Reading along the River: A guide to New Orleans independent bookstores

These 12 indie bookstores can help you find your next read and connect you to the greater New Orleans community.

by Domonique Tolliver
August 9, 2022

The unique character of New Orleans stretches into the city’s bookstores. These independent bookstores give readers the chance to learn about the stories of the 504 and stories of others around the world. 

French Quarter

Arcadian Books & Prints

Arcadian Books & Prints gives a look inside the reader’s mind with stacks of books almost touching the ceiling to form a sort of maze within the store. This bookstore offers a plethora of French and international language publications. Arcadian Books & Prints is a hub for readers who are looking to learn more about the city’s French history and culture. 

Arcadian Books & Prints
Getting there
714 Orleans St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Hours
Mon-Sat 10am–5pm
Sun Closed
More Info

Beckham’s BookShop

Pet lovers and those who love to shop second-hand will find a home at Beckham’s Bookshop. Since 1967, Beckham’s has been providing a variety of used and new books, CDs and vintage vinyl. Within the thousands of stories within Beckham’s BookShop, visitors can find topics about architecture, philosophy, cooking and local history and culture along with many other topics.  

Beckham's BookShop
Getting there
228 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Hours
Mon-Sun 10am–4pm
More Info

Faulkner House Books

New Orleans was once home to Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner. Faulkner wrote his first novel Soldiers’ Pay in this home. Nestled behind St. Louis Cathedral, Faulkner House Books provides a community for those interested in Southern literature and poetry. Readers can find a plethora of rare editions and fine literature in this bookstore that’s only two rooms. The coronavirus pandemic changed the landscape of sharing stories for Faulkner House Books as they started a book subscription service to keep the business afloat. 

Faulkner House Books
Getting there
624 Pirate's Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Hours
Mon-Sun 10am–5pm
More Info

Crescent City Books

Looking for rare books? How about maps or prints? Look no further than Crescent City Books. This two-story bookstore has been sharing stories with the New Orleans community since 1992. Crescent City Books specializes in antique and rare books along with prints from the last 500 years. The store holds bins of old maps and prints as well as new local history books. The in-house cat manager, Wesley, also helps to attract the book lovers who are also feline fans. 

Crescent City Books
Getting there
240 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Hours
Mon-Sun 11am–7pm
More Info

Dauphine Street Books 

Dauphine Street Books holds onto the old and the new. Opening as a bookstore in 1994, the Dauphine Street location always had a unique history as the store used to house a barbershop, bicycle store and brothel at one point. Inside, readers can find books of every variety – new and used, local history and fiction and cookbooks or books about the arts. The shop also offers a selection of antique books. The store was recently moved from its 410 Dauphine St. location to 818 Chartres St. in September of 2021. 

Dauphine Street Books
Getting there
818 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Hours
Mon-Tue 12–7pm
Wed Closed
Thu-Sun 12–7pm
More Info

Uptown/Garden District 

Blue Cypress Books

Since 2008, Blue Cypress Books has given readers a place to find affordable high-quality used and new books. This woman-owned bookstore focuses on modern literature, New Orleans writers, foreign language, children’s and young adult titles and science fiction along with many other topics. Blue Cypress gives visitors the options to trade and buy secondhand books with a few guidelines. The bookstore resident cat provides readers great company when making a new book purchase.

Blue Cypress Books
Getting there
8123 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA
Hours
Mon-Fri 10am–6pm
Sat 10am–5pm
Sun 11am–4pm
More Info

Octavia Books

When the bookstore opened in 2000, Octavia Books made it their mission to make local bookstores an essential part of the uptown and greater New Orleans community. Octavia sells readers favorite new releases along with children’s books and classics. The store hosts two book clubs, Octavia Books Book Club and the Octavia Books Science Fiction Book Club and also publishes a bi-monthly newsletter giving a preview of incoming novels and recommendations for a variety of genres and age groups. 

Octavia Books
Getting there
513 Octavia St, New Orleans, LA 70115, USA
Hours
Mon-Sat 10am–6pm
Sun 10am–5pm
More Info

Garden District Book Shop

Have you ever seen a bookstore in a rollerskating rink? Garden District Book Shop is located in this prime spot, named the Rink, surrounded by dozens of local shops and offices. The space was originally built as a roller-skating rink in 1884. The store provides readers with an array of regional new and old titles as well as signed first editions and limited editions. The shop’s inventory ranges from books about design to gardening books along with fiction and nonfiction selections. Garden District Book shop also hosts a book club on the second Wednesday of every month in the store.  

Garden District Book Shop
Getting there
2727 Prytania St Suite 14, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA
Hours
Mon-Fri 7am–6pm
Sat-Sun 8am–5pm
More Info

Marigny 

Baldwin & Co.

Education is at the forefront of Baldwin & Co.’s mission. Named after acclaimed writer and activist James Baldwin, the Black-owned bookstore and coffeehouse holds books about history, travel, fiction, art and children’s literature. Baldwin & Co. hosts Youth Summer Programs to encourage reading for all ages of the New Orleans community. The store also provides the community with a podcasting studio that is rented out by appointment. 

Baldwin & Co.
Getting there
1030 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117, USA
Hours
Mon-Sun 7am–6pm
More Info

Frenchmen Art and Books

Frenchmen Art and Books is a hub for all things books and art. Located along the music scene of Frenchmen street, the store’s late-night hours allow for visitors to browse the store with a drink in hand. The store’s collection of books is accompanied by a curated art collection with local artwork for sale.

Frenchmen Art and Books
Getting there
600 Frenchmen St, New Orleans, LA 70116, USA
Hours
Mon-Wed 12–8pm
Thu 12–10pm
Fri-Sun 12–11:30pm
More Info

Mid-City

Tubby & Coo’s Mid-City Book Shop

Tubby & Coo wants to be a community center for anyone who doesn’t feel supported elsewhere. This queer-owned business has a bigger focus on social justice and the empowerment of every community that feels underrepresented. Tubby & Coo provides a selection focused on science fiction and fantasy, queer, and diverse books. The shop is named after the owner’s grandparents, Tubby & Coo, who grew up in the same neighborhood where the shop is located.

Tubby & Coo's Mid-City Book Shop
Getting there
432 N Anthony St Suite 305C, New Orleans, LA 70119, USA
Hours
Mon Closed
Tue-Fri 3–7pm
Sat-Sun 10am–6pm
More Info

Tremé/Seventh ward

Community Book Center

Community Book Center was founded in 1983 to be a cultural hub for the city of New Orleans. The center specializes in African-American literature and African-centered art, fabric and jewelry. As the oldest Black-owned bookstore in the city, CBC serves as a gathering place for the Seventh ward community and organizers who seek to address educational and social justice issues. 

Community Book Center
Getting there
2523 Bayou Rd, New Orleans, LA 70119, USA
Hours
Mon Closed
Tue-Sat 10am–6pm
Sun Closed
More Info

Domonique Tolliver is a born and raised New Orleanian that enjoys traveling and yoga. She is currently a student at Loyola New Orleans University and is expected to graduate in 2024. Along with being a leader in her university’s award-winning newspaper, The Maroon, Domonique’s writing has appeared in Gambit Weekly, the NOLA Messenger, and the Society of Professional Journalists. Contact Domonique at [email protected] or @domtollivernews on Twitter.

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