Queen City bookworms, rejoice! We have some of the best independent bookstores in the country, right here in Greater Cincinnati. Whether you’re addicted to romance novels, love science fiction, dig history tomes, or can’t get enough spy thrillers, our local bookstores have everything you’re looking for—and plenty new to discover, too. Here are just five local literary gems for you to check out.
2692 Madison Road (Norwood)
An anchor of Rookwood Pavilion and staple for local readers, Joseph Beth is a favorite Cincinnati bookstore. They’re open seven days a week, and they also offer online ordering and curbside pickup. Aside from books and a magazine collection that can't be beat, they carry a fun selection of Ohio-centric gifts. They also host virtual author events, and their Bronte Bistro is one of the best places to eat in town. Dropping by to pick up a bag of new releases and carryout for dinner? Yes, please!
306 Greenup Street (Covington)
We absolutely adore Covington’s Roebling Point Books & Coffee. Nestled in the shadow of the Roebling Suspension Bridge, just over the river in Northern Kentucky, Roebling Point offers books for all tastes and coffee for all palates. This cozy, hip shop reminds us of bookstores in places like Brooklyn. They’re open daily and also have outdoor seating—when the weather is good, it’s perfect for sipping a delicious coffee or tea and reading a great book.
4139 Apple Street (Northside)
Downbound Books is one of Cincinnati’s newest independent bookstores, having opened in late 2019 in Northside. While their storefront is currently closed, they are doing curbside pickup and shipping books with contactless delivery. They have an eclectic selection, with an emphasis on under-the-radar titles and new discoveries. This shop is a welcome addition to the Queen City literary landscape.
1405 Vine Street (Over-the-Rhine)
Our historic OTR neighborhood is home to Cincinnati’s only Black-owned bookstore, Smith & Hannon. Retired educator Joyce Smith opened the shop in 2003 in Bond Hill, and moved to OTR in 2019. They’re open Tuesday through Sunday and carry an array of books, with a specialty in titles by black authors. They host storytelling events and book signings. You can also shop their selection online.
7754 Camargo Road (Madeira)
The Bookshelf has been operating in the heart of Madeira since 1975—an impressive feat for an independent bookstore. It’s an East Side staple that’s open daily for your book fix. They have an impressive selection, including a can’t-be-beat children’s section. You can also shop them online.
Oh and, if you love scouring stacks for used books, don’t forget the classic Ohio Bookstore (a five-story bookshop located Downtown at 726 Main Street) and Duttenhofer’s (a shop with over 30 years of bookselling expertise located at 214 West McMillan Street near UC).