Pittsburgh is home to over a dozen independent booksellers
“Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” – local bookstores
While many of the big booksellers have disappeared, there has been a small but mighty resurgence of local bookshops in the Pittsburgh area. There are over a dozen independent booksellers located in and around the city of Pittsburgh. Some are old favorites, but there are a few brand new ones, like Riverstone Books and the City of Asylum Bookstore, that just opened their doors in the past two years.
We’ve organized this list by neighborhood. Whether you live in the city or just outside, there is almost certainly an independent bookstore nearby!
You can follow our Twitter list of independent bookstores in Pittsburgh here.
Spark Books // Aspinwall
Opened: October 2018
Spark Books sells books for kids to young adult.
SHOP: you can shop Spark Books online.
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White Whale Bookstore // Bloomfield
Opened: Was East End Book Exchange, new owners renamed the shop in 2016.
White Whale Books is located on Liberty Avenue in the heart of Bloomfield. This bookshop is within walking distance of several coffee shops and is the perfect spot to browse for new books.
SHOP: you can shop White Whale Bookstore online two ways:
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The Big Idea Bookstore // Bloomfield
New & Used Books
The Big Idea Bookstore website refers to itself as “Pittsburgh’s antiprofit bookstore and cafe.” The Big Idea is Pittsburgh’s anarchist collective and sells both new and used books, magazines, notebooks, and other gifts. The bookstore is also home to a small coffee shop that has free wifi.
SHOP: The Big Idea does not offer online orders. Check their Facebook page for updates.
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Beyond Bedtime Books // Dormont
Opened: March 2010
Located in the heart of the Dormont business district, Beyond Bedtime Books sells mostly used books but also carries some new books. Hours are limited to midday, so be sure to check to make sure they are open before you go.
SHOP: You can shop Beyond Bedtime Books via their eBay store. Beyond Bedtime Books is also offering free local delivery. Call or email (email@example.com) – if they have the book your are looking for, they will deliver to you.
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Amazing Books & Records // Downtown & Sq. Hill
Opened: ~2013, the current owner purchased the Awesome Bookshop that was located on Penn Ave. Amazing Books & Records opened their second Pittsburgh location on Murray Ave in 2014.
This bookstore sells both books and records and has locations in Downtown and Squirrel Hill. You can read more about how the owner, Erick Ackland, moved to Pittsburgh and became a bookseller in this 2017 Post-Gazette article.
Tip: Both Amazing Books locations are closed on Saturdays
SHOP: You can shop Amazing Books in a couple of ways. The store is currently offering a deal where you can buy a bundle of four books for $30. You can also shop Amazing Books on AbeBooks, Amazon or Alibris.
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We ship books every day, Mon-Fri, and we have an incredible $20 subscription service, designed to keep you reading Amazing Books at Amazing Prices, and to keep our stores alive and kicking through these daunting days. I wish you only blessings and miracles in these trying times. Eric Ackland, Boss Bookmonger, AB&R https://bit.ly/2QJrlI9
Riverstone Books // McCandless
Riverstone Books is located in the North Hills, just up the road from Ross Park Mall. The bookstore carries a wide range of books for kids and adults and hosts a number of events in their shop.
SHOP: In addition to books, Riverstone has puzzles and gifts for sale. You can shop Riverstone Books online here or call the store to place an order.
- Online ordering
- Order by phone
- Riverstone is offering deliver & curbside pick-up.
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City of Asylum Books // North Side
The City of Asylum Bookstore is located in the Alphabet City building. The bookstore is a project of the Pittsburgh nonprofit, City of Asylum, that provides a residency program for writers who have been exiled from their home countries. The bookshop shares an event space with the Brugge on North restaurant and hosts many author events as well as other programming from the nonprofit.
SHOP: You can shop City of Asylum Bookstore online and books will be shipped to you.
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City Books // North Side
New & Used Books
Opened: City Books was located on Carson Street in the South Side neighborhood. In 2016, the new owner purchased the inventory and moved the shop to the North Side.
City Books claims to be Pittsburgh’s oldest bookstore. If you are interested in learning more about local authors, check out the TV show, Shelf Life, hosted by City Books owner Arlan Hess on PCTV21 or also on YouTube.
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Caliban Book Shop // Oakland
The Caliban Book Shop is arguably the largest used bookseller in the Pittsburgh area. In addition to the bookshop on Craig Street in Oakland, Caliban also has a warehouse in Wilkinsburg.
SHOP: Caliban Books does not have online shopping. You can call or email to ask about specific books.
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The Tiny Bookstore // Ross Township
The Tiny Bookstore sells both new and used books as well as gifts.
SHOP: You can shop the Tiny Bookstore online and use their free curbside pick up.
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Classic Lines // Squirrel Hill
Classic Lines sells both used and new books as well as some cards and gift items.
SHOP: Classic Lines is sharing books on their Facebook page. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase a book. They offer free delivery within 5 miles of the shop.
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Penguin Bookshop // Sewickley
The Penguin Bookshop probably owns the title of Pittsburgh’s oldest continually operating bookstore. Located in Sewickley, about a 15-20 min drive from downtown, this bookstore sells new fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. Penguin Bookshop frequently hosts author events and workshops for writers.
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Mystery Lovers Bookshop // Oakmont
Mystery Lovers Bookshop is an independent bookshop that specializes in mystery books and also holds author events for local and national authors.
SHOP: You can shop from the Mystery Lovers Bookshop website. They are offering free delivery within 5 miles of the shop in Oakmont.
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~ no longer open ~
Sad to see you go.
Rickert & Beagle Books // Dormont
Opened: Was Eljay’s Books on Carson Street in 2010. Eljay retired in 2013, and the name was officially changed in 2014. The shop closed in September 2019.
Ricker and Beagle Books specialized in used Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror books.
More resources for Pittsburgh Readers
- Looking for more bookstores? Check out our guide to the secret bookstores of Pittsburgh
- Littsburgh is a website dedicated to literary Pittsburgh
- Take a listen to Ep. 23 of our podcast, Kris Collins recommends some local authors and book stores.