For students searching for a fun weekend activity, in need of course materials or looking for a new captivating read, independent bookstores are the place to go. 

Independent bookstores, beyond their comfy atmosphere and unique book and gift offerings, provide integral connections and resources to the community by creating intellectually stimulating spaces and business opportunities. 

Try visiting these local indie bookstores to find your new favorite books, games and gifts while simultaneously supporting the local Atlanta community.

Eagle Eye Bookstore

Distance: 1.4 miles (5 minute drive)

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Eagle Eye Book Shop offers a cozy and relaxing vibe with plenty of aisles lined with a wide variety of titles. Located on North Decatur Road, not only is Eagle Eye the closest independent bookstore to Emory, but it also is the only indie bookseller to offer both new and used books. 

The used and new books are mixed together on the same shelves, but used ones are marked with stickers. Outside the store, Eagle Eye also has additional racks of used books that cost just a few dollars and are still available outside of store hours. The books outdoors demonstrate Eagle Eye’s trust of the community, as they rely on the honor system for payment by asking customers to slip bills under the door. On top of these, the store takes trade-ins of popular used materials for store credit.

Eagle Eye Book Shop has a well-rounded selection featuring the most common book genres and topics, including extensive fiction, sci-fi, history and southern novels. The shop also includes a robust games and puzzles aisle and a section with stationery. In the back of the store, a secluded reading room holds special editions and overstock while also offering a quiet place to sit and read. 

Eagle Eye Book Shop holds numerous events each month, such as book launches and signings of many Atlanta-based authors, book club meetings and community engagement activities in and around Decatur. In the past, Eagle Eye has partnered with the local Decatur Book Festival, one of the biggest independent book festivals in the U.S., which is presented by Emory.

(Contributing Writer/Lauren Katz)

Little Shop of Stories

Distance: 3.0 miles (10 minute drive)

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Little Shop of Stories offers a unique bookstore experience, with a main focus on children’s and young adult books and games. Additionally, it also features plenty of adult fiction and nonfiction novels. One side of the store is dedicated to children’s books and offers an extremely diverse collection of picture books, chapter books and games. The other half of the shop features popular contemporary novels and nonfiction titles on a combination of shelves and tables. Near the entrance, Little Shop of Stories offers unique gifts such as bags, mugs and notebooks.  

Located in downtown Decatur for nearly 20 years, the bookstore has strong ties to its community. Beyond books by Georgian authors, the store also has a series of books providing a Georgian scavenger hunt experience. Clue Town Books, created by a local Atlantan, Jay Carlson, provides explorative information in puzzle form on different areas of Georgia. They even have a scavenger hunt book that offers a puzzle-filled guide around Emory. Little Shop of Stories engages with the community as a partnering bookseller at the Decatur Book Festival.

The shop offers an innovative way of recommending books by selling mystery books wrapped in paper to conceal the book title while listing several similar books on the wrapping, so readers can get a feel for the type of book they are purchasing without spoiling the surprise. Some mystery books also have age range and genre listed to help match books with a fitting reader. In addition, there are also staff book recommendation shelves that feature descriptions of each staff member’s preferred genre and some of their favorite books, providing readers with more interpersonal book recommendations. 

Little Shop of Stories offers multiple events each week for all types of readers, such as a Banned Books Club, Children’s Literature Brunch and holiday-themed events. The whimsical decor and imaginative layout provide a mystical shopping experience and a haven for people of all ages.

Virginia Highland Books

Distance: 3.3 miles (11 minute drive)

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Located in the historic Virginia Highland suburb of Atlanta, Virginia Highland Books combines contemporary titles with the building’s old-fashioned brick interior. The shop has two stories, with contemporary fiction and children’s books on the main floor and nonfiction and classics in the basement. 

The book-browsing experience is made easier by many titles laid out on tables and grouped into unique categories such as local authors, banned books and popular book club picks. Virginia Highland Books’ selection features predominantly contemporary fiction titles but also has a sizable children’s and young adult section. Moreover, the store features an extensive collection of travel guides for Atlanta and Georgia as a whole.

The front of the store has large chairs for the tired browser or avid reader. Beside them are still more unique notebooks, stationery and writing supplies. Situated in front of the main windows, the chairs offer readers a view of the bustling Virginia Highland area. The surrounding shops and restaurants in the vibrant neighborhood make this a great bookstore to stop by on a casual day out.

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