Titcomb’s Bookshop East Sandwich

We loved visiting the bountiful Titcomb’s Bookshop in East Sandwich on Cape Cod. The shop offers a wide array of new releases, classics, children’s books, toys, and gifts. The walls to the downstairs children’s area are hand-painted with flowers, bunnies, and bumblebees. We especially loved their many excellent staff picks. We could have spent all day at Titcomb’s, and nearly did! The wrought iron colonial man statue out front was crafted by Ted Titcomb, the eldest son of founder Ralph Titcomb 50 years ago. With a fresh coat of paint every other year, “Colonial Man” has been a local landmark for half a century. On the day of our visit, he was looking a little grumpy due to a futile effort to keep his book dry in a thunderstorm.

This decades old family business changed its name from The Paper Barn to Titcomb’s Bookshop in the 70s. A business that began inside an abandoned barn grew to a thriving 3-story retail store selling new and old books, toys, games, puzzles and cards.  Titcomb’s has enjoyed a warm relationship with customers and authors alike, including visiting writers Geraldine Brooks, Jodi Picoult, Alice Hoffman, Henry Winkler, Jeff Kinney and Jan Brett. In 2022, Titcomb’s won the Independent Spirit Award presented by the Book Publishers Representatives of New England (BPRNE), recognizing the New England independent bookstore of the year.

In addition to new releases, Titcomb’s offers many deep resources, including works on local indigenous culture and history.

Staff picks are abundant and excellent.



Bookmans of Flagstaff

A third generation Flagstaff local told us not to miss this jewel of the town, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange. We were not disappointed. The store, which also has locations in Tuscon, Phoenix, and Mesa, radiates creativity, innovation, and charming wackiness. The staff is friendly, helpful, inquisitive, and fun to be around. They speak out against censorship and promote freedom of expression. The store includes comfy chairs and eclectic spaces that invite conversation and connection. No wonder it’s a favorite of local college students. The store also supports community-based and national literacy programs. They firmly believe it is never too late to foster a love of reading. We enjoyed a delicious latte and cafe Americano in their wonderful cafe. Books on display included fabulous authors such as Carys Davies, Tommy Orange, Richard Powers and a personal favorite, Joy Harjo.

From June 1 through September 1, 2024, Bookmans offers a “Buy-9-Get-the-10th-Free” program that benefits the local community. For every card you complete and turn in, Bookmans will donate a free book to a local literacy non-profit.

Continue reading “Bookmans of Flagstaff”

Bright Side Bookshop Flagstaff

What a delight it was to visit Bright Side Bookshop, a beloved gathering space in the heart of downtown Flagstaff. They offer an amazing selection of new fiction, nonfiction, YA and children’s books. Their thousands of titles include new releases and old classics. Their diverse collection of novels, memoirs, biographies, reference materials, and graphic novels is lovingly curated by their devoted staff with the aim of representing local, national, and international work that provides opportunities for discovery and conversation.

Bright Side Bookshop, formerly known as the “Barefoot Cowgirl Bookstore,” was purchased in 2017 by long-time Flagstaff locals Annette Avery and husband & wife duo Ben Shaffer and Lisa Lamberson with the intention of developing a dynamic and versatile space for community interaction and events. Together they work with publishing reps and distributors to decide which of the nearly 2,000 new books released every Tuesday will make it onto their shelves. The store frequently hosts authors signings and events. Bright Side has become a beloved staple in the Flagstaff community.

For us, the best aspect of Bright Side is the generous and detailed selection of staff picks, which included work by Miranda July, Nana Kwame Adeji-Brenyah, Ed Yong, Ann Patchett, Rebecca Makkai, and Alexander Chee.

Below are a few of their booksellers with their areas of interest and links to their picks. There’s gold in here! Continue reading “Bright Side Bookshop Flagstaff”

Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix

We had the pleasure of visiting Changing Hands Bookstore on West Camelback Road in Phoenix, one of their three locations, and home to their own First Draft Book Bar, which serves wine, beer, and coffee. Changing Hands has another Phoenix store at The Newton, an innovative adaptive reuse project that re-purposed the iconic Beef Eaters restaurant. The original Changing Hands location, founded in 1974, is in Tempe. Changing Hands is one of Arizona’s leading independent bookstores, offering new and used books, gifts, and more than 300 author events every year.

Changing Hands began in 1971 when Tom Broderson, Gayle Shanks, and Bob Sommer—all volunteers at an alternative school in Phoenix—discovered that they shared a common vision of working at a bookstore. They envisioned a socially responsible, environmentally sound business that would also be a community gathering place. A few years later their fantasy became a reality when Tom bought a small, struggling used bookstore for $500, which included books, bookcases, and an ancient cash register. Since that store was losing its lease, the books were packed up until a new location could be found. Continue reading “Changing Hands Bookstore Phoenix”

15 Black-Owned Bookstores to Support Right Now

You may have seen many anti-racist reading lists being shared in the past few weeks. We’ve compiled a list of Black-owned bookstores from across the country, most of which offer online orders, so that you can support Black-owned businesses while educating yourself. This list is by no means exhaustive—please comment and tell us which bookstores we should add!

Ashay by the Bay

One of the best Black children’s bookstores.

Location: Vallejo, CA

Owner: Deborah Day

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: African History Collection (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Beyond Barcodes Bookstore

Books, coffee, community.

Location: Kokomo, IN

Owner: DeAndra Beard

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Revolutionary Gardening (list)

Connect: Twitter | Facebook

The Black Reserve Bookstore

Location: Lansdale, PA

Owner: Shaykh Anwar Muhammad

Online orders: No

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Brain Lair Books

Difficult conversations in a fun place.

Location: South Bend, IN

Owner: Kathy Burnette

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Pride (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Cafe con Libros

An intersectional feminist community bookstore and coffee shop.

Location: Brooklyn, New York, NY

Owner: Kalima DeSuze

Online orders: Yes

Book clubs: Womxn of Color | Feminists

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Enda’s Booktique

Books written by, for, and about women.

Location: Duncanville, TX

Owner: Enda Jean Pemberton Jones

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: SHElf Empowerment (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Eyeseeme African American Children’s Bookstore

Committed to increasing childhood literacy and promoting multicultural literature.

Location: University City, MO

Owners: Jeffrey & Pamela Blair

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: AntiRacist Collection (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Frugal Bookstore

Changing minds one book at a time.

Location: Roxbury, MA

Owners: Leonard & Clarissa Egerton

Online orders: Yes

Connect: Facebook

Harriett’s Bookshop

Celebrating women authors, artists, and activists.

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Owner: Jeannine A. Cook

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

The Lit. Bar

The only bookstore currently serving the Bronx.

Location: The Bronx, New York, NY

Owner: Noëlle Santos

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Dear White People (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Loyalty Bookstore

Centering Black, PoC, and Queer voices.

Locations: Washington, D.C. & Silver Spring, MD

Owner: Hannah Oliver Depp

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Social Distance Reading (list)

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook


An award-winning bookstore that sells books for, by, and about people of the African Diaspora.

Location: Washington, D.C.

Owners: Derrick & Ramunda Young

Online orders: Yes

Recommended reading: Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington

Book club: MahoganyBooks & Very Smart Brothas

Connect: Facebook | Twitter

Marcus Books

The oldest independent Black bookstore in the country.

Location: Oakland, CA

Online orders: In progress—stay tuned

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Mocha Books

Creating a path to visibility for BIPOC indie writers.

Location: Tulsa, OK

Owner: Shionka McGlory

Online orders: Yes

Book club: Youth Book Club

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook

Turning Page Bookshop

Spreading love for good books and giving back to the community.

Location: Goose Creek, SC

Owners: Valinda Miller & Arrylee Satterfield

Online orders: Yes

Connect: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook