Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Daily Email Edition

Get MN Daily NEWS delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday!


Best independent bookstores near campus

If you’re looking for a new piece of literature, here is where to go.
Image by Max Mueller
The interior of Book House in Dinkytown. From classics to science fiction, there are many places to shop for books while supporting small businesses.

Throughout Minneapolis, there are a variety of independent bookstores that have something for everyone, from casual readers to book aficionados. These small businesses offer a unique and more personalized experience that big-name bookstores cannot provide. 

1. Book House 

With the original Book House opening in 1976 at what is now a Huntington Bank, this shop has been a staple of Dinkytown for decades. The bookstore is now located next to Shuang Cheng in Dinkydale and offers a broad collection of used and rare books. The employees are friendly and eager to chat with customers and engage in interesting discussions. 

“I’d say I’ve been at the Book House for so many years in part because it has the same goals as I do,” Book House employee Ryan Hinderaker said. “We strive to be a marketplace for ideas, engaged in an aesthetically pleasing experience for the mind and eye.”

2. Magers & Quinn

Located on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis’ Uptown area, this bookstore spans two levels and has an enormous collection of books. As you walk through the shelves, you will find books on everything, including history, economics, non-fiction, poetry and much more. Whether it’s a classic from the past or the newest bestseller, you can find exactly what you are looking for. The staff is ready to help customers with book recommendations and educated chats. 

3. Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s

Uncle Hugo’s and Uncle Edgar’s are two side-by-side bookstores specializing in science fiction and mystery books. Named after sci-fi publisher Hugo Gernsback and mystery writer Edgar Allen Poe, these bookstores offer a vast selection of books in their respective genres. After burning down during the protests of 2020, both locations reopened in 2022 and continue to offer a welcoming atmosphere for mystery and sci-fi enthusiasts.

“Uncle Hugo’s has been providing new and used science fiction and fantasy books for over a century,” owner Dan Blyly said. “Edgar’s originally operated from a nearby storefront until moving into a separate room within the same building.” 

Currently, the two stores operate next to each other near Hiawatha Avenue in South Minneapolis.

4. Moon Palace Books

Moon Palace is an eccentric bookstore found in Minneapolis’ Longfellow district. Housed in a converted movie theater, this large space holds a vast array of new and used books along with vintage clothing and vinyl records. Moon Palace highlights a variety of voices in literature, giving special attention to underrepresented groups and independent publishers.

5. Milkweed Books

A quaint bookstore near the U.S. Bank Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis, Milkweed Books is connected to the nonprofit literary publisher Milkweed Editions. The shop emphasizes the representation of diverse perspectives with well-known and underground titles. Through author readings, book clubs and community activities, the shop promotes a thriving literary culture.

“Our store is a community gathering space that carries titles to uplift and publish transformative literature that might otherwise go unnoticed by larger stores,” manager Zoey Gulden said. “I open each day with the goal to get one book in a hand that will change how a reader might live on our planet.”

The Twin Cities offer an even broader collection of independent bookstores that were not mentioned in this article. Shopping at stores like these supports local businesses while promoting subjects that may otherwise go unnoticed. As chain bookstores and internet sellers continue to take over the market, independent bookstores continue to be cultural centers that honor literature.

View Comments (3)
More to Discover

Accessibility Toolbar

Comments (3)

All The Minnesota Daily Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • David Miller, PhD
    Apr 10, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    If you want to bypass the chains and Amazon, donates to local independent bookstores when you order through them. (I designate Louise Erdrich’s Birchbark Books.)

  • Whitney
    Apr 10, 2024 at 3:35 pm

    The University of Minnesota Bookstores, which is directly on campus is also and independent bookstore! Profits go right back to students, campus, and faculty/staff! Wh

  • S
    Apr 10, 2024 at 3:13 pm

    Irereverant Bookworm is a great store located only abou 4 miles from campus in S. Mpls