The 8 Best LGBTQ-Owned and Affirming Bookstores in the US

These spaces remind us that LGBTQ writers deserve to be celebrated year round

Books with a rainbow sticker on the spine

Christina Vartanova / Getty Images

It’s Pride Month! We’re kicking off this joyous, meaningful month with a collection of features completely dedicated to LGBTQ+ travelers. Follow along on a gay writer’s thought-provoking Kentucky road trip and learn about the tropical honeymoon hotspot that embraces all genders. Then, find inspiration for your future trips with our guides to the ins and outs of gay cruising, charming LGBTQ+ bookstores you can support, and the world’s most vibrant gay villages. However you make your way through the features, we’re glad you’re here with us to celebrate the beauty and importance of inclusivity and representation within the travel space and beyond.

There’s nothing better than an independent bookstore—they often reflect the communities where they’re located, amplify local authors, and even host events where authors share more about their work. Every time I walk into a bookstore, I go straight for the LGBTQIA+ books section and often sigh relief when I find it. I’m accepted here, I think. It’s a reminder that the stories of queer and trans writers and artists deserve to be celebrated not just during Pride Month but year-round.

If you’re looking for queer-owned and affirming bookstores across the country, these eight bookstores across the U.S. have you covered. Drop by to find books by queer and trans writers, cards, gifts, and even care packages.

01 of 08

A Room of One's Own

Inside A room of One's Own

Courtesy of A Room of One's Own

Address
2717 Atwood Ave, Madison, WI 53704, USA
Phone +1 608-257-7888

Since it was purchased by long-time employees and booksellers Gretchen and Wes, A Room of One’s Own has been a trans and queer-owned and operated anti-racist, abolitionist feminist bookstore with a wide selection of queer novels, picture books, fiction, romance, and non-fiction. For three and a half years, marketing and social director Fawzy Taylor says that many queer folks have visited from smaller towns and sobbed when seeing so many queer books, a testament to the power of sharing the work of queer and trans writers. 

The store also offers curated book subscriptions in six-month or one-year options and Queer Qare packages, curated care packages for recently out trans youth. They’ve continued curating and shipping care packages (for U.S. customers only, due to shipping costs) with surprises including books, stickers, keychains, pins, and more.

02 of 08

Hello Again Books

Inside of Hello Again Books

Courtesy of Hello Again Books

Address
411 Brevard Ave, Cocoa, FL 32922, USA
Phone +1 321-877-0351

Hello Again Books is a new and used local bookstore and gift shop in Cocoa Village, Florida. Owned by a married lesbian couple, Hello Again Books is built on the core values of community, diversity, and creativity and creates an inclusive space in the community for anyone who needs one. Check out their monthly events, including an LGBTQIA+ social on Friday evenings where you can come by to socialize, enjoy a beverage, and play card games. They also host events with local authors, weekly knitting circles, and a book club during the last week of the month.

03 of 08

Unabridged Bookstore

Exterior of unabrdiged bookster

Courtesy of Unabridged Bookstore

Address
3251 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657, USA
Phone +1 773-883-9119

Owner Ed Devereux opened Unabridged Bookstore in 1980, and the space continues to be Chicago’s go-to bookstore for LGBTQIA+ literature, although they offer several genres for any book lover. The bookstore donates a portion of its proceeds to local communities; to honor the Black Lives Matter movement, the store has donated to an organization contributing to racial, social, environmental, and economic justice. During June, they’re supporting the Chicago Abortion Fund. They also have many book clubs for queer books, fiction, and speculative books, among other events, making this a bookstore where queer people can feel connected, safe, and seen.

04 of 08

Womencrafts

Inside of Women crafts

Courtesy of Womencrafts

Address
376 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657-2320, USA
Phone +1 508-487-2501

Womencrafts is a lesbian-owned and operated feminist book and gift shop serving as a hub for activism, community, and connected conversation for queer travelers and community members. The shop was purchased in 2015 by Michelle Axelson, a social worker and former member of a transgender health team who is passionate about ensuring that the space is a truly intersectional feminist, queer bookshop. In addition to having 1,000 books in every genre, from memoirs to lesbian pulp fiction, you’ll find art, pins, greeting cards, pottery, jewelry, and more by over 100 female artists. They’ve set the goal to ensure that 50 percent of all new titles are written by BIPOC authors and have a bestseller list of books written by women, which is worth checking out.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

All She Wrote Books

Exterior of All She Wrote

Courtesy of All She Wrote

Address
451 Artisan Way, Somerville, MA 02145, USA
Phone +1 617-440-4623

All She Wrote Books is an intersectional and inclusive queer and feminist bookstore. Christina Pascucci Ciampa founded the store to amplify stories written by underrepresented voices. What started as a three-shelf cart she would set up in larger bookstores evolved into her own brick-and-mortar bookstore in Somerville, Massachusetts. Some of the bookstore's inclusive queer-friendly programming includes draft queer story hour, storytelling with picture book author Joana McClintick, and adult queer story time with Neema Avashia, where participants can share their coming out stories and hear coming out stories from others in the community.

06 of 08

Dreamers & Make-Believers

Comics

Courtesy of Dreamers & Believers

Address
3402 Gough St, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA
Phone +1 410-624-5624

Dreamers & Make-Believers is an inclusive comic book shop and bookstore focusing on stories by and for BIPOC folks, women, and the LGBTQIA+ community. This was the first bookstore in this neighborhood of Southeast Baltimore, and now it provides graphic novels and books to locals and visitors alike. They also host several pop-up events around the city.

07 of 08

The Irreverent Bookworm

Interior of Irreverent Bookworm

Courtesy of Irreverent Bookworm

Address
5163 Bloomington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA
Phone +1 612-500-4339

Opened in late 2019, The Irreverent Bookworm is a queer and woman-owned bookstore in the Twin Cities with a range of books, a cozy kids' room, and plenty of seating if you're trying on a book for size. They sell various used books and new releases, with every single book purchased at this bookstore furthering the movement of living unapologetically and authentically. For June, they're having a clearance sale on thousands of books, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to Family Tree Clinic, a local community clinic.

08 of 08

1977 Books

Inside of 1977 Books

Courtesy of 1977 Books

Address
1708 Norman Bridge Rd, Montgomery, AL 36104, USA
Phone +1 334-409-1315

1977 Books started as the “How We Get Free” book club in founders Alison and Stef’s living room, where participants gathered to read and discuss Combahee River Collective’s seminal text on intersectional feminism. Fast forward to the present day, and the little book club that could has evolved into a thriving volunteer-run abolitionist bookstore and community space. The bookstore encourages community members to start their own book club and will even offer a discount on books for those who join one.

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The 8 Best LGBTQ-Owned and Affirming Bookstores in the US