors and celebrate the city’s Fourth Friday each month when the store stays open late.
409 State St., Greensboro
Specializing in children’s books, Wonderland Bookshop feels a little like Meg Ryan’s Shop Around the Corner in “You’ve Got Mail.” The lively store is tucked into one of the most quaint streets in Greensboro, and stocks everything from classics to modern graphic novels. Kids gather on Saturday mornings for story hour before selecting new reads to take home.
Buxton Village Books
47918 Highway 12, Buxton
Housed in a charming white house along the Outer Banks’ main drag, Buxton Village Books has supplied beach reads for locals and tourists alike for more than 35 years. The shop carries volumes by North Carolina authors, as well as bestsellers, gifts and more.
The Next Chapter Books & Art
320 S. Front St., New Bern
New Bern author Michelle Garren Flye always dreamed of owning her own bookstore.
So in 2007 she took the plunge and opened The Next Chapter, a used and local author bookshop. Flye and her store are dedicated to promoting the local writer scene, so much so that she even launched her own literary magazine, aptly titled “The Next Chapter,” last year.
Books and Beans
1151 Falls Road, Rocky Mount
Housed in a building that once served as a social gathering place for workers from the adjacent 200-year-old cotton mill, Books and Beans carries on that spirit of community.
Owned by New York Times bestselling author Etaf Rum, the shop carries a curated selection of books Rum selected for their ability to start conversation. The shop also serves Durham’s Counter Culture coffee as well as light fare.
3 E. Jackson St., Sylva
Dedicated to promoting the literature of western North Carolina, City Lights has been a landmark in downtown Sylva for more than 35 years.
The shop’s shelves are stocked with Appalachian history, fiction, poetry and other volumes as well as books on Native Americans of the area, the tradition of moonshining and other cultural touchstones of the region. The shop also serves locally roasted organic coffee with breakfast items, sandwiches and more.