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Updated on Apr 27, 2019. Posted on Nov 22, 2017

22 Reasons We're Thankful For Independent Bookstores

All the more reason to support them on Small Business Saturday!

We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what they love about their local independent bookstores.

Below are some of our favorite examples of how independent bookstores are so much more than stores — how they're community centers, cultural hubs, and home away from home.

1. They support local artists.

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"Recycled Books in Denton, Texas is an old, converted opera house that's been painted pink! It encompasses the weird, chill, independent vibe that Denton has. Besides having an amazing selection of used books, records, and movies, they also highlight local artists. The building has so many nooks and crannies, it's like a maze you love getting lost in!" —m4a24707a7

2. Their staff are more than happy to talk literature with you.

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"The store that I used to go to growing up (The Raven in Lawrence, KS) was great because it was small so I never got overwhelmed, staffed by friendly people who genuinely loved and knew about literature, and also they had sweet cats that were always up for a good head scratch. I don't live there anymore unfortunately, but it was a great place!" —fredzesty

3. Their inventories have a way of getting (pleasantly) overwhelming.

4. They aren't afraid to get political.

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"WORD Bookstore in Jersey City doesn't shy away from the political climate — they embrace it and help us get through it." —amandar4be2efc7a

5. They organize book clubs that will both entertain and challenge.

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"I’ve lived in New York and London but nothing compares to my hometown bookstore, Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord New Hampshire. They are incredibly well stocked for a small town bookstore, and the staff is always friendly and curious about what you’re reading. I’m also part of their book club. It is wonderful and more academically challenging than other book clubs I’ve been a part of. Here's a picture of their map section, and it’s worth noting all of those drawers are full of maps. How could you not love such a place?" —jos411de08d2

6. They foster and encourage imagination.

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"Dark Star Books and Comics in my hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio. You can find new and used books, buy and sell books, pet the resident cat, look for anime books. You can find Dungeons & Dragons dice and figurines, coffee mugs and bookmarks. You can pick a book to read on a comfy couch or chair and totally lose yourself in the pages of imagination!" —lajaaaam

7. You can feel the history within the pages of their used and antique books.

8. They're invested in giving their customers the best possible shopping experience.

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"Bart's Books in Ojai, CA, uses the honor system when it's closed. It's outdoors so that no matter what time of day it is, people can still enjoy the feel and thrill of buying a book while enjoying the outdoors, and I think that's so special." —ashkeithsmom

9. Sometimes it's more than a shopping experience — it's a genuine life experience.

10. They cater to their communities.

11. They can offer extensive insight into that community's history.

12. And they often give back.

"Our local bookstore is non-profit and supports free literacy programs — ESL, tutoring for children and adults, GED prep and more. Not only can I find great, rare books cheap, I know that the money I spend there helps others in the community." —stephaniev23

13. They're resilient.

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"My local new and used bookstore suffered a pretty intense fire last year. For an industry already experiencing trying times, we all kind of thought that would be the end of the Book Nook in Monroe, MI. Instead, they repaired and rebuilt, with grace, humor, and just the right amount of sass to get the job done. 308 days of closure but free at last!" —mollyb4d45beb25

14. Honestly, the bookseller/customer relationship can be a truly beautiful thing.

15. Sometimes a life-changing one.

"My local indie store has definitely changed my life. I started attending book signings there when I was in the darkest period of my life with my depression. The local authors and writers from my community have been so unbelievably kind to me and have even helped me with my own writing. I feel like I actually have a place in my writing community now. I’ve forged so many relationships that have helped me grow as a writer and as a person, and I have several dear friendships that began at this bookstore. Every time I walk in, the staff always recognizes me and asks me how I’m doing. If it weren’t for this place, I don’t think I’d be pursuing my dream of becoming an author." —hquinn31

16. They make it easy to spend hours and hours there.

17. They host exciting events — sometimes even live music.

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"Taylor Books in Charleston, WV, is a beloved city treasure. It has a local art gallery in one section, a bookstore in the middle section, and a cafe in the third section that hosts local musical acts. The lady that owns it is from England and lives above the bookstore. On the roof she has pet chickens and she sells the fresh eggs in the cafe." —annalee10

18. They can function as meet-ups for people with shared interests.

19. They connect readers with their favorite authors, both the locals and the big-names.

20. The cats!!!

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"Horton's Books & Gifts is the oldest bookstore in the state of Georgia. It was established in 1892, and they still have the original cash register! The best part is they have three cats: Dante, Mayah (pictured,) and Poe to help guest pick out books." —katieb435e59368

21. And they reward loyal patrons.

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"I adore ours: Adventures Unlimited in Cottonwood, AZ. Such a cool place, with bestsellers alongside amazing obscure treasures. They do special orders, and they have a reward program with a card you get stamped for every $10 you spend — get ten stamps and get ten bucks off your next purchase with no minimum. The people there are awesome and if you're a regular, like my daughter and me, they go way above and beyond for you." —Desiree Valenzuela

22. Sometimes, they're simply a home away from home.

Don't see your favorite bookshop on this list? Check out Indiebound to see if they're offering any special Small Business Saturday events.

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