8 of the Best Indie Bookstores in Pittsburgh

April 22, 2019
jason wolfe

When you’re in the mood for a good book, look no further than these 8 indie bookstores in Pittsburgh.

There are no big corporations here-- all of these places are independently owned and operated. That means they have a wide selection of books not typically found in your larger stores. Offering collections of rare and out of print books-- as well as a lot of other gently used options-- these places are a great way to spend an afternoon. The owners are knowledgeable about their stock and will be able to find any specific request you might have. These bookstores are also a great place to meet with other book lovers and contribute to a thriving community scene.

All these amazing little shops accept GiftYa personalized gift cards-- so feel free to start browsing their stacks of books! With GiftYa, it’s easy to pick a merchant, choose the amount you want to give and send to the recipient. You never have to worry about them losing it or forgetting it at home when they stop into their favorite indie bookstore-- because there is no physical gift card! Recipients link it to their debit card and can start shopping immediately.

Mystery Lovers Bookshop

Your One Stop Shop for Mystery Books and Events in Pittsburgh


the storefront of Mystery Lovers Bookshop
A great bookstore that is just filled to the brim with all your favorite mysteries! Image courtesy of Mystery Lovers Bookshop


514 Allegheny River Blvd. Pittsburgh, PA 15139

412-828-4877

Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM

Sun 11AM-2PM

One of the most popular spots in Pittsburgh to check out the latest book titles is the Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont.

In addition to having quite a large collection of books, it also hosts events such as author signings and public speakers. It’s a great place to get all the latest literary news, as well as keep in contact with the local community.

Mystery Lovers Bookshop also hosts a couple of book club meetings each month — you’re sure to find one that you’d enjoy! This shop also carries local Western Pennsylvania authors in their own special section — so show your support by checking them out.

“This was my first time here and oh my goodness, this might be my new favorite bookshop!!! It's a same family owned business and the lady who was working there definitely knew her stuff!!” - Yelp Review

White Whale Bookstore

One of the best indie bookstores in Pittsburgh

a book display at White Whale Bookstore
Stop in to browse books, listen to poetry, or join a book club. Image courtesy of White Whale Bookstore

4754 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15224

412-224-2847

Tues-Sat 11AM-7PM

Sun 11AM-5PM

When Pittsburghers want to shop local and support a growing indie-book business, they know to stop by the White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield.

Formerly known as the East End Book Exchange, this lovely space blossomed into a place where people can meet, have a conversation, learn new things, and above all — read!

They offer poetry readings, author lectures, and even children’s activities — the proprietors firmly believe that this is how you create solid communities and it is a part of a growing Bloomfield business district.

This bookstore definitely helps to set the standard for community involvement in Pittsburgh.

“LOVE this little book store. One of our favorite things to do on a random weekend day is to get lost in a bookstore, browsing stacks.” -Yelp Review

Classic Lines Books

Unique bookstore located in Squirrel Hill


the bright turquoise storefront of Classic Lines
Image courtesy of Classic Lines Books. Whether you’re looking for books or a puzzle, this bookshop is definitely worth a visit. Image courtesy of Classic Line Books

5825 Forbes Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217

412-422-2220

Sun-Tues 11AM-5PM

Wed-Sat 10AM-7PM

If you’re in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh, make sure to stop into Classic Lines Books and check out their incredible book selection.

After you’re done browsing the racks, don’t forget to take a look at their jigsaw puzzle collection and extensive line of paper stationary. The place is full of other items sure to please any book lover including bookmarks, pens, and book-inspired apparel. You won’t know where to look first!

When you’ve got all the books you need, make sure to check out the restaurants and other eclectic shops in the Squirrel Hill area.

“Classic Lines is one of the best local independent bookstores I've ever been to. It's got a wide variety of titles, some great bookish gift items, and a really cozy atmosphere.” -Yelp Review

City Books

Pittsburgh’s oldest independent used bookstore

the storefront of City Books
Drop into this little gem of a bookstore and spend the afternoon browsing their stacks. image courtesy of City Books


908 Galveston Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15233

412-321-7323

Tues-Fri 11AM-6PM

Sat-Sun 12PM-5PM

As the oldest used book store in Pittsburgh, City Books is one of the best places to spend a rainy — or cold — Pittsburgh afternoon indoors.

Located on the North Side, this spot has quite a large collection of books — you’re sure to lose track of time browsing all the titles on their racks. With an inviting interior full of comfortable chairs and lighting perfect for reading, go ahead and stay a while.

If there is a particular book you are looking for that might be out of print — or even an antique — just ask the friendly staff and they will try to acquire it for you.

“Pleasant little spot nestled off Western Ave. a bit small, but very efficient use of space. Could browse for a couple hours. Well categorized.” -Yelp Review

Rickert & Beagle Books

A cute, indie bookstore nestled into the heart of Dormont


two books from Rickert & Beagle
Whether you’re looking to browse or trade, this indie bookstore is sure to have what you need. Image courtesy of Rickert & Beagle Books

3233 W. Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15216

412-344-7444

Mon 10AM-6PM

Tues, Thur/Fri 11AM-7PM

Sat 10AM-7PM

Sun 11AM-5PM

Rickert & Beagle Books is the perfect place to browse for that perfect book you didn’t even know you needed. Located in the bustling Dormont corridor, it’s in a great area where you can look for books then grab lunch at any of the local restaurants within walking distance.

What sets this place apart from the other indie bookstores in Pittsburgh, is that it has a dedicated trader who comes in specifically to appraise and value books. Rickert & Beagle encourages people to bring in their books to see what they could expect to receive for them.

Or, you can also just trade your books in for some new ones as well!

“Thanks to this varied selection of books from so many genres and a big background of names, it's easy to get lost in here for hours just browsing titles.” -Yelp Review

Penguin Bookshop

A small shop in Sewickley with a huge selection of books


a book club meeting at Penguin Bookshop
Full of local patrons who love to show their support, this place has been around for years. Image courtesy of Penguin Bookshop

417 Beaver St. Sewickley, PA 15143

412-741-3838

Mon-Sat 10AM-5:30PM

Penguin Bookshop has been a part of the Sewickley community since 1929, and it has a special spot in the heart of the people of Pittsburgh.

Full of all genres of books — as well as magazines, journals, and stationary items — it is a lovely place to browse for a new book. They frequently host author talks and have a selection of signed books on hand as well.

It’s also a wonderful place to browse for items for those friends and family outside of the Pittsburgh-area — they will ship your gifts anywhere in the country!

“This is a great independent book shop in the heart of Sewickley Village that regularly has author signings and readings, and carries a great selection of new and classic titles for its small size.” -Yelp Review

Amazing Books & Records

Two locations in Squirrel Hill and Downtown


Amazing Books & Records
With two location to choose from, make sure to check out their selections of books and records often. Image courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


2030 Murray Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15217

412-421-7000

Sun-Thurs 12-9PM

Fri 12-7:45PM

Amazing Books & Records has two locations — one in Squirrel Hill as well as one in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Pittsburghers love to stop in on their lunch hour and see the new selections displayed each week. Their collection is on the smaller side, but it is full of every genre you could hope to read.

Amazing Books & Records will also accept books you’re ready to trade in as well, and either pay you or have you select a fair trade from their current stock. In addition to books, this spot also sells and trades vinyl records as well.

“I absolutely ADORE this little bookstore. I love strolling through it as a break from a busy workday.” -Yelp Review

Beyond Bedtime Books

Cute indie bookstore in the Potomac Avenue business district


Beyond Bedtime Books
This little shop is located right on the Potomac Avenue storefront and is sure to have exactly what you’re looking for. Image courtesy of Beyond Bedtime Books

1453 Potomac Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15216

412-341-3838

Mon-Sat 10AM-4PM

Sun 10AM-2PM

This little bookstore has been a staple on Dormont’s Potomac Avenue for years.

Beyond Bedtime Books is the type of indie bookstore you could walk up to a couple times a week just to see the new selections, as well as check out their used acquisitions.

The owner makes it a point to know the literary interests of her patrons and can make some helpful suggestions if you’re not sure what to purchase. Whether you want to just peek in for a bit — or spend a whole afternoon browsing — this is the bookstore to do it in!

“This is the best used book store in the country! You can find something for everyone here. The owner can make the best recommendations if you tell her the last book you read and enjoyed.” -Yelp Review

No matter where you live in the city, you can’t go wrong with any of these indie bookstores. They are a part of the Pittsburgh community, and their contributions to it keep our city vibrant. Better yet, GiftYa has egift cards to each one of these amazing options!

What’s your favorite indie bookstore? Let us know in the comments!







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