The 10 Best Independent Bookstores in Cincinnati

Laura Williams

A freshly opened book has one of the most delicate fragrances in the world. Each book has its own distinct smell, which an e-reader just cannot duplicate.

A bookshop is the best venue for book lovers to experience the delight of discovering new books. Even better, bookstores give you the chance to come across a wholly unexpected and strange book that you had no idea existed.

Cincinnati, fortunately, has several good bookstores, ranging from small coffee shop bookstores to bigger multi-level establishments.

In this post, we have arranged a list of the top bookstores situated in Cincinnati.

Best Bookstores in Cincinnati Map

Check out the map below to find out the Address of every bookstore we will mention in this post.

Ohio Bookstore

Address:  726 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The Ohio Book Store, a multi-level bookstore Downtown Cincinnati, is first on our list. The bookstore has numerous levels, each with stacks upon stacks of books at every turn. They write in a variety of genres, from science fiction to history and everything in between. Whatever you are looking for, you will be able to locate it here. Even if you are not looking for a specific book, this is a fun location to wander around in and find yourself lost for hours among the endless rows of volumes.

Joseph-Beth Bookseller

Address: 2692 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45208

Next up is Joseph-Beth Booksellers, a massive bookstore on the fringes of Hyde Park‘s Rookwood Shopping Center. This is the type of bookshop where new bestsellers from a wide range of genres can be found. They also have a section that has been solely dedicated to Cincinnati-related literature and memorabilia, a terrific location to seek a gift for someone who enjoys reading about Queen City. The staff is very friendly, pleasant, and helpful, so if you are having difficulties finding a particular book, just ask for assistance.

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Blue Manatee Literacy Project Bookstore

Address: 3094 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45209

The Blue Manatee Literacy Project Bookstore, located in the center of Oakley, is next on our list. This bookstore focuses on children’s books and independent novels that you won’t find anywhere else. They also have a fantastic incentive for customers: they will donate one to a Cincinnati child in need for every book you buy. Their entire aim is to provide resources to young readers across the city to improve their reading abilities and grow as learners, so you can be confident that whatever you buy here will influence a child somewhere.

Smith and Hannon Bookstore

Address: 1405 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Look no further than Smith & Hannon Bookstore in Over-The-Rhine if you’re seeking for a bookstore to visit. They focus on African American literature as well as local works. Posters, greeting cards, souvenirs, bookmarks, magnets, tee shirts, and jewelry are among the collectibles available. The staff is very cooperative, pleasant, and helpful, the pricing is reasonable, and it is a great bookstore to stroll through and explore because you never know what you’ll find.

Iris Book Café

Address: 1331 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202

Iris Book Cafe, a relatively unknown bookstore in Over-The-Rhine, also serves as a coffee shop. From the moment you come in and see the numerous tables and walls loaded with books, this coffee shop gives off the impression of a small, pleasant library. This is a great place to get a cup of coffee and locate a new book to read. When the weather is excellent, the shop also has an outdoor patio in the back, which is a haven for book lovers looking to enjoy a good book while having a drink in the open air.

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Duttenhofer’s Book

Address: 214 W McMillan St, Cincinnati, OH 45219

Duttenhofer’s Books, located in the middle of the University of Cincinnati campus, is a one-of-a-kind bookstore specializing in fiction and classics and all things old and antique. This is a delightful store to browse because you never know what you will find. Duttenhofer always seems to have hidden treasure just waiting to be discovered by clients, from the ordinary to the obscure.


Address: 754 Camargo Rd Cincinnati, OH 45243

Following that comes a bookshop with the most straightforward name on our list: Bookshelf. This store, which is located in Madeira, is a charming hidden gem that locals like. The proprietors are pleasant, the staff is accommodating, and they frequently have curated books that they recommend. From the moment you step in, you can tell that this bookshop takes pleasure in what it does, making it a great place for book enthusiasts to visit.

The Friends’ Used Bookstore at the Warehouse

Address: 8456 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45216

The Friends’ Used Bookstore at the Warehouse, a used bookstore cincinnati on the outskirts of Wyoming in northern Cincinnati, is next on our list. This shop specializes in secondhand books, and boy, do they have a large selection. This is a fun place to walk through because you never know what you will find, from science fiction to biographies to fantasy and everything in between. And, despite their age, most of the volumes are still in excellent condition. If you’re looking for a good deal on books, here is the place to go.

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Roebling Point Books & Coffee

Address: 306 Greenup St, Covington, KY 41011

Next up is Roebling Point Books & Coffee, a cross between a coffee shop and a bookshop. This modest coffee business in Covington, KY, located across the Ohio River, is full of personality. The walls are lined with volumes of all kinds, including a beautiful variety of works authored by Cincinnati residents. The business has numerous tiny rooms lined with books and has soft chairs and couches strewn around so you can take a book off the shelf and read it while sipping coffee in a relaxed atmosphere.

The First Edition Bare Books

Address: 250 E 5th St #1542, Cincinnati, OH 45202

The First Edition Rare Books, a shop in Downtown Cincinnati recognized for offering the finest notable rare books, which are historically significant in some way, is the last but not least on our list. One buyer, for example, mentioned that he was able to get Ted Kennedy’s biography signed by Caroline Kennedy at this store. Even though these are historically significant publications, most people feel the costs to be acceptable. This is a fantastic bookstore to visit if you are a history geek.

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