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The Best Independent Bookstores in NJ

The latest update for The Best Independent Bookstores in NJ is written by Lindsay Podolak.

Every avid reader knows the struggle: You aimlessly click through links, reading reviews. You check the bestsellers list. But how can you really find your next great read online? Easy — you don’t. Instead, head to your local bookstore.

There’s no better place to get recommendations, attend author events and speak to staff who love books just as much as you.

Quick Click Guide: Select an NJ Region below to find a Bookstore in your area.
| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |

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North Jersey Bookstores

image of bookstore front with sign that reads "bookends"


Location: 211 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood
Details: The event calendar at Bookends is packed with enough boldface names to rival that of any national chain’s flagship store. They regularly host guests such as Jessica Simpson, Katherine Schwarzenegger Pratt, and Hillary Clinton. Can’t make it to the signing? Bookends also sells previously signed copies of books. They make for a great gift for the book lover in your life!
Why I like it: Calling all book clubs! If you’re a member of a registered book club, get 20% off your club’s current selection.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Books and Greetings

Location: 271G Livingston Street, Northvale
Details: Books and Greetings offers a huge selection of books to choose from, but the real draw is the amazing book signing events, as B&G lures marquee names including Nicholas Sparks, Whoopi Goldberg, and Andy Cohen. Pro-tip: Purchase your book to be signed in the store; it comes with a ticket and it’s the only way to hold a place on the book-signing line.
Why I like it: They also offer fun events for kids, like their The Cat in the Hat costume event in February or a meeting with the Easter Bunny in April.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Montclair Book Center

Location: 221 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair
Details: Montclair Book Center is your haven for new and used books in Montclair. With more than 10,000 feet of space jam-packed with books, MBC is one of the largest independent bookstores in New Jersey. Even better, they also allow interested customers to sell or trade books as well. And with an expansive vinyl section, who could ask for more?
Why I like it: The store features a used DVD section, with titles on sale for $2.99 and up.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Wachtung Booksellers

Location: 54 Fairfield Street, Montclair
Details: Watchung Booksellers prides itself on providing the literary hub of Montclair with all that book lovers and writers could need. All books are carefully selected based on owner and customer opinion; and there is also a full schedule of events including book groups, children’s programs, author events, and special writing programs.
Why I like it: Children’s storytime happens every Saturday at 10:30 am and lets little budding readers have some fun.
More Info: Visit the website or call 973-744-7177


Location: 123 Newark Avenue, Jersey City
Details: WORD strives to serve the community through offering a wide selection of books from every genre, as well as providing a place to hang out and engage with other book lovers and authors. WORD Café hosts book groups, author events, story times, and many other fun events. Additionally, the fact that it serves delicious Stumptown Roasters coffee and fresh salads, sandwiches, and desserts makes it easy to settle in for a long afternoon!
Why I like it: Check out the Staff Picks section of the website. You’ll get to see what everyone who works at the store is reading and what they recommend.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.


Location: 179 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood
Details: Maplewood’s [words] boasts a robust calendar of author events, having featured bestsellers like Anne Lamott and David Levithan — and even hosted a singalong of “Puff, the Magic Dragon” with Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary. [Words] also has an important social mission, welcoming and employing people with autism in the store.
Why I like it: The store’s Coffee Corner serves up delicious Nespresso drinks; so you can park yourself with a coffee and a book any day of the week.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Central Jersey Bookstores

bookstore front with awning reading "labrynth books"

Booktrader of Hamilton

Location: 2421 Nottingham Way, Hamilton
Details: Bring in your unwanted, good condition books and receive store credit to use towards 50% of your purchase. New books, used books, audiobooks, and gifts are all sold here. Meanwhile, most hardcover books are only $5.
Why I like it: Check the website’s schedule for the book discussion meet-ups on certain Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings. (They even serve refreshments!)
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

The Bookworm

Location: 99 Claremont Road, Bernardsville
Details: The Bookworm is a true local bookstore that hosts events to bring the community together and celebrate books; and that’s in addition to in-store events such as book signings. The Bookworm’s warm and knowledgeable staff will assist you in choosing the right book for you and, if you choose to join their program, Bookworm book club members also benefit from discounts on purchases. Shopping at The Bookworm is the coziest way to support your community today!
Why I like it: They offer free gift wrapping, even more incentive to buy gifts for your favorite bookworm here!
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Here’s the Story…

Location: 1043 Stuyvesant Avenue, Union
Details: Owner Joe Leo has been servicing downtown Union for the past 25 years, one happy customer at a time. Fun events are always happening here, like scavenger hunts, storytime, and kids’ paint and sips. Stop in to purchase a book, DVD, CD, and more, or check out the online store!
Why I like it: Leo works closely with the Union Township school system to make sure he always has the necessary books on hand for students’ reports, papers, and summer reading requirements.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Labyrinth Books

Location: 122 Nassau Street, Princeton
Details: Labyrinth Books serves a double purpose as a fully-stocked shop with many trade fiction titles to choose from; as well as being Princeton University’s go-to spot for all of their course book needs. In addition to their Princeton location, Labyrinth also occupies a 40,000 square-foot warehouse with even more options than those that are available in their retail store. So, if you’re looking to brush up on some of those college reading materials that may have slipped your mind, or if you’re just in the mood for a new read, Labyrinth Books has what you’re looking for.
Why I like it: Purchase a Labyrinth membership for just $15 per year and receive 10% off all your purchases and other members-only perks.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

The Town Book Store

Location: 270 East Broad Street, Westfield
Details: Open since 1934, The Town Book Store prides itself on not only its quality book selection, but also on the friendly service that customers receive from their staff. Visitors are welcome to join The Town Book Store for author events and also have access to staff recommendations, such as “Anne’s Pick of the Month.”
Why I like it: Having trouble finding a particular book? Staff can assist you with out-of-print book searches or special orders at no extra charge.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Jersey Shore Bookstores

bookstore with "hooked on books" posted on roof

The Book Garden

Location: 868 Monmouth Road, Cream Ridge
Details: The Book Garden has a plethora of used books for all areas of interest. Novels, biographies, instructional books, cookbooks, foreign language books…you name it, this store has it! Out of print and rare books, as well as back-issue comic books and magazines can also be found here.
Why I like it: They also sell silk floral arrangements!
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Hooked on Books

Location: 3405 Pacific Avenue, Wildwood
Details: It’s hard to miss the bright orange, retro letters adorning Hooked on Books in downtown Wildwood. While the store is only open during the summer months (May through September), it’s definitely worth a stop if you’re vacationing in the area. New books are always discounted 20% off and check the website to print out other valuable coupons, like “Buy 3 kids books, get the 4th free,” for example.
Why I like it: Hooked on Books also has a large selection of used books for sale.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

LBI Bookswap

Location: 325 Ninth Street, Beach Haven
Details: “Gather, read, swap” is the motto at this summer-only bookstore on Long Beach Island. Used books are discounted 60 to 70%, plus all New York Times adult, teen, and children’s bestsellers are always in stock. David Baldacci and Megyn Kelly have been recent guests at the store for book signings.
Why I like it: Bring in a book to trade and get 25% off a used book or 10% off a new book.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

River Road Books

Location: 759 River Road, Fair Haven
Details: Let the staff help you find just the book you are looking for! Need a pick for a child in your life? From board books to young adult novels, River Road has all the best age-appropriate selections for you. Of course, book signings, storytime for kids, and local author events are all on the calendar.
Why I like it: The store hosts monthly book club meetings if you want to get out and discuss a new book with fellow readers.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Sun Rose Words & Music

Location: 756 Asbury Avenue, Ocean City
Details: Make your way to the bright yellow awning and enter the charming world of Sun Rose Words & Music. This old-fashioned book shop sells books as well as office and art supplies. Current and recent New York Times bestseller hardcovers are always discounted 20% off. Likewise, music is always playing and the service is always friendly. But what if the store doesn’t have your book? No problem – let Sun Rose order it for you at no extra cost.
Why I like it: This is one of the only Jersey shore bookstores that is open year-round. So, you can plan a visit during the off-season, too.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

South Jersey Bookstores

bookstore front featuring books and cafe

Bogart’s Bookstore and Cafe

Location: 103 North High Street, Millville
Details: Bogart’s Bookstore and Cafe is your South Jersey destination for used books. Bogart’s has a vast and diverse selection of quality used books to choose from, as well as a cafe area to relax in as you crack open your newest buy. In addition to the desserts, coffee and lunch dishes available at the cafe. Bogart’s also hosts live music events, book clubs, writing groups, art classes, mahjong, and other events sure to keep any book lover happy.
Why I like it: Books can be expensive…but if you buy them used at Bogart’s the price is 50% off the original cost. That means you’ll get more books for the same amount of money!
More InfoVisit the website or you can give them a call.

The Book Asylum

Location: 26 N. Black Horse Pike, Blackwood
Details: The Book Asylum is for people who are crazy about books! You’ll find a large inventory of used, rare, and out of print books here. Looking for something specific? Fill out an online form and let the helpful staff locate it for you. Finally, you can attend author signings or check out the Writer’s Club on the first Thursday of every month.
Why I like it: You can enjoy a hot beverage from the bookstore’s small coffee shop next door…the perfect accompaniment to your new book!
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Inkwood Books

Location: 31 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield
Details: When the only bookstore in Haddonfield closed, Julie Beddingfield decided to quit her job as an attorney and open Inkwood Books, the “literal” sister store to Julie’s sister’s bookstore in Florida. You’ll find all the hottest books here, plus you can participate in book clubs held at the store monthly. You’ll also find unique cards and gifts here.
Why I like it: Fun events like a combination book release/wine tasting party are always big draws.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Nelson Rare Books

Location: PO Box 571, Haddonfield
Details: This is not a traditional bookstore, but if you are searching for a rare book, manuscript or ephemera, Nelson Rare Books may be able to help. The collection’s focus is on 19th and early 20th century American and English literature. Call the office to set up an appointment or browse the books online. All visits are by appointment only.
Why I like it: You can also sell your rare, used books here.
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Second Time Books

Location: 114 Creek Road, Mount Laurel
Details: What looks to be a quaint red cottage is actually a bookstore home to over 60,000 volumes. Second Time Books specializes in history and science fiction books, but the carry all genres. The store also sells its books on eBay and Amazon; but if you shop at the actual store you receive a 20% discount.
Why I like it: Read the store’s weekly book review blog to find new picks for your reading list.
More Info: Visit the Facebook page or you can give them a call.

Califon Book Shop

Location: 72 Main Street, Califon
Details: Children’s storytimes, adult book discussions, and author signings are all happening at the cozy Califon Book Shop. Find the store’s book picks on the website or stop in to get a personalized suggestion just right for you. Special book orders are always welcome.
Why I like it: The store also sells custom stationery, gifts, puppets, and toys!
More Info: Visit the website or you can give them a call.

Hero (Top) Feature Image: © crazymedia / Dollar Photo Club
Additional Images (in Order) Courtesy:
Bookends Bookstore / Facebook
Labyrinth Books / Facebook
Hooked on Books / Facebook
Bogart’s Bookstore and Cafe / Facebook

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