Independent Book Stores In Nashville

Dated: 05/02/2016

Views: 880

by TJ Anderson

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I’ve been a bit preoccupied with my new Woodbine properties (you’ll hear from me about them soon), and I’m bummed to have just missed celebrating Independent Bookstore Day, which was this past Saturday, April 30.

Like plenty of other Nashvillians, I’m a fan of a) books and b) local independent businesses. So as “Day” days go, that’s a pretty cool one. Particularly cool in Nashville, since unlike many cities (unfortunately), we have an impressive crop of locally bred and locally run shops. 

In belated celebration, I’m gonna go today and pick up something new to read. If you’d like to do the same, here are a few Nashville book stores I’d suggest you explore (plus one to look forward to).

Independent Nashville book stores

Parnassus Books 

3900 Hillsboro Pike Suite 14, Nashville

When things were looking bleak for the independent book shop landscape in Nashville not too long ago, famed author Ann Patchett and publishing vet Karen Hayes teamed up to juice things, launching Parnassus Books (pictured above) in 2011. The labor of love quickly became a beloved Green Hills stop for shopping, learning and meeting/greeting touring authors (those two clearly know their stuff), and in its wake, the book-shop stores replenished and grew. Book lovers in Nashville owe Parnassus a lot of thanks, on many fronts.

East Side Story 

1108 Woodland Street, Unit B, Nashville

In 2012, freelance writer, editor and author Chuck Beard felt inspired to create an all-local literary space — a place for both established and aspiring writers to have a spotlight shined upon them. So East Nashville's East Side Story was born. Along with developing the shop, Beard also launched the regular East Side Storytellin’, a live event that mixes live music and live readings, and through the years, dozens and dozens of talented providers of each have taken the stage, including writers Alice Randall and Barry Mazor and musicians Amanda Shires and Jason Isbell.

Atomic Nashville 

1603 Riverside Drive, Nashville

An East Side newcomer, Atomic Nashville opened in Inglewood earlier this year. They have a distinctly (but not solely) local focus, and a curated (but not only) book collection. Along with covers and pages, you’ll find gifts, toys, local music and more, all chosen with the owners Dan and Kerry Balog’s love of creative quirk.

Defunct Books 

118 S 11th Street, Nashville

Owner Greg Delzer brought Defunct Books our way from his former homes in Spokane, Washington and Iowa City, Iowa, picking up a new shop space near Five Points in East Nashville last year. If you’re crazy about rare, vintage or otherwise unusual books, this is definitely a place you’ll want to visit.


114B S 11th Street, Nashville

If you’re in charge of a young person, this place is a must stop. Parnassus gets (and deserves) a lot of credit for helping to ensure that Nashville continued to have an independent book presence. But Fairytales came first — it’s been open since 2008, providing kids and parents with fun and educational pages and gatherings, geared at inspiring a love of real, non-text-message reading in the folks who’ll be running our world a few decades from now. It’s a noble pursuit, and I’m glad the shop is still going strong despite the loss of owner Tammy Derr last November. There’s no better tribute to the dream she had, and realized.

Her Book Shop 

The Shoppes on Fatherland, Nashville

You might be getting a sense that East Nashville’s a bit of a hotbed for local literary lovers. I won’t argue. The East Nashvillian dropped news recently that the neighborhood’s about to get yet another indie book shop: Owner/writer Joelle Herr is aiming to open Her Nashville in June, stocking “a little of everything, with a slight focus on illustrated, gifty books.”

Hope you find time to visit all these places, Nashville book lovers. And, related, if you’re looking for a new home that fits your voracious literary appetite — a place with a killer library or study, maybe? — give me a call!  

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TJ Anderson

TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....

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