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12 Indie Bookstores You’ll Never Want to Leave

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Bookworms and bibliophiles have their pick of cozy, eclectic South Carolina bookstores. Whether you're a collector, an avid reader or just love the sweet smell of aging printed pages, chances are you're not too far from an independent purveyor of books. Typically, such shops are quaint spaces with inviting nooks, shelves of new and used books, and sometimes the aroma of brewed coffee emanating from a back-room java bar. Got a morning or afternoon to spare? Here's a dozen of fascinating bookstores to immerse yourself in.

Blue Bicycle, Charleston

This Charleston bookstore is an institution among the city's literati and book-loving public, playing host to more than 200 author events annually. Don't let the narrow storefront fool you - this is a substantial shop where rooms of books align like a literary locomotive. Rooted in the used bookstore tradition, Blue Bicycle carries classics, tons of paperback fiction, a comprehensive collection of military history and signed firsts from the likes of Harper Lee, Margaret Mitchell and other giants. New volumes abound, as well, with children's books and cookbooks well represented.

Books on Broad, Camden

From the moment you enter this shop and find yourself among an amazing display of old military volumes, you know you're someplace special. Scented with the heady perfume of books and brewed coffee, this shop invites you to spend some serious time perusing collectibles, new titles and used volumes. Grab a cup of joe and a comfy chair. Book browsing doesn't get much better than this.

Burry Bookstore, Hartsville

"Where dreams grow wings" is perhaps the best tagline ever for a bookstore. Burry has been living up to its motto since 1972, serving as a hub for book-buying and community meet-ups of all kinds. Located in the heart of downtown Hartsville, this charming bookstore is filled with comfy seating and a friendly staff ready to help you find the perfect read.

Edisto Island Bookstore, Edisto Island

Edisto Island is one of the most serene places along the South Carolina coast, which makes it the perfect spot for a quiet, welcoming bookstore. Find an interesting local map to treasure or an informative volume that reveals sea island secrets. There's plenty of new and used selections representing a variety of genres and even a resident cat named Emily Grace. This shop is also home to the local book club, which heartily welcomes locals and visitors alike for discussion, local food and "cheap wine."

Ed's Editions, West Columbia

There's a book for every taste and budget at Ed's, headquarters for books of every stripe. Take your time exploring or seek assistance from a knowledgeable staff to find just what you're looking for. Antiquarians, listen up: This shop is also a collector's haunt, where it's not unusual to discover a rare volume. While there are nearly 40,000 books on-site, the bookstore offers online inventory, too.

Fiction Addiction, Greenville

Despite its name, Fiction Addiction caters to readers craving a diversity of genres. There's something here waiting for a home on your personal bookshelf, be it new or used, paperback or hardcover. A robust series of book signings by authors from South Carolina and beyond attract a literary crowd, as do programs for writers and aspiring writers.

Hub City Bookshop, Spartanburg

Hub City is an apt name for this bookshop that is so much more. Sure, you'll find a myriad titles to satisfy your reading itch, but sales and promotions are designed to grow writers and help them establish themselves in the literary community. The bookstore is run by the Hub City Writers Project, a nonprofit that uses proceeds from book sales to fund local writing and publishing programs. But back to books. The shop stocks lots of new titles of all genres, with some used books filling out inventory. There's a coffee bar and bakery in the same building should you need a little sustenance as you while away the hours here.

McIntosh Book Shoppe, Beaufort

Envision the quintessential old-fashioned bookstore, then experience it with a visit to McIntosh. The pleasing fragrance of old books greets you at the door of this delightful shop, where you'll feel you've stepped back in time. Vintage volumes detailing local history, books by some of South Carolina's most storied authors, rare titles, signed first editions and more await you in what was a favorite haunt of the late Southern writer, Pat Conroy.

My Sister's Books, Pawleys Island

True to its name, My Sister's Books was opened in 2002 by two sisters - Fran Clarkson and Bess Long - living in the coastal community of Pawleys Island. Nearly 45,000 titles representing everything from mystery to romance to biographies and more make this bookstore a literary oyster. In the course of your explorations, you'll discover works by local and regional authors and find help tracking down those hard-to-locate titles. Need a recommendation? Let the knowledgeable sisters introduce you to your next favorite author.

Poor Richard's, Easley

Tucked inside the former site of Easley's first public library, Poor Richard's is a historic hot spot for bibliophiles. For three decades, the shop has been filling its shelves with the best in books for adults and children. Don't see what you're looking for? The helpful staff will find it for you and have it to you in a snap.

Storybook Shoppe, Bluffton

If you have little ones in your life, a trip to the Storybook Shoppe is a must. This dedicated children's bookstore looks like a page from a beloved fairy tale. You don't have to be a kid to delight in this whimsical environment. Inside you'll find the finest in children's literature, as well as unique toys and coloring books, shelved among colorful displays and appealing reading nooks. Each volume is handpicked by the owner, with a significant number of award-winning and educator-recommended books from which to choose. If you have a child who doesn't like to read, plan a visit and watch the magic unfold.

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 38 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.