Looking for a great new book? Give one of Rhode Island’s many independent bookstores a chance! These bookstores often feature incredible staff who can give you tailored recommendations, and you’ll be supporting local businesses when you shop there. So next time you run out of something to read, visit one of the Ocean State’s best independent bookstores.
On top of bestsellers and classic novels, you’ll find a unique collection of zines and comic books, many of which come from local authors! On top of the regional novelists they also stock, you’ll find copies upon copies of foreign literature spanning from France to Chilé.
The first thing you’ll notice upon walking into Barrington Books Retold is not the wide variety of books. Rather, it’s the giant vintage Citröen car that sits next to the magazine racks. Above the car hangs a beautiful chandelier made from pages of books, and ancient books are scattered across a far wall, making for one of the most mystical reading experiences in Rhode Island.
Ironically, Cellar Stories isn’t located in a basement—that’s where it started, but now readers have to climb a flight of stairs to enter into this haven of used and rare books. These books pour out of stacks, and seem to be shoved into every nook and cranny. In a state so known for it’s history, you won’t be lacking any here.
Located in the heart of downtown Providence, Symposium has become a staple among community businesses. The store curates that sense of community by releasing monthly recommendations and hosting author events based out of their modern storefront. The owners followed their dreams to own a bookstore after leaving behind their careers in New York, and Providence couldn’t be luckier to have them.
Wayland Square’s local bookstore, Books on the Square makes an effort to constantly engage community members in literature. Recently it hosted a youth poetry slam, which had audience members packing the independent bookstore’s entire interior. Staff members are always willing to help you find the book you need, and families love the great children’s section.
Block Island’s only bookstore, this is the perfect place to pick up a summer beach read! The independent bookstore is always running fun new promotions, including Dog Day, where visitors come pick out books with their pup in tow. The bookstore also hosts painting classes for those to try out their more creative side.
This bookstore is little but boasts a wide range of reading selections. The staff is incredibly helpful, hyping up their favorite books and helping you to find your next favorite author! Looking for gifts? They also have shelves full of perfect present ideas!
One look at the medieval-esque sign on the front of this store and you’ll know you’re about to walk into a unique place. This eclectic bookstore and antique shop is full of old books perfect for exploring. The ladies who run the shop are especially friendly and always welcome a new face in their store.
Located right in the Providence shopping, Newbury Comics is a New England institution. Nerds of every variety will appreciate their comics and collectibles. Looking for a gag gift? Newbury Comics is the place to go.
Get past all the Brown merchandise and you’ll find a great collection of academic work as well as novels approachable to all. The bookstore takes up two whole floors of space, with the College Hill Café on the first floor and a technology center on the top floor.