Austin is, without a doubt, the cultural heart of Texas; and one of the city’s biggest perks is its vibrant literary scene. Nowadays, online shopping has redefined the book buying experience. However, there are amazing bookstores in Austin that make going out and browsing books in-person an activity you don’t want to miss. With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of our favorite Austin bookshops.
Austin’s top bookstores for new, used, and comic books
BookPeople is, simply put, the biggest independent bookstore in Texas. With its extensive collection of books, countless author events, and numerous community initiatives geared at adults and kids alike, it’s safe to say that BookPeople is in a league of its own. It comes as no surprise that the bookshop has been voted the best bookstore in Austin for 15 years running. While you’re there, check out the BookPeople Café, which serves an assortment of hot beverages, sodas, subs, and desserts.
When: 9am – 11pm
Where: 603 N Lamar Blvd
Half-Price Books is a staple in many states, and Texas is one of them. The chain started in Dallas and quickly spread across the nation, with locations spanning 17 states. Half-Price Books is true to its name. You’ll find a wide array of used books and music for only a fraction of their original price. You can also sell books you no longer want for store credit or cash.
When: Mon – Sat, 9am – 10pm; Sun, 10am – 9pm
Where: 2929 S Lamar Blvd
Monkeywrench Books employs a novel approach to running a bookstore: operations are handled entirely by a force of community-minded volunteers. The bookstore serves many purposes and selling books is just one of them. It’s also a social space devoted to learning and culture. Monkeywrench hosts events such as the Mutual Aid Discussion and Workshop focused on creating a world without the need for capital, and the Anarchist Study Group.
When: Mon – Fri, noon – 6pm
Where: 110 N Loop Blvd E
BookWoman is a specialty shop centered on books by and about women. A feminist haven, BookWoman is due to celebrate 40 years of faithful service to the community. You can always expect excellence from their roster of events, which include monthly editions of a poetry open mic, book readings and signings, and series of talks given by renowned professionals in a wide range of subjects.
When: Mon – Sat, 10am – 8pm; Sun, noon – 6pm
Where: 5501 N Lamar Blvd
Brave New Books provides an original take on your idea of a bookstore. The bookshop is as much a store as it is a safe space to discuss controversial issues, such as conspiracy, libertarianism, and other hot-button topics. Whether you come to browse their selection of books or join in on their annual mini conferences, you’re bound to have a good time.
When: Open every day
Where: 1904 Guadalupe St
Malvern Books is another shining example of the special Austin blend of social space and bookstore. This bookstore puts a premium on a community feel, always aiming to bring people together to promote open dialog. Their literary focus is visionary literary and poetry written by emerging writers and put out by indie publishers.
When: Mon – Thu, 10am – 8pm; Fri and Sat, 10am – 9pm; Sun, noon – 6pm
Where: 613 W 29th St
An initiative spearheaded by the Austin Public Library, Recycled Reads is a non-profit used bookstore. Their inventory is comprised of books discarded by the library as well as public donations. In addition to selling books, Recycled Reads hosts a great number of events. Upcoming highlights include Puppet Happy Hour, Timed Writing, and Open Mic Poetry.
When: Thu, 12pm – 8pm; Fri – Sun, 12pm – 6pm
Where: 5335 Burnet Rd
South Congress Books is a small shop that specializes in vintage books including children’s books, a self-dubbed “quirkiana” genre, as well as a special selection of first editions. In addition to their books, they also appeal to art and music lovers with their inventory of original music posters, music, and a few choice artworks. On August 21, South Congress books will host a fifth-anniversary sale.
When: Sun – Thu, 11am – 7pm; Fri and Sat, 11am – 8pm
Where: 1608 S Congress Ave
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a used bookstore that also acts as a lightning rod for social activism or a quiet atmosphere to find niche reads, Austin’s abundance of incredible bookstores is sure to have you covered.