The 10 Best Bookstores in Iowa!

The digital age has not diminished the value of holding a physical book in your hands. Bookstores all across Iowa prove just that. Nothing beats the smell of ink on the paper and the feeling of turning pages in your hand. If you consider yourself a book aficionado, or just like the studious atmosphere that bookstores provide, you’re sure to find something you like amongst the many independent bookstores in Iowa. To start you on your search to find your next favorite read, a good place to start are these 10 best bookstores in Iowa. 

1. Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Iowa City, a UNESCO City of Literature and home to the nationally recognized Iowa Writer’s Workshop, also happens to have one of the best bookstores in the state. Prairie Lights, located on South Dubuque street, not only has two floors stacked with the latest and greatest titles, but they also host a plethora of events and readings from those who have participated in the nearby Writer’s Workshop and beyond.

2. Beaverdale Books, Des Moines, IA

For that corner store feel on your next book buying adventure, be sure to stop by Beaverdale Books in Des Moines. Slowly over the last decade, this indie-focused and locally owned bookstore has cemented themselves into the Des Moines cultural scene, and it’s just as much the friendly atmosphere as it is the many books on the shelves that really draws a crowd. Whether you’re looking for a light read or dense novel, Beaverdale Books can provide you with everything but the time to read your next favorite book. 

3. Book People, Sioux City, IA

The name says it all for this Sioux City establishment, and the people working at this bookstore really are book people. Located on Hamilton Boulevard, the good people at Book People can help you find what you’re looking for, and with a great selection of fiction, non-fiction, comics, children’s books and more, whatever it is that drives you to this locally owned store, you’ll be sure to find someone to help you pick it out from the shelf. 

4. Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Located in a historic and renovated building in downtown Oskaloosa, the book vault is much more than just a peddler of paperbacks. The Book Vault has a spacious interior that invites you to sit down and read for a moment, and outside of the many titles lining its walls, the Book Vault also offers unique gift items, exciting events and even cooking demonstrations ripped right out of the cook books they have on the shelves. With just one stop into this inviting book store, you might find yourself wanting to stay awhile. 

5. The Book Vine, Cherokee, IA

Everything about The Book Vine in Cherokee has a touch of charm that can’t be beat. Whether it’s the 115-year old renovated brick building that it resides in, or the upper floor mezzanine that acts as a writing and reading nook, and you can’t forget about the wide selection of wine and coffee offered at the counter, it all builds up to a bookstore that really can’t be beat. Not to even mention the wide range of books found on the shelf either, from children’s books to thick Russian novels, you’ll be sure to find your next read and much more at The Book Vine in Cherokee.  

6. Burlington by the Book, Burlington, IA

In a world that is turning more digital by the second, Burlington by the Book fights back with a proud print selection of your favorite novels and books. You can still order online through Burlington by the Book, but to get the real experience of this charming bookstore located near the mighty Mississippi River, it’s worth stopping in and perusing the awesome selection of short stories, novels and more. 

7. The Haunted Bookshop, Iowa City, IA

There is nothing scary about the Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City, besides maybe how low their prices can go, and if you’re looking for an old classic or something unique, this is one bookstore you have to check out. Featuring two floors containing every book from religious studies to the latest best-selling novel, the Haunted Bookshop also buys and sells used books, meaning that the selection is not only extremely varied, but you can find your next favorite book at half the price you’d normally pay.

8. Next Page Books, Cedar Rapids, IA

Located in the historic New Bohemia district of Cedar Rapids, Next Page Books isn’t the largest bookstore on this list, but with their wide selection of reading material and friendly staff waiting to point you in the direction, Next Page Books does offer the most out of its space compared to any other bookstore in the state. With a comfortable atmosphere to work your way through some titles, or perhaps sit down and read awhile, Next Page Books will soon be your next favorite hang-out spot in Cedar Rapids.

9. Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny, IA

Plot Twist Bookstore opened their doors to the Ankeny public last year, and only time will tell where this bookstore will take you. Featuring the newest selection of indie books, plus some old classics, Plot Twist Bookstore is aiming to be a place for much more than just picking out a good read. Stop in and stay awhile at the Plot Twist Bookstore, because the comfortable atmosphere of this local bookstore invites you to chat, read or whatever you want to do in their welcoming space.

10. The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Between the new and used selection at The Book Shoppe in Boone, they have over 45,000 titles for you to explore. This expansive selection pairs nicely with the comfortable atmosphere inside and all the employees that are happy to help you pick amongst their many titles. Whether you’re looking for biographies, travel guides, coloring books, postcards or the latest novel from a local author, you’ll be sure to find it hiding somewhere amongst the many choices to choose from at The Book Shoppe in Boone. 

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