Book It to These 12 Wisconsin Independent Bookstores 

Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee

By Christina Lorey

April 25, 2023

Celebrate Indie Bookstore Day at these Badger State gems. 

Spend $100 at an independent bookstore, and $68 stays local. Spend $100 at a chain store, and only $43 recirculates within your community. That’s just one of the research-backed benefits of supporting your neighborhood bookstore. A great day to do it is this Saturday, April 29, on Independent Bookstore Day

Now in its tenth year, the national event encourages booklovers to buy locally, and in return, indie booksellers roll out special deals, live music, scavenger hunts, contests, and literary exclusives you can only get that day. 

Wisconsin is home to a wealth of independent bookstores. Here are a few of our favorites:

The Book Store

Appleton

With 85,000+ new and used books, you’re sure to find something captivating. Don’t want to buy? The Book Store offers a unique rental service for its most popular titles.

Redbery Books

Cable

Redbery’s big draws are its various weekly book clubs and its book subscription gift service for kids called grandreads, which sends young readers one book a month.

The Attic

Green Bay

You’ve probably driven past The Attic without realizing it’s a bookstore! The small shop specializes in espressos, teas, and a large selection of good-condition secondhand books.

Lion’s Mouth Bookstore

Green Bay

One of Wisconsin’s newest, Lion’s Mouth quickly packed its calendar with book launches, author signings, and monthly book clubs.

Blue House Books

Kenosha

Started as a popup, Blue House finally put down roots in downtown Kenosha in 2020, where it launched a Banned Book Club, which meets on the third Sunday of every month.

A Room of One’s Own

Madison

The Capital City’s most popular bookstore is known for its knowledgeable booksellers and ever-changing, themed window displays of eye-catching titles.

Paul’s Book Store

Madison

While the University Book Store is flashier, locals say the best bookstore on the UW campus is Paul’s, a second-hand shop selling everything from beach reads to autobiographies. 

Boswell Book Company

Milwaukee

Rather than rely on The New York Times’ best-sellers list, Boswell aggregates its own and offers customers store credits if they bring in select used books.

Rooted MKE

Milwaukee

The only Black and woman-owned BIPOC children’s bookstore in Wisconsin’s largest city, Rooted fills its shelves with books with diverse protagonists.

READ MORE: Our Exclusive Q&A with the Bookseller Bringing BIPOC Books to MKE

Books & Company

Oconomowoc

This community-based bookstore has displayed book club features, staff favorites, and new and old bestsellers on its shelves since 1983.

Arcadia Books

Spring Green

There’s no shortage of events at this southwest Wisconsin shop, but if you can’t make the drive and want to surprise a friend they offer next-day shipping and gift wrapping.

Janke Book Store

Wausau

Wisconsin’s oldest bookstore, Janke, which has been in business since 1919, is a must-stop for history lovers, thanks to their ample supply of state history books.

Author

  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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