Updated Apr 16, 2024 - Things to Do

Independent bookstores in Charlotte — and a few more within driving distance

Main Street Books in Davidson.

Main Street Books in Davidson. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Since we first published this independent bookstore guide in 2021, some spots on the original list have closed, while others have found new homes. There are also new stores to explore.

Here's a guide to the shelves around Charlotte and a few others just a drive away. Stores are listed in no particular order.

Park Road Books

It’s the original — "the cornerstone of independent bookstores in Charlotte" since 1977, as it says on its website. It's a Park Road Shopping Center staple.

Location: 4139 Park Road

Park Road Books' staff picks.
Park Road Books' staff picks are on the right as you walk in. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Outside Park Road Books.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

That's Novel Books

There is a mix of new and used books here, along with local items, like greeting cards from Good Postage, also located in Camp North End.

Location: 330 Camp Road

"That's Novel Books" above an etching of a book that spans a window in Camp North End.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
That's Novel Books dog in a chair in front of a mural. The dog's name is Taco.
You'll find Taco at That's Novel Books. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Books on the shelves at That's Novel Books.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Trope Bookshop

Trope Bookshop is a bus-turned-romance-bookshop. The Green Girl, as the bus is affectionately known, has what owner Katie Mitchell describes as an old-school English-style pub feel. There's a shelf dedicated to local authors.

Location: Find Trope Bookshop's weekly schedule on Instagram.

Go deeper: Fall in love with Charlotte's romance bookstore on wheels

A sticker of Trope Bookshop in front of Trope Bookshop.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
The shelves inside Trope Bookshop.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Book Buyers

Book Buyers has been selling used books in Charlotte since 1999. The shop relocated from Plaza Midwood to the Eastway Crossing shopping complex a few years ago.

Location: 3040 Eastway Dr. B

Book Buyers exterior.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Inky, one of the cats at Book Buyers.
Inky, one of the cats at Book Buyers. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The Book Rack

This south Charlotte used bookstore has been around for decades and boasts having 50,000 used books for $8 or less.

Location: 10110 Johnston Road, Suite 5

Belmont Bookshop

From the partially completed puzzle on the back table, to the treehouse for kids, to the cozy chairs around the store, Belmont Bookshop whispers, "come on in. Stay awhile," the moment you walk in the door.

  • It's a short drive down I-85 to the bookshop, which had its grand opening earlier this year.

Location: 7 N. Main St. Belmont, N.C.

Go deeper: 18 things to eat, see and do in Belmont including a rum distillery and farm-to-table brunch

Libby, the shop dog.
Libby, the shop dog. Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
The book crawl passport in front of Belmont Bookshop.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
A partially completed puzzle on a table at the back of the bookshop.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

Urban Reader Bookstore

This Black-owned store opened in University City in July 2021 and quickly became a hub for discussions, poetry and sipping wine on the patio. It's now a mobile bookstore.

  • Owner Sonyah Spencer is an Ohio native who found comfort in books after her oldest son died. She hopes Urban Reader can be a space where people can "embrace the culture, ask questions and heal."

Location: Gibson Mill Market for now; 305 McGill Ave. Concord, N.C.

Main Street Books

Davidson's redbrick sidewalks and benches are an instruction more than a decoration: They tell you, if you want to best experience this town, you should stop. You should park. You should stroll.

  • And when you do, you may stumble into this wonderful bookstore that has its own set of instructions: Stop, pocket that phone and read.
  • The bookstore was a filming location for "The Other Zoey," a romantic comedy that was also filmed at Queens University of Charlotte.

Location: 126 S. Main St., Davidson

Main Street Books sign.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Main Street books interior.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

South Main Book Company

Alissa Redmond is a diplomat turned bookshop owner in Salisbury. She opened South Main Book Company in 2019. Make sure you say hi to the shop dog, Hazelnut on your visit.

Location: 110 S. Main St., Salisbury, N.C.

South Main Book Company shop dog, Hazelnut.
Hazelnut hanging out in the window seat. Photo: Alissa Redmond/Courtesy of South Main Book Company
 South Main Book Company children's section.
Photo: Alissa Redmond/Courtesy of South Main Book Company

Archimedes' Loft

This woman-owned pop-up bookstore opened in September 2023. It specializes in children's and young adult books. It's named for the scholarly owl from Disney's "The Sword in the Stone."

Location: 1625 Walkup Ave., Monroe, N.C.

Cleary's Bookstore

Clearly's is a women-owned bookstore in Mount Holly selling new and used books.

Location: 105 N Main St. Mount Holly, N.C.

Corks, Cooks, & Books

The wine bar, restaurant and bookstore opened in 2021 in Rock Hill.

Location: 295 Herlong Ave. Suite 401 Rock Hill, S.C. 29732

Editions

This woman-owned bookstore and coffee shop opened in downtown Kannapolis in 2017. Editions sells new and used books, plus locally made items.

Location: 217 S Main St. Kannapolis, N.C.

Fred and June's Books

Expect new and used books here. It's named for owner Stephen Hayes' father, Fred, and his Aunt June.

Location: 248 N. Main Street Mooresville, N.C.

Goldberry Books

Husband and wife duo David and Bethany Kern opened Goldberry Books in 2020. They named their bookstore after a character from "The Lord of the Rings."

  • You'll find new and used books here.

Location: 12 Union St. S Concord, N.C.

Goldberry Books outdoor sign.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios
Books on shelves at Goldberry Books.
Photo: Ashley Mahoney/Axios

The Liberty Book Co.

This Rock Hill bookstore sells new and used books. "Come for the high-brow literature; stay for the paper cuts," their Instagram bio reads.

Location: 1037 Oakland Ave. Rock Hill, S.C.

Walls of Books

Melinda Parkes opened Walls of Books in 2018 in Cornelius. The shop sells new and used books.

Location: 20920 Torrence Chapel Road B-6 Cornelius, N.C.

Walls of Books.
Photo: Melinda Parkes

A little drive away

And here are a few favorites within driving distance …

Malaprop’s

55 Haywood St., Asheville (about two hours west of Charlotte)

Maybe North Carolina's most well-known bookstore, Malaprop's has one of the most knowledgeable staffs in the state. It also has a coffee shop and a huge collection of North Carolina books.

Scuppernong Books  

304 S. Elm St., Greensboro (about 90 minutes from Charlotte)

What’s to love: It’s become the "center for culture" in Greensboro, says the mentor and former college professor of Axios' Michael Graff. Scuppernong has a bar in the store with beer and wine, and hauls in great authors and music for events.

City Lights Bookstore, Sylva

3 E. Jackson St., Sylva (about three hours west of Charlotte)

What's to love: When you’re this deep in the mountains, the stories all seem richer. City Lights has been a warm place for writers, readers and artists since local writer Gary Carden founded it in 1985.

Pro tip: Read North Carolina author David Joy's books, and if you haven’t yet, start with "Where All Light Tends to Go."

McIntyre's Books, Fearrington Village

220 Market St. Pittsboro (about two hours east of Charlotte)

McIntyre's Books, Fearrington
You can read next to the rabbit if you’d like. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

What's to love: It’s also in a destination, just 15 minutes outside Chapel Hill. Inside, manager Keebe Fitch and her team can tell you about all the local authors who’ve come through.

  • Pro tip: Be sure to visit the rest of Fearrington Village, one of North Carolina’s gems. Eat at the AAA Five-Diamond restaurant. But whatever you do, be sure to check out the Belted Galloway cows.
Belted Galloway cow at Fearrington Village
Belted Galloway cow at Fearrington Village. Photo: Michael Graff/Axios

Editor's note: This guide was originally published on Dec. 2, 2021 and was updated on April 16, 2024.

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