In journalist Bill Fink’s feature for Drive, “3 Road Trips to Independent Bookstores,” he takes us on a journey across three regions of the United States, highlighting his favorite independent bookstores in each. Below, find a few more best bets for eager bookworms.   

The Golden Notebook, Woodstock, New York  

James Conrad, who took over this 43-year-old shop in 2015, is the person you want to find behind the counter at a small bookstore: The Minnesota native is friendly and always has a good read to recommend. 

The store itself is also storybook charming – a small white house with a cherry-red door, tucked between a gift shop and an ice cream parlor on the main drag of Woodstock.

In July, The Little Golden Notebook, a cheerful nook for children’s books, opened on the second floor. Ann M. Martin, the legend behind The Baby-Sitters Club series, and editor and novelist David Levithan were among the first authors to visit.

Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colorado  

Since it first opened in a 950-square-foot storefront in Denver’s Cherry Creek North shopping district in 1971, Tattered Cover has expanded to four locations around the city and a fifth slated for Westminster, Colorado.

New owners (the stores changed hands in December 2020) recently partnered with Clara Villarosa, former owner of Hue-Man Experience, a Denver bookstore devoted to Black artists that closed in 2000.

Check out Hue-Man’s monthly list of recommendations. You can also find staff picks written on colorful index cards taped to shelves throughout the stores.

Epilogue: Books Chocolate Brews, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 

Owners Miranda and Jaime Sanchez have created a hybrid bookstore-cafe that’s truly centered on community. They work with local coffee roasters and chocolate makers, host fundraisers for organizations from the UNC LGBT Center to Equality North Carolina, and invite local artists to set up stands within the store.

On the book front, they pay as much attention to small-press releases as they do to bestsellers. The sunny space has plenty of tables at which to Zen out with books, churros and hot chocolate.

Unabridged Bookstore, Chicago, Illinois 

The #readingisresistance series at this 41-year-old bookstore features both new and classic books that can help readers understand America’s past and better shape its future. Browse those titles and more – including a large selection of literature by LGBTQ authors – as you lose yourself among the many shelves.

The shop now sprawls through three storefronts in a prime spot on North Broadway in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and is still owned by founder Ed Devereux.

Powell’s Books, Portland, Oregon  

There are now three locations of Powell’s, but it’s the original, City of Books, that houses more than a million books and, thus, virtually endless hours of entertainment.

If there’s an author you love, start there; you’ll likely discover titles they’ve written that you’ve never seen at other stores. There’s also a vast collection of used books here, plus rare books and signed editions.