Check Out These Independent Bookstores in Metro Detroit
Story by Matt Homrich-Knieling
If you’re a bookworm, or if you have book lovers in your life, metro Detroit is full of unique independent bookstores that cater to a diverse range of readers.
From children’s to rare and used books, from comics to best-sellers, if there’s a book you want to buy, there’s almost certainly a local shop that carries it. Here are some independent bookstores in and around Detroit that you need to bookmark!
These bookstores located all over the city, each with their own specialties, are waiting to broaden your perspective and enhance your bookshelf.
If you’re a nonfiction reader, Source Booksellers is your bookstore! Source has been open since 2002, and it has been in its current building in Midtown since 2013. This Black- and woman-owned independent bookstore carries a wide range of nonfiction books.
From history to health, spirituality to social justice, Source Booksellers has something for all of your curiosities. They also carry a unique selection of nonfiction young adult and children’s books. Cozy up in one of their comfortable chairs and expand your worldview!
In addition to books, Source Booksellers also regularly hosts community events: author readings, local musician performances, yoga classes, and book talks. Check out their website for more information on upcoming events.
Originally starting as a pop-up bookstore in West Village, 27th Letter Books found its brick-and-mortar home in southwest Detroit in 2020. The beautiful brick walls, exposed ceiling beams, and warm wood floors give this space both a rustic and cozy vibe.
27th Letter Books is focused on highlighting books from underrepresented authors and creating an inclusive and accessible environment. They also regularly seek book suggestions from the community, so if there’s something specific you want to see in a bookstore, contact the owners!
Along with selling books, 27th Letter Books hosts events such as children’s storytime, poetry readings, open mics, writing groups, and more!
Located in Detroit’s beautiful Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood, Pages is a carefully curated bookstore with an impressive selection. With lots of natural light pouring in from this stretch of Grand River Ave, the store is filled with warmth and brightness.
No matter your reading interests, Pages Bookstore has it all: fiction, nonfiction, children’s and young adult. Pages also focuses on carrying Detroit authors, so you can check out all of the talented writers in the city. In addition to books, Pages has t-shirts, postcards, journals, and more.
Along with hosting author readings and book talks, Pages Bookstore also maintains its own book club. If you’re interested in joining a community of readers, you can learn more here. And last but not least, Pages is home to Pip, the resident cat. While you’re perusing the bookshelves, you can pet their adorable cat!
Comic book lovers, this one's for you. Recently relocated from downtown Detroit to the Milwaukee Junction neighborhood, Vault of Midnight is a one-of-a-kind comic shop. Sitting at the corner of East Grand Blvd and Oakland, Vault of Midnight is filled to the brim with comics, graphic novels, manga, clothing, figurines, keychains, and more.
In addition to their in-store merchandise, Vault of Midnight offers a wide range of services, including comic subscriptions, special orders, and comic book appraisals and buying. They also offer support for educators and librarians to build and curate their selection of comics and graphic novels!
Vault of Midnight has two additional locations, one in Ann Arbor and another in Grand Rapids.
John K King Books is as much a store as it is an experience. This used and rare bookstore is located on the western edge of downtown Detroit, and it carries the title of Michigan’s largest used bookstore.
For a sense of the scale, John K King Books holds over 1 million books throughout its four floors. If this sounds overwhelming, it is (in the best way). When you enter the store, be sure to grab one of their maps to guide you through their rows and rows of books. Whatever your niche interests are–gardening, film & theater, alternative medicines, classics–John K King probably has a section for you.
You can check out their Ferndale location if you want to start smaller. Equally rich in rare and used titles, this location is a small-scale version of the downtown store.
This unique and sophisticated bookstore can be found inside the Siren Hotel downtown. Specializing in fashion, design, and art books and magazines, B_KS@ has carved its own niche in the Detroit independent book scene.
B_KS@ carries limited edition books and magazines that come from all over the world. If you’ve got an eye for fashion and design, their selection will pique your interest and introduce you to new and exciting perspectives!
B_KS@ also ships their merchandise worldwide, so even if you aren’t able to check it out in person, you can peruse and order on their website!
The Siren Hotel, Photo courtesy Christian Harder
Metro Detroit Bookstores:
The surrounding suburbs have their own fair share of independent bookstores. Here are some you’ve got to check out!
This award-winning used bookstore is located in the downriver suburb of Taylor. With stacked books lining the entire store, Another Look Books doesn’t waste any space, so you can be confident that you’ll find something you love.
The store opened in 1995 and coins itself as “A Special Place for Readers.” Philosophy, poetry, photography, mystery, music, and metaphysical, Another Look Books sells almost any genre you can think of! They also offer trade credit, so if you’ve got some books you’re ready to part with, you can trade them in for store credit.
Beyond their books, they also regularly post hilarious book-themed memes on their Facebook page, so check that out too!
The Book Beat can be found in the Lincoln Shopping Center, a strip mall on Greenfield Road in Oak Park. The Book Beat has been open for 40 years, and they are a staple in the local independent book scene. The store maintains a classic used bookstore vibe, with rows of wood bookshelves, stacks of books on the floor, hanging house plants, and unique art.
Though they sell a range of titles, The Book Beat specializes in “art, children’s books, multicultural, and quality literature.” Their thoughtfully curated selection is a creative’s dream! They also sell rare and out-of-print books, art, and photography.
Be sure to block off your calendar before you visit, because you can easily spend hours perusing the shelves!
You can find this general interest bookstore in the heart of downtown Royal Oak. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of Royal Oak and slow down in this well-stocked, welcoming bookstore.
Specializing primarily in affordable used books, Paper Trail holds over 20,000 titles in its store. They also sell fun throwbacks like CDs, records, classic board games, and collectibles. If you’re a chess player, challenge a friend to a game with the store’s in-house chess set. Or if you’re a piano player, provide your fellow book shoppers with an informal concert on the store’s piano!
You can also check out the store’s calendar for events such as storytimes and book signings.
Located on the vibrant Kercheval Avenue in Grosse Pointe Park, Coreander’s Bookshoppe is a breathtaking store that is sure to WOW kids and adults alike. With walls filled with beautiful murals, a second story that overlooks the main floor, a cute cafe with classic black and white tiles, and an outdoor back patio, Coreander’s isn’t just a place you shop for kids, it’s a place you shop with kids.
Coreander’s magical aesthetic sets the stage for its impressive selection of children’s and young adult books. Whether you’re trying to find a book for a newborn or a teenager, this store has a book for all the young people in your life.
If you’re looking for a way to spend the day with your kids, add Coreander’s to your itinerary. You can also stop by on Thursdays at 10:30 am for storytime events!
While you’re in the neighborhood, you can also check out Shaw’s Books, located less than a block away from Coreander’s. Walking into this bookstore is like time-traveling into the past, with stacks of rare, collectible books perched all along the narrow bookshelves.
Open primarily by appointment, Shaw’s Books is a buyer and seller of collectible books within a wide range of genres. Shaw’s Books also offers appraisal services, so if you’ve got an old book collecting dust on your shelf, bring it by Shaw’s Books and see what it might be worth! The owner, Hank Zuchowsk, also provides talks on book collecting and appraising.
If you’re a book collectible aficionado or simply a book lover, add Shaw’s Books to your list!
Matt Homrich-Knieling is a freelance and creative writer living in Southwest Detroit. A former teacher in Detroit, Matt is now a stay-at-home parent. When he’s not changing diapers or writing, Matt enjoys spending time on Belle Isle, gardening, and going on walks or bike rides. Find Matt on Instagram at @mattymarvwrites.
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