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PLACE: Ohio Book Store / ADDRESS: 726 Main Street (45202) / More than 300,000 books fill five floors at the Ohio Book Store downtown. The basement is home to traditional binding machinery and book repair services, as well. / Image: Phil Armstrong, Cincinnati Refined // Published: 8.1.19

6 Great Local Book Shops You'll Only Find in the Queen City

There’s nothing quite like picking up a new (or old) book. Reading is important; it reduces stress while exercising the brain, which ultimately improves skills like writing and memory retention. In addition to reading, it’s also important to shop local to support the community. So, when you shop at a local bookstore, you're essentially helping both yourself and the community.

Below is a list of six local bookstores where you’ll find new and used titles, cozy corners, children’s events, and, most importantly, people who love sitting down and getting lost in a good book.

Ohio Book Store

ADDRESS: 726 Main Street (45202)

The Ohio Book Store was here before the Blizzard of ‘78 slammed the city, before Ohio native Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and even before World War II, which is all a roundabout way of saying this shop is crazy old. More than 300,000 books fill the five floors of this Downtown book shop, and the basement is still home to traditional binding machinery and book repair services, as well.

The Library Friends' Shop

ADDRESS: 800 Vine Street (45202)

You can find a ton of used books for sale at the Library Friends' Shop inside the Cincinnati Public Library's main branch downtown. And if you’re looking to buy more than just books, it also sells clothing, gifts, and other media-related gifts. It’s been in business for over 60 years, with proceeds helping to fund library programming.

The Library Friends’ Used Bookstore at the Warehouse

ADDRESS: 8456 Vine Street (45216)

Did you know the previously mentioned Library Friends' Shop also has a warehouse that supports the library, too? 'The Warehouse' as it's known sells old library books and donated works for only $3-$4 each, so walking away with a great deal here is pretty much guaranteed. Plus, with up to 20,000 books delivered each week, wandering through the overflowing stacks is a completely new experience every time you stop by.

Cincy Book Bus


Step aside food trucks—there’s a new mobile market in town. The Cincy Book Bus is feeding our minds instead of our stomachs with a curated collection of owner Melanie Moore’s favorite books. She’s personally read about 80% of her new and gently used selection. You can see this adorable 1962 VW in action at pop-ups, coffee shops, and events around town such as the City Flea in Washington Park and Second Sunday on Main in Over-the-Rhine.

Duttenhofer's Books

ADDRESS: 214 W McMillan Street (45219)

The unassuming storefront, tottering shelves, and rare, old books at Duttenhofer’s Books are all a bit Weasley-esque (Harry Potter anyone?) and have made this shop a beloved Cincy staple since 1976. The Clifton store’s assortment of used books spans four centuries and is home to everything from fan-favorites to one-of-a-kind collectible publications that will satisfy all kinds of readers at affordable prices.

Blue Manatee Literacy Project Bookstore

ADDRESS: 3094 Madison Road (45209)

The Blue Manatee Literacy Project is a non-profit bookstore with a mission "to provide every reader with the skills, resources, and inspiration to succeed." They support children's literacy through partnerships with organizations like the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Miami University. They also utilize a “Buy One, Give One” program where the shop donates a book to an at-risk reader for every purchase made in the store or online. Stop by with the kids for in-store events and author visits, and leave feeling good knowing you're giving back to your local community after making a purchase.

There are many other local bookstores we didn't mention here. If your personal favorite shop isn't listed above, let us know which one you enjoy most by emailing

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See what each of these bookstores looks like in the photo gallery above. Don't judge a bookstore by its cover, though; head over and check them out in person, too.