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Independent Bookstore

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Interior bookshelves at City Light Bookstore in San Francisco

The San Francisco independent bookstore, City Lights, has been around since the Beat Poets.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News
Definition: An independent bookstore is a bookstore that is not controlled by a larger bookseller chain, such as Barnes and Noble or Books A Million (BAM). These bookstores are often fixtures in the communities that they serve and are, in turn, served by their trade association, The American Booksellers Association.

Some examples of independent bookstores are:

  • R.J. Julia, in Madison, CT

  • City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, CA

  • The Mysterious Bookshop in New York, NY

    Read about opening an independent bookstore

  • Also Known As: Independent Bookseller, Independent Bookshop, "Independent," "Independents"

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