New York is noted for its plentiful places to purchase books, but here's a secret: Philadelphia has some exceptional and well-stocked bookstores, too! If you're looking for some summer reading material, step inside one of these independent bookstores for inspiration.
Walking into Head House Books is like walking into your old friend's home. The shop is neatly tucked away from the craziness of South Street, much to the pleasure of wandering readers. The displays are artfully curated, the booksellers are always willing to recommend or chat, and the best part? They have a book club! 619 S. Second St., 215-923-9525
A majestic bronze lion sculpture beckons onlookers to stop by Garland of Letters. The floral shopfront is stunning, but it’s what’s inside that will keep you there for hours on end. Among the shelves are cute trinkets, books on various religions and beliefs, and even crystals to ward off any bad vibes—not that there are any here to begin with. Plus, the soothing smell of incense permeates the space and makes it impossible to leave. 527 South St., 215-923-5946
For 40 years, The Book Trader has been known to many as a Philly literary staple: The booksellers are quirky and full of personality, and they'll grant you store credit if you trade in your own hardcovers and paperbacks. If you're an avid book collector, call ahead so they can ensure there's room for all your literary gems. 7 N. Second St., 215-925-2080
Finding your favorite fable may take time and dedication, but perusing the rows upon rows of books in this vast warehouse space is priceless. While it is mostly books, you can look through their collection of DVDs, CDs, and even old-fashioned photographs. 529 Bainbridge St., 215-238-9838
This gorgeous Victorian house is now home to a large stock of books. Just off the University of Pennsylvania campus, House of Our Own feels like something out of a novel itself, especially with the collegiate environment so close by. Its homey vibe will make you nostalgic in the best way possible. 3920 Spruce St., 215-222-1576
Founded in 1973, Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room is Philly’s beloved LGBTQ bookstore. Not only does the historic shop contain plenty of fiction and non-fiction literature, but shoppers will be happy to know there's also music, comics, and even clothing for intellects to browse. Stop by for a warm and comfortable atmosphere with a friendly staff to match. 345 S. 12th St., 215-923-2960