A Bookstore Tour – Local Indies in Indy

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The number of local bookshops is growing in Indianapolis. In fact, local shop owners of Tomorrow Books organized the first-ever Indy Indie Book Crawl that just took this spring. Over the course of these four days, people were encouraged to visit up to, if not all, of the 23 participating local bookshops located within a 45-minute drive of the city.

I consider myself a professional bookworm (both in my personal and work life), and even I didn’t know all of these bookshops existed. I was beyond excited to participate in this inaugural event. I visited 14 of the 23 bookshops over the course of three days. I went to some with my husband, some by myself, and some with a couple of great book club friends. I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite shops as well as going to a few new places. Here are some of my favorite stops, but at the bottom, I’m including the entire list of indie bookstores in Indy.

Loudmouth Books

Loudmouth Books is located at 212 E. 16th St. Indianapolis, IN @loudmouthindy

I don’t like to choose favorites, but Loudmouth Books lives at the top of my list. It’s owned by local author Leah Johnson and is Indy’s first ever “banned” bookstore. Leah is the author of several young adult novels and, most recently, a middle-grade novel, Ellie Engle Saves Herself. Loudmouth opened in 2023 and packs their shelves with books that have been banned or challenged and that highlight marginalized voices. The space is bright, colorful, and features a lovely section for children called Camp Loudmouth. They host author events and book clubs and have their own merch for purchase as well. 

Pen & Pink Vintage

Pen & Pink Vintage – located at 2435 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, IN. @penandpinkvintage

The next bookshop on my list was a new discovery for me. Before the book crawl, I had never heard of Pen & Pink Vintage, but I looked them up on Instagram and knew I needed to add them to my list of stops. Located in Garfield, this shop features classics, vintage books, handmade journals, and sketchbooks. The shop owner hand-makes these notebooks from books and other media that are too damaged to salvage for sale. They are truly unique, and there are so many designs to choose from. You’ll also find two adorable shop cats, Beans and Scrapper. 

Indy Reads

Indy Reads – located at 1066 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. @indyreadsorg

Located in Fountain Square is a bookshop with a mission, Indy Reads. Their mission is literacy for all and provides literacy classes, English language classes, job readiness and skills for the workforce as well as high school equivalency diplomas. The bookshop features new and used books as well as a section called “Pay what you Can.” They also have merch, feature banned books, and host tons of fun events for all ages. They have author readings/signings, game nights, drag story hour, and more! Learn more about this incredible organization here.

Golden Hour Books

Golden Hour Books – located at 5208 N College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. @goldenhourbooksindy

Another new shop to the Indy book scene is Golden Hour Books in midtown Indianapolis. I stumbled upon this bookshop completely by accident, and they happened to have their soft opening when I visited it for the first time. Their selection is honestly everything I want in an independent bookshop. The selection on their shelves is highly curated, and there is so much to discover. While they carry commercial titles you expect to see in a bookstore, this is not the main draw. I go here to find what I’ve never seen before. I’m sorry, but an algorithm at a certain humungous e-commerce website ain’t got nothin’ on Golden Hour. Highly recommend checking them out!

Black Dog Books

Black Dog Books – located at 115 S. Main Street, Zionsville, IN. @blackdogbooks

Next up is Black Dog Books, which is located in Zionsville. This is not your average bookshop, and you’re not going to find your booktok favorites here. This shop specializes in used and rare books. My favorite things about visiting are the children’s section, the quaint and cozy front porch, and the loveable black lab pup. Even if you aren’t into rare or collectible editions, it’s worth a visit just to browse the shelves and flip through the maps or Indiana interest section. And you can’t leave without your own black lab stuffie!

MacArthur Books

MacArthur Books – located at 2169 Glebe Street #100A, Carmel, IN. @macarthurbooks

Staying on Indy’s northside but moving over to Carmel is MacArthur Books in West Clay. This shop has grown inside since it first opened and remains one of my favorite northside bookshops. The book selection is fantastic, but what they also do well is GIFTS! They have a room dedicated to children’s books and a little play space. They host author events and book clubs throughout each month. You’ve been warned, though, that this bookshop will give your wallet quite the workout (in the best way, of course)!

Tomorrow Books

Tomorrow Books – located at 882 Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. @tomorrowbookstore

Last but certainly not least is Tomorrow Books, which is located on Mass Ave. This lovely shop features books for all ages and focuses on global stories and the human experience. They host author events and book clubs and even have live music from time to time. You’ll often find a book swap table in front of the shop where you can “take a book, leave a book” at no cost. Owners Julia and Jake are the ones that spearheaded the idea of the Indy Indie Book Crawl and turned it into a reality; and my goodness am I glad they did!

We are so lucky to live in a city and surrounding area with a thriving community that loves and celebrates literature. But even if you can’t visit an indie shop in person, you can still support them through bookshop.org (an online bookstore storefront) and libro.fm (an audiobook subscription alternative to Audible). Have you been to any of these bookshops?

Happy shopping and happy reading!

Don’t miss out on these other Indy area bookshops:

  • 4 Kids Books & Toys (4450 Weston Pointe Dr. #120, Zionsville, IN 46077)
  • Basile History Market at the Indiana Historical Society (450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202)
  • Between the Pages (2350 N. Lebanon St., Lebanon, IN 46052)
  • Black Worldschoolers (mobile — location TBA)
  • Curious Squirrel Bookshop (120 S. Main St., Zionsville, IN 46077)
  • Dear Mom (2121 E. 10th St., Indianapolis, IN 46201)
  • Dream Palace Books & Coffee (111 E. 16th St. STE 101, Indianapolis, IN 46202)
  • Fables & Fairy Tales (38 N. Main St., Martinsville, IN 46151)
  • Irvington Vinyl & Books (202 S. Audubon Rd., Indianapolis, IN 4621)
  • Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore (5619 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, IN 46208)
  • Kurt Vonnegut Museum & Library (543 Indiana Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46202)
  • Red Dog Books (1001 N. State Rd. 135 d2, Greenwood, IN 46142)
  • Three Sisters Books & Gifts (7 Public Sq., Shelbyville, IN 46176)
  • Turn the Page (149 N. Walnut St., Westfield, IN 46074)
  • Ujamaa Community Bookstore (2424 Doctor M.L.K. Jr. St., Indianapolis, IN 46208)
  • Viewpoint Books (548 Washington St., Columbus, IN 47201)
  • Wild Geese Bookshop (40 E. Madison St., Franklin, IN 46131)
  • *COMING SOON: The Whispering Shelf (414 N. College Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46202)

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