If you’ve exhausted the library shelves and you’re tired of giving your money to big corporations, you’re going to need to get your new books somewhere. And we have just the suggestions for you. (Or, rather, you have suggestions for each other!)
We asked, and 107 of you told us on Facebook what your favorite independent bookstores are in Iowa.
At the top of the list, with almost 50 recommendations, was Dog-Eared Books in Ames.
“Progressive and not quiet about the terrible direction our state is going + a bookstore dog,” said Kelsi M.
The Dog-Eared Books location in Ames opened in 2021 and is run by two women who graduated from Ames High in 2001. They met and bonded when their children were in the same preschool class, and over volunteer work with national gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.
And the bookstore dog is actually two: Lovie and Honey are the two bookshop dogs who will hang out while you read.
Cindy P. called Dog-Eared Books, “Top-notch, a beacon of hope in Ames, Iowa.” She also praised their events and the clubs for young readers.
Very few people were able to limit themselves to one answer, and we’ve got all 25 of them right here. Enjoy!
1. Dog-Eared Books, Ames
2. Prairie Lights Books and Cafe, Iowa City
3. River Lights Bookstore, Dubuque
Beaverdale Books, Des Moines
Book People, Sioux City
The Book Shoppe, Boone
Book Vault, Oskaloosa
The Book Vine, Cherokee
The Book Worm, Bellevue
Brick Road Books, Winterset
Burlington by the Book, Burlington
Dragonfly Books, Decorah
Dungeon’s Gate, Ankeny
The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City
The Insomniac Bookshop, West Des Moines (online only)
The Latest Edition, Creston
Next Page Books, Cedar Rapids
Paper Moon, McGregor
Plain Talk Books, Des Moines
Prologue Books & Wine, Charles City
Reading in Public, West Des Moines
Sidekick Books, Iowa City
Storyhouse Bookpub, Des Moines
Wall of Books, Ankeny
Starting Line’s Favorites
Nikoel: Storyhouse Bookpub, Des Moines (“It’s a cool, small space with interesting events and friendly staff who help create a welcoming, comfortable environment. And its location in the East Village is nice and convenient.”)
Amie: Soul Book Nook, Waterloo (“I hope this place is still open; haven’t seen them post in a while, but it was always so welcoming. Amber is so personable and wonderful to chat with. And you can also view, and sometimes purchase, the art on the walls done by her daughter!”)
Avery: River Lights, Dubuque (“Owned by former teachers, they have a 30% bestseller sale all the time, and a teacher discount.”)
Ty: Reading in Public, West Des Moines (“It’s newer, but it has become a valuable addition to Valley Junction and it’s a super-inclusive space that tries to make everyone feel welcome.”)
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