Cincinnati Bookstore Trail

Photo by Brian Erickson on Unsplash

I’m always on the hunt for a great bookstore to add to my list and recommend to others. My dream of owning a Bookish BNB would be complete by including a bookstore trail for my guests to enjoy while they are visiting. I’ve seen trails for bourbon, donuts, chocolate, and most things edible, BUT I have yet to see a full-out bookstore trail so I am hoping to get this show on the road in the Queen City of Cincinnati! There IS one I started following in London (Bluestocking Books UK – London Bookshops Tours) that I’ll be sure to visit my next trip across the pond. For now though, let’s take a look at a sampling of bookstores in the Greater Cincinnati area I’d include on the trail. Eventually, I want to make an interactive map, design a logo, and create a passport with accompanying stamps!

Joseph-Beth Booksellers


A smaller chain of bookstores in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, Joseph-Beth Booksellers is a go-to for unique events. As seen here, they’ve participated in a month long Harry Potter birthday celebration. There are countless author visits and book readings as well as a cute cafe attached to enjoy your latest purchase over a good meal! The children’s and young adult section is fully stocked as I love to participate in their annual winter holiday book-giving event for kids wishing for the gift of reading during the season.


The Bookshelf



The definition of a great local, indie bookstore, The Bookshelf has wonderful curated selections of books to choose from. I love the structure of the store with the tucked away entrance amidst a beautiful brick arch and a bay window with the booksellers picks and recommendations. It has been around for 40 years and I’m hopeful they aren’t going anywhere!

Books & Brews



One of the newest additions to the Greater Cincinnati area, Books & Brews is “a place for people without a place.” Tucked away in Oxford, Ohio, this brewery and bookstore hosts a wide range of events for all demographics to create an inclusive environment. It has the feel of a Little Free Library of take a book, leave a book, but one can always purchase the discounted yet quality books from the shelves around the space. Additionally, make sure to pick up some bookish gear like checkout card tote bags, Shakespeare pencil pouches, or Clifford socks!

Iris Bookcafe



One of my favorite locations downtown to grab a light breakfast and get some work done, the Iris Bookcafe has used books and a beautiful photo gallery adorning the walls. The deeper you go into the store, the more you will find including cozy reading nooks and study spaces. It is a cultural oasis downtown with its wide range of vintage books in genres such as architecture, drama, children’s books, and those in foreign languages.


Roebling Point Books and Coffee


Photo Credit: USA Today


A quieter space for bookworms in the area, Roebling has overstuffed couches and quaint nooks throughout the shop as you walk past the cafe by the front door. Part of Covington, KY (directly across the river from Cincinnati), it has a community feel as it is nestled in the neighborhoods of town.

Booksellers of Fountain Square


Photo Credit: Cincinnati USA


This was one of the first bookstores I visited when I first moved to Cincinnati. Located in the heart of downtown on Fountain Square, this charming bookshop offers a wide array of books as well as supporting local authors. I loved seeing the personalized recommendations along the shelves from the staff members. The countertop faces out into downtown so you can take in the hustle and bustle of the city as you sip a coffee from their in-store cafe or get lost in one of their books from the shelf.

Smith & Hannon


Photo Credit: Cincinnati Enquirer


Smith & Hannon quickly grabbed my attention since it moved from the Freedom Center to its own space in Over-the-Rhine (OTR) recently. Their mission is to “create a community space where readers of every age could meet to read, connect and gain exposure and access to African American literature and authors.” It’s a quaint bookshop with a lot to offer in terms of representation and quality literature in the eclectic part of Cincinnati. The connection with the Freedom Center is strong regardless of the physical locations of each building.

Cincy Book Bus


Photo Credit: CityBeat


Melanie with the Cincy Book Bus is an absolute joy to meet and her passion for books and literacy shines through. I had the pleasure of meeting with Melanie when she first got started around the city. It has been tremendous to see the growth of her book bus and the reach with her mission. Of course this is not a brick and mortar bookstore and that is what adds to the charm: it is accessible since it can come to you! I have seen it pop-up at coffee shops, flea markets, book clubs, and so much more! You do not want to miss it when it rolls through your neighborhood!

Share some other bookstore trails you’ve come across!

6 thoughts on “Cincinnati Bookstore Trail

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