Best Independent Bookstores in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and Apex

Cozy nooks across the Triangle to curl up in with a good book

For many people, summer is the season for a good read. Whether you tuck a new title into your beach bag or like to while away a few days on the back porch, it's a good time to catch up on a good page-turner.

If you're an avid reader, you already know that an independent bookstore can be a treasure trove. Find the latest offerings from popular authors, delve into a favorite topic or just take a chance on something new. And if your local shop deals in used books, there are bargains to be had. If you have some time to browse, here are some of the most well-regarded independent bookstores in the Triangle.

1) Quail Ridge Books

Quail Ridge Books has enjoyed a place in the hearts of Triangle readers since 1984. The friendly staff carefully selects books to ensure a wide variety, including North Carolina writers, who find a welcoming home for their works. Quail Ridge keeps its event calendar packed with readings and book signings. The North Hills location is also the home for discussion groups and town hall meetings. A low-cost Readers Club membership offers substantial discounts for your entire family – and it's free to educators and seniors. 4381-105 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue, Raleigh, 919.828.1588.

2) McIntyre's Books

Located in Fearrington Village just south of Chapel Hill, McIntyre's Books feels like home. With sofas and comfy chairs surrounding a fire place, guests can browse a through books that are tagged with hand-written recommendations from the staff. They have a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, but McIntyre's gives a little extra attention to mysteries and books on cooking and gardening. Their “Cooks & Books” series is a collaboration with Fearrington's executive chef, as guests can not only meet authors, but sample the dishes they make famous. Need a book for a young reader? They have a children's reading room too. 2000 Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, 919.542.3030.

3) The Regulator Bookshop

The Regulator Bookshop opened its doors in Durham in 1976 and has enjoyed loyal community support ever since. Wonder if your must-read selection is in stock? You can check their inventory online. If they don't have it, the Regulator will order it for you. The store maintains a large selection of used books, particularly in the mystery and paperback fiction sections, and they carry a variety of literary magazines. The events calendar is busy with readings, signings and performances for all ages. 720 Ninth Street, Durham, 919.286.2700.

4) Flyleaf Books

Flyleaf Books has a feel all its own with large rooms, comfortable seating, and bookshelves in every direction. If you're a browser, Flyleaf is a destination outing in Chapel Hill. A diverse event schedule gives customers a variety of experiences, including readings, music and other ticketed events. If you're looking for local flavor, you can find published works in a variety of genres. A well-liked staff receives kind reviews – and encourages you to bring your coffee from the Root Cellar cafe next door. 752 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Chapel Hill, 919.942.7373.


5) Letters Bookshop

Letters Bookshop in Durham is spacious and bright with wood floors and art-covered walls. While new titles are available, the emphasis is on gently used books. Fiction works occupy the majority of titles, but mystery, science fiction and historical biographies are abundant too. The folks at Letters puts an emphasis on staff picks with a Same Page Club. If you buy the owner's pick, you get 10 percent off the title and 10 percent off all book purchases the next three months. An informal discussion day with the staff follows. 313 West Main Street, Durham, 919.973.2573.

6) All Booked Up

All Booked Up is home to an eclectic variety of used books in downtown Apex. They offer store credit for lightly used titles, including double credit for some genres. A dedicated area with several hundred classic literature volumes is just the start of what you will find among the store's 14,000 books. A Kidz Corner is a hands-on section devoted to your little ones, who can hang out with stuffed animals while discovering new books. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, perfect for a pop-in visit. 104-B North Salem Street, Apex, 919.412.3135.

7) Reader's Corner

Raleigh's Reader's Corner has a niche all its own. Thousands of books line the front entrance - outdoors. Everything to the left of the front door is 25 cents, everything to the right is 10 cents. Late-night readers make purchases all night on the honor system, dropping change through a slot. Owner Irv Coats donates all the proceeds to National Public Radio. Inside is nothing fancy, but but the endless shelves are stocked with every imaginable subject matter, from children's books to nuclear physics. 3201 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, 919.828.7024. 

8) Read With Me

Read With Me, opening April 7, 2017 in downtown Raleigh, offers a diverse selection of children's literature and graphic novels, as well as a rotating art gallery highlighting children's work. Located just steps away from Marbles Kids Museum, Read With Me supports local writers and artists. 111 E. Hargett Street, Suite 110, Raleigh, 919-588-3183. 

9) Purple Crow Books

Purple Crow Books, offers new and used books and specializes in the latest works by local authors like John Bemis, Annie Dillard, Jill McCorkle and Michael Malone. Families will love the children's room and storytime hours. 109 W. King Street, Hillsborough, 919.732.1711.