• September 5, 2023
  • Lauren Critzer
  • 0

Discover Austin’s Literary Landscape: Five Must-Visit Bookshops

When you think about Austin, Texas, live music venues, tantalizing Tex-Mexfood, and scenic nature trails may immediately paint a picture in your mind. But did you know the city holds rich, vibrant literary landscapes that are just waiting to be explored? So, book lovers, unite! Allow us to show you around through a literary lens and welcome you to a world of passionate page-turners. Let’s dive with us into Austin’s top five bookshops every bibliophile must visit.

BookPeople: Champion of Independent Bookstores

An authentic Texan landmark, BookPeople has been fueling Austin’s literary scene since 1970. Hearts beating in rhythm to the fantastic world of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, this independent bookstore is an absolute paradise for Austin’s bibliophiles. Located smack-dab in the heart of downtown Austin, BookPeople proudly embraces the Austin spirit – a free-spirited charm that echoes through its book-laden shelves.

Key Highlights:

  • Comprises of two whole stories, packed with books, a coffee shop, and even a kids’ area. Their collection caters to all tastes and of all genres.
  • Host of prolific book clubs and engaging author events, making it a rendezvous for true book junkies.
  • Offers a unique array of gift items, quirky merchandise that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • The bookstore has crafted the “Local Authors’ Shelf,” giving local authors a platform to shine and readers a window into the city’s talents.

Here, every nook has a story to tell, every cranny is host to a new literary journey. The staff, many of them authors themselves, are always ready with stellar book recommendations. The moment you walk into BookPeople, you will be immediately immersed in the vibrant Austin literary scene.

Half Price Books: A Haven for Budget Bookworms

Beloved by locals and tourists alike, Half Price Books is a thrifty bookworm’s dream. Offering an extensive collection of used books, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl records at, you guessed it – half price. The North Lamar Boulevard location is the largest among the multiple locations around the city.

Key Highlights:

  • Stacks upon stacks of used books across every conceivable genre, your literary gems are waiting to be discovered.
  • Promotes a sustainable reading culture by buying back used books, recycling them into new adventures for others to embark.
  • Discounts and weekly storytimes, making it a hotspot for budget-friendly family outings.

At Half Price Books, it’s not only about the price but also about giving books a second life. Don’t forget to sift through their comic book and record sections, where you could stumble upon a rare vinyl or first-issue comic!

Malvern Books: The Gem of Indie Publishing

Malvern Books is where Austin’s book scene deviates from the mainstream. Nestled in an unassuming, quirky corner of West Campus, it champions literature and poetry from independent publishers worldwide and fosters a culture that values diversity, intellectualism, and inclusion.

Key Highlights:

  • Specializes in new works from across the globe, primarily featuring lesser-known, independent publishers.
  • Boasts an active calendar filled with innovative book readings, thought-provoking group discussions, and vibrant poetry nights.
  • Introduces a substantial discount on a featured Book of the Week, bringing readers closer to new content and authors.

Malvern is more than just a shop; it’s a living, breathing manifestation of Austin’s thriving alternative literary scene. Every venture into this quaint bookshop comes with the temptation of returning with an armful of eccentric literary treasures.

South Congress Books: The Vintage Bibliophile’s Paradise

Heading south on Congress Avenue, you’ll stumble upon the vintage haven – South Congress Books. Specializing in rare, out-of-print books, and vintage paperbacks, this bookshop combines the thrill of treasure hunting with the serenity of literature.

Key Highlights:

  • Their collection brims with rare first editions, collectors’ items, and signed editions from a pantheon of great authors.
  • They offer gently used, high-quality books spanning across all genres and periods. Their vintage collection is particularly irresistible.
  • The staff members, astute and friendly, are ever-prepared to guide you through their carefully curated collection.

Stepping into South Congress Books, you step back in time. Whether you’re a fan of 19th-century literature or intrigued by books that smell of history, this bookshop offers many surprises for the adventurous bibliophile.

Austin Books & Comics: For the Fan at Heart

Established in 1977, Austin Books & Comics has been a nerd nirvana for generations of comic book fans and pop-culture enthusiasts. It’s not just any bookstore, but a widely-recognized leader of comic and pop culture in Central Texas.

Key Highlights:

  • Home to one of the most expansive collections of comics in Central Texas, as well as an incredible range of graphic novels and manga.
  • Sports an extensive collection of comic-centric merchandise that will make any pop-culture fan squeal with delight.
  • Regularly hosts events, signings, game nights, and promotions that transform reading into a collective, entertaining affair.

Marvel fan, DC enthusiast, pop-culture devotee – you name it, Austin Books & Comics has it. But more than that, it is a hub for fans to connect, engage, and share their passions, making it a vital part of Austin’s pop culture landscape.

Austin’s literary world is as diverse as it is inviting, a melting pot of creative minds and lively words. These five bookshops exude their literary charm that manifests in Austin’s rich cultural tapestry. They serve as shopping nodes, cultural hubs, conversation sparkers, idea hatcheries, and literary think tanks.

Our guide to Austin’s literary landscape is not only about buying books. It’s about immersing yourself in Austin’s vibrant culture, rubbing elbows with local authors, grabbing coffee with fellow literature enthusiasts, and digging into Austin’s soul through the pages of a book.

Dive into the heart of Austin’s bookshops, unravel the intriguing stories, discover poignant books, engage with inspiring characters, and everything in between. So pack your curiosity, ignite your imagination, and come book-hopping through Austin’s unique literary scene.

Welcome to Austin’s literary landscape — a melting pot of mesmerizing words, captivating stories and an ardent community that lives and breathes books. This is where each book lover truly feels at home. With this guide to Austin’s top bookshops in hand, the city’s literary world is yours to explore.

Lauren Critzer

I was born in Charlottesville, Virginia and after college, I moved to San Francisco to explore new opportunities and broaden my horizons. I fell in love with the city's vibrant culture and unique atmosphere, but eventually, I moved again, this time to Austin, Texas.

As much as I loved living in different parts of the country, having a baby boy brought me back to my hometown in Charlottesville, where I now live with my husband, our little one, and two furry friends. I enjoy going to wineries, taking my pups everywhere, and spending quality time with my family.

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