A Tour of Pittsburgh Bookstores

Guest post by Sarah Steers, WPLLA Board Member-at-Large

I’ll bet a group full of law librarians loves books.  Members of WPLLA are in luck!  There’s no shortage of great, independent, locally-owned and operated bookstores here in the Pittsburgh area.

This article does not serve as an endorsement of any of the stores listed below.  Think of it more like thoughtfully curated examples of places you could check out if you’re ever bored and looking for something new or different.

There are some oldies-but-goodies: the Penguin Bookshop  has been in Sewickley since 1929.  Its homepage proudly lists upcoming events, including author readings.  If you check its “Signed Books” page, you could even snag a copy of a text signed by your favorite author!

Caliban Books has also been in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh for quite some time.  Full Disclosure: Caliban Books holds a special place in my heart. Once, when I was very young and very broke, I spent more than reasonable on a copy of Writings and Drawings by Bob Dylan.  It was perched precariously in the window of Caliban Books and I had to have it.  I still have it.  If you’re into music, the storefront also houses Desolation Row, a specialty music shop.

Take a peek in Amazing Books and Records with locations in Downtown and Squirrel Hill.  It’s open during regular business hours, but closed Saturdays – perfect for WPLLA members who work Downtown and need to get away for 20 minutes during lunch.  It might be an even better spot if you’re an avid vinyl collector!

For those of you in the East End, the East End Book Exchange has a permanent home in Bloomfield after starting in 2011 as a pop-up bookstore exhibiting in locations as varied as the Strip District, Wilkinsburg, and Braddock.  It runs a Pittsburgh Authors Consignment Program, focusing on local Pittsburgh authors and local publishers.

Have an addiction to a specific genre?

Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont carries over 6,000 titles in every sub-category that could be included under the mystery umbrella and hosts a number of events with readings by some pretty acclaimed authors!

Copacetic Comics Company in Polish Hill has an eclectic stash of comics.  This could be an interesting store to watch as the genre becomes more mainstream overall, but individual authors and artists hope to retain their originality and voice.

Spaces Corners in Troy Hill operates as both a project space and a bookstore.  It showcases art in its gallery and focuses on photography books.

If 2017 has made you want to get up and get involved, head over to The Big Idea Bookstore. It’s a not-for-profit collective, so if you fall in love, you can train to volunteer there.  Since October 2016, it has even hosted monthly brunch fundraisers to help pay the legal fees of local residents arrested during area (and national) protests.

Pittsburgh is a big city, with unique stores and bright, enterprising people.  If I missed your favorite bookstore, send WPLLA an email and I’ll update the list ASAP!

One thought on “A Tour of Pittsburgh Bookstores

  1. This is great – I was just telling a friend that if I had time I would like to set up a site on local bookstores because they are so tucked away and all seem deserving of patronage, thanks for doing this for all of us, an outstanding tour. There are also Classic Lines in Squirrel Hill and Nine Stories Booksellers under the same roof as Caffe D’Amore in Upper Lawrenceville


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