In the age of online mega-corporation booksellers, cities and towns throughout the country are losing their brick-and-mortar bookshops. While it’s certainly convenient to order books with one click, ease of use has come with a great cost to our nation’s communities. The magic of browsing the shelves of a cozy bookstore, curling up with your young child in the kids’ section to read through the morning, and exiting the shop with a tall stack of glossy finds simply cannot be replaced by our smartphone screens.

This year, support the bookstores we’ve chosen for our list of best Middle TN bookshops, and any local bookshop you find and love. Local independent bookstores need your patronage to keep them going, and we need independent bookstores to help keep our region’s authentic spirit alive.


Parnassus Books
3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14 | Nashville

Parnassus Books is a paradise for book lovers of all ages. Stop by to say hello to the store’s dogs, then stay for their remarkably extensive selection of books and diverse authors. Their dedication to offering a tastefully curated collection means that any book your eye lands on will be a gem!

If you don’t see the book you’re searching for, the friendly and knowledgeable staff will happily order it for you. Order online or by telephone if you aren’t able to stop by, and they’ll make sure your book makes its way to you.

Here’s a fun fact: because it is owned by novelist Ann Patchett, Parnassus Books can guarantee that every one of her novels sold here will be signed by the author!


Landmark Booksellers
114 East Main Street | Franklin

Located on Main Street in historic downtown Franklin, Landmark Booksellers is so picturesque that it inspired the Karen Kingsbury book and Hallmark movie The Bridge. A resident of Franklin, Karen Kingsbury said the charm and history of the location made it the perfect setting for her story. Famous visitors to the building itself include Davy Crockett, Andrew Jackson, and Sam Houston.

Landmark Booksellers offers more than 35,000 books, including a curated collection of rare and old books. Their selection of more than 2,000 signed first editions, ephemera, and gifts make this shop the perfect place to shop for a gift for every reader in your life.


Fairytales Bookstore
1108 Woodland St Unit G | Nashville

Fairytales Books may be small, but it is packed full of delightful and inclusive titles for readers of all ages and interests. The kind and knowledgeable staff can guide you to books you’ll love, and your child can explore an array of educational toys and games as well as an extensive selection of children’s books.

Once you have purchased your books, you may want to head over to the ice cream shop that shares the space with Fairytales! Clearly, this is a destination where you could happily spend a couple of hours at a time, complete with refreshments.


Crying Cat Books
504 N Maney Ave | Murfreesboro

Having just opened in 2021, Crying Cat Books is the newest bookstore on our list. They are dedicated to offering eclectic books and records, both new and used, in a warm and welcoming space. Spend a few moments or a few hours browsing graphic novels, manga, fiction, non-fiction, and media of all types. The store also stocks a great selection of gorgeous puzzles, board games, and tarot cards.

Be sure to keep an eye on the store’s calendar to catch events and check out the displays of work by local artists during your visit. If you have items to sell, bring them by!


Rhino Booksellers
4918 Charlotte Avenue | Nashville

Rhino Booksellers is a dreamy, labyrinthine maze of new and used books stacked from floor to ceiling. Any bibliophile will be delighted by their offerings, while the collection of instruments, art and music books, vintage records, and rare titles draws in artists, musicians, filmmakers, and authors as well. Oh, and be sure to say hello to Charlotte, the shop’s cat, while you’re here.


Alkebu-Lan Images
2721 Jefferson St | Nashville

Since 1986, Alkebu-Lan Images has promoted positive Black culture and empowerment of the Black community. Come in to browse their carefully curated selection of Afro-centric books, clothing, jewelry, body oils, incense, and home décor, and stay for the elevating conversations to be had with the staff and patrons alike.


Curious Capybara Bookshop
1050 Glenbrook Way Suite 410 | Hendersonville

Curious Capybara is dedicated to the idea that choosing from a wide selection of books will foster curiosity and a love of reading in children, resulting in thoughtful and educated adults in the next generation. To that end, their books are chosen to represent the ideas, cultures, and appearances that we see in the vast world around us.

In addition to this shop being the ideal destination for children and those who care for them, they use a portion of their profits to support Hendersonville’s community. By partnering with schools, libraries, and nonprofits, Curious Capybara works hard to promote the love of reading within the shop and throughout the whole town!


Defunct Books
1108 Woodland St #A | Nashville

Despite its small footprint, Defunct houses an excellent selection of books both in the store and in storage. The attentive, knowledgeable staff will help you find a title, and if they don’t have it, they’ll work to help you find it elsewhere. While they have books in a wide range of genres, they focus on rare books, local history, music books, philosophy, architecture, classic literature, graphic novels, science, and collectible children’s books.


Duck River Books
12 Public Square | Columbia

Located on a hill overlooking Duck River, this aptly named, charming bookshop offers a mix of new and gently used titles, cozy leather couches and chairs, and a delightful children’s book section. If you don’t see the book you’re seeking, ask the owners to order it. They’ll have it for you in three days or less almost all of the time! While you’re here, browse their gift items, including shirts and bookmarks.


Novelette Booksellers
1101 Chapel Avenue | Nashville

This upbeat, fun bookstore’s selection includes inclusive titles by a diverse range of authors, including an extensive graphic novel section. They stock new (never used) books of fiction, fantasy, romance, YA, middle reader, and occult genres. The store’s beautiful murals are excellent photo backgrounds, so stop by for both the books and the selfies!


The Takeaway

Denizens of Middle TN, which local indie bookstore is your favorite? Did it make our list? Leave us a comment below and tell us which new shop you’ll be headed to. Happy reading!

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