The latest update for this article 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 as much as you.

Montclair Book Center

independent bookstores

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, MBC allows interested customers to sell or trade books as well. And with an expansive vinyl section, who could ask for more?
Why I like it: New to the store is a used DVD section, with titles on sale for $2.99 and up.
More Info: or call 973-783-3630


Best Independent Bookstores in NJ

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: or call 201-763-6611

Books and Greetings

Photo courtesy Facebook/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: If you can’t make it into the store in person, you can still support Books and Greetings by purchasing from them online.
More Info: or call 201-784-2665

Bogart’s Bookstore and Cafe

independent bookstores

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 many more events sure to keep any book lover happy and entertained. Head to Bogart’s today to get in on the fun!
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 or call 856-327-3714

Watchung Booksellers

independent bookstores

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, which includes book groups, children’s programs, author events and special writing programs. To make your experience even better, Watchung Booksellers is now connected to Tiny Elephant Café.
Why I like it: Mommy & Me Storytime happens every Wednesday at 10:30 am and lets the littlest budding readers have some fun with storytime.
More Info: or call 973-744-7177

Labyrinth Books

independent bookstores

Location: 122 Nassau Street, Princeton
Details: Labyrinth Books serve a double purpose as a fully-stocked shop with tons of 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: or call 609-497-1600

The Bookworm

independent bookstores

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: The store offers free gift wrapping…even more incentive to buy your holiday gifts here!
More Info: or call 908-766-4599

The Town Book Store

Best Independent Bookstores in NJ

Location: 270 East Broad Street, Westfield
Details: Open since 1934, The Town Book Store prides itself on not only its quality book selection, but on the friendly service that customers receive from their staff. Visitors are welcome to join The Town Bookstore for author events and will 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: or call 908-233-3535


Independent Bookstores in NJ

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. Upcoming guests include Jackie Chan and Rush vocalist Geddy Lee. 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: or call 201-445-0726


independent bookstores

Location: 17 Main Street, Manasquan
Details: BookTowne is where “good friends meet good books!” Since 2007, owner Rita Maggio has combined her love of books with a desire to bring people together at her downtown bookstore. Preschool storytime, author signings and other events draw customers to the store, but they come back for the friendly service and welcoming experience.
Why I like it: Join the Book Tide subscription service and get staff-recommended paperbacks delivered to your door each month.
More Info: or call 732-722-7255


independent bookstores

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 on a chilly winter morning.
More Info: or call 973-763-9500

Sun Rose Words & Music

independent bookstores

Location: 756 Ashbury 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. Music is always playing and the service is always friendly. 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: or call 609-399-9190

Looking for more locally-owned stores in the Garden State? Click here to find The Best Independent Stores in New Jersey.

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