The 9 Best Bookstores in Missouri!

There’s no better way to spend a free afternoon than browsing through the stacks of a bookstore. While the big chains do have their appeal, it’s the treasures you can find in an independent bookstore that makes them worth finding and exploring. From uncovering those small-press editions of your favorite classics, to picking up a unique gem you won’t find anywhere else, these 9 great bookstores in Missouri will help you find what you’re looking for. 

1. Subterranean Books, St. Louis, MO

For almost 20 years, Subterranean Books has been offering a variety of best sellers, cult classics, and small press editions. Always new, never used, these books are chosen by a small and knowledgeable staff of avid readers, who are always ready to accept a challenge and find that half-remembered title from some long-ago book review.

2. Prospero’s Bookstore, Kansas City, MO

Located in old downtown Kansas City, Prospero’s Bookstore is exactly what you would imagine of bookstore named after Shakespeare’s mad sorcerer: Three levels of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, crammed with volumes of history, literature, art, architecture, mythology, and esoterica. Great for browsing.

3. Yellow Dog Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Yellow Dog is a mom-and-pop bookstore, enriching this university town with author events, poetry readings, and children’s story time. The only independent bookshop in town, it aims to get real books into the hands of students and townies alike. Well worth the visit.

4. ABC Books, Springfield, MO

Established in 1989, and located on a strip of the original Route 66, ABC Books carries over 100,000 volumes of genre fiction, literature, theology, and history. With a friendly and knowledgeable staff, ABC Books is the perfect place to browse on a Saturday afternoon. The store also offers textbook rental—a real plus in a city with so many colleges and universities.

5. The Book Rack, Cape Girardeau, MO

The Book Rack, Cape Girardeau’s locally owned, independent bookstore, has thousands of new and used titles—everything from high literature to Japanese manga, most in the $5 to $10 range. A small staff, up on the latest best sellers as well as the classics, makes The Book Rack a great place to find that perfect book.

6. Hooked on Books, Springfield, MO

Hooked on Books is warm, clean, and well-stocked little bookstore in Springfield, Missouri. In a town that has more than its per capita share of independent bookstores, Hooked on Books stands out as the best place to get both new titles and hard to find ones. It has a high quality and well-chosen representation of almost every genre you might be searching for.

7. River Reader Bookstore, Lexington, MO

Lexington, Missouri, is the site of an important Civil War battle, and that’s one of the pieces of the town’s character that defines River Reader. It specializes in history books, both in-demand titles and the rare and unusual, in addition to the thousands of other books it carries. It also features a coffee shop, live music several days a week, and locally made gifts and crafts. 

8. Calvin’s Used Books, Branson, MO

Some of the best independent bookstores feel like you’ve stumbled into someone’s attic, and Calvin’s is one of those. Amid the glitz and bright lights of Branson, Calvin’s is a quiet oasis to spend an afternoon in. It’s is dim and dusty, with books overflowing the shelves and stacked up against the walls, and you might even see the store’s cat stalking between the stacks. 

9. Rose’s Bookhouse, O’Fallon, MO

On the outside, Rose’s looks like a tiny little barn, but the quaint red exterior leads to an expansive and well-organized interior that houses over a million books. Rose’s has been around for almost 40 years, and even sitting on the outskirts of St. Louis, it has become a destination for those who are serious about books, especially used and rare books. It’s one of the most important independent destinations in the Midwest for new authors giving signings.

Select a Missouri town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Find Bookstores Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Select your town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you:

Adair County

Andrew County

Atchison County

Audrain County

Barry County

Barton County

Bates County

Benton County

Bollinger County

Boone County

Buchanan County

Butler County

Caldwell County

Callaway County

Camden County

Cape Girardeau County

Carroll County

Carter County

Cass County

Cedar County

Chariton County

Christian County

Clark County

Clay County

Clinton County

Cole County

Cooper County

Crawford County

Dade County

Dallas County

Daviess County

Dekalb County

Dent County

Douglas County

Dunklin County

Franklin County

Gasconade County

Gentry County

Greene County

Grundy County

Harrison County

Henry County

Hickory County

Holt County

Howard County

Howell County

Iron County

Jackson County

Jasper County

Jefferson County

Johnson County

Knox County

Laclede County

Lafayette County

Lawrence County

Lewis County

Lincoln County

Linn County

Livingston County

Macon County

Madison County

Maries County

Marion County

Mcdonald County

Mercer County

Miller County

Mississippi County

Moniteau County

Monroe County

Montgomery County

Morgan County

New Madrid County

Newton County

Nodaway County

Oregon County

Osage County

Ozark County

Pemiscot County

Perry County

Pettis County

Phelps County

Pike County

Platte County

Polk County

Pulaski County

Putnam County

Ralls County

Randolph County

Ray County

Reynolds County

Ripley County

Saint Charles County

Saint Clair County

Saint Francois County

Saint Louis County

Saint Louis City County

Sainte Genevieve County

Saline County

Schuyler County

Scotland County

Scott County

Shannon County

Shelby County

Stoddard County

Stone County

Sullivan County

Taney County

Texas County

Vernon County

Warren County

Washington County

Wayne County

Webster County

Worth County

Wright County