How to Find an Indie Bookstore

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

July 9, 2024

Back when I was a blogger, I used to have a beef with the American Bookseller Association. You see, the ABA had a website called Indiebound which was supposed to promote indie bookstores, but in reality only promoted ABA members. Given that AMA membership included museum gift shops and airport bookstore chains like Hudson, the site missed the point by about a mile.

Luckily for you, I just learned of a site which serves the same purpose. There’s this one website which has a comprehensive map of all (well, most) of the indie bookstores in the USA. It’s called I Heart Books:


It doesn’t include chains like Half-Priced Books and it is limited to just the USA, but it still has more indie bookstores than you even knew existed. I have been using it about a month, and I can also tell you that around a third of the bookstores on this map do not show up in a Google Maps search on their own (seriously).

What’s even better is that this site’s map is in map is in Google Maps. Not only can you browse the map to find bookstores, if you visit the site from your phone and open the map in your Google Maps app, every time you use the Google Maps app, you will see icons for all of the indie bookstores on I Heart Books’s custom map.

The next time you take a trip and use Google Maps for directions, you’re going to be able to see all of the indie bookstores on or near your route. You can also use it to plan a trip just to visit bookstores.

I just used this site today to plan a 5 bookstore crawl in Richmond, VA, and it was wonderful. I am also planning to use it on my business trips.

P.S. If you love this site as much as I do, it would be really great if you would make note of which bookstores have closed and need to be removed from the map, and which bookstores aren’t yet on the map. Send your corrections to [email protected] so that the map can be updated.




Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

My blog has everything you need to know about websites and online services. Don’t see what you need. or want personalized help? Reach out.

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