8 Thriving Bookstores in Durham

various books on shelves and tabletop with colorful abstract art hanging above on the wall
Letters Bookshop in Durham, NC

Thriving bookstores in Durham mean that print is alive and well.  Even in today’s high-tech world of iPads, Kindles, and Nooks, people still like to read physical books. With eight independent bookstores in Durham, it is a fantastic destination
for the well-read traveler.

Though Durham has our fair share of digitally inclined businesses, we also
have a strong team of booksellers making sure that plenty of good old-fashioned
books are available to
the public.  The following is a literary tour of Durham:

Letters Bookshop logo


  • Letters:
    We start in the heart of Downtown Durham at Letters. This bright,
    modern bookstore is the newest member of Durham’s bookselling scene,
    having opened in December 2013. Large windows facing Main Street make for
    great window shopping and even better browsing. The shop focuses on
    contemporary fiction, but there are also shelves dedicated to children’s
    and young adult fiction, poetry, cultural studies, and more. Letters is
    primarily a used book store, with some featured new books, which means
    prices are very reasonable. They also offer special orders so they can
    bring in a new copy of anything you’re looking for.
sign for Wentworth & Leggett Rare Books Brightleaf Square Durham


  • Wentworth and Leggett Rare Books:
    Head west down Main St. and you’ll come to Brightleaf Square, a
    renovated tobacco warehouse that contains, along with other things,
    Wentworth and Leggett Rare Books. With piles and piles of old, rare,
    and antique books, it’s like walking into a museum – only one where you
    can take the items home. Wentworth and Leggett also carries prints,
    maps, political buttons, postcards, and magazines – some of which date
    back hundreds of years. It’s a must see for anyone who has a penchant
    for the past, as well as those who simply love the history of
Sign for Nice Price Books Raleigh & Durham, NC


  • Nice Price Books: A little further west on Broad St. you’ll find the first of the Ninth Street District‘s three bookstores, Nice Price Books. As the name suggests, this is
    another used book store that aims to fill your bookshelves without
    emptying your wallet. The store is large and almost labyrinthine, with
    shelves stacked floor to ceiling with books that range across more
    subjects than we could possibly list here. Nice Price also offers
    records and CDs (there are physical copies of music as
    well!), meaning that it’s a place where you can easily lose hours
    searching through bins and shelves and stacks for all kinds of cultural
    ephemera. They buy from customers as well, meaning there are always new
    gems coming in the door (and you might be able to trade out some of
    those old classics you’re tired of in exchange for a new adventure).
Books Do Furnish A Room sign


  • Books Do Furnish a Room:
    Just a half block away from Nice Price is Books Do Furnish a Room. It’s
    an easy-to-miss store set back from Markham Avenue behind Heavenly Buffaloes.
    Take a walk inside and you’ll find another impressive collection of
    books, records, tapes, cassettes, and comics. The stacks twist round
    and round through the right half of the store, so you can continue your
    exploration of publishing history through all kinds of subjects. Books
    Do Furnish a Room – as you might expect from the name – is a unique
    experience where you can explore all kinds of interests without any post-shopping remorse.
The Regulator Bookshop 919-286-2700 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705


  • Regulator Bookshop:
    Another block away on Ninth St. is the Regulator Bookshop, a local
    favorite that won the Indy Week’s Best of the Triangle 2013 award for
    best local bookstore. This beloved Durham store features new releases,
    as well as a smaller used section. They also have a space for events and
    often host readings and book signings with authors. Swing by to peruse
    the new bestsellers or ask for a recommendation from the knowledgeable
    staff, and soak in the local literary community at one of its hotspots.


Duke University Stores sign with picture of campus buildings
  • The Gothic Bookshop: The last stop near downtown is the Gothic Bookshop, nestled in the corner of Duke University‘s
    Bryan University Center. With chest-high shelves and plenty of light,
    it’s a welcoming atmosphere to browse works of philosophy,
    African-American studies, poetry, and more. There is also a collection
    of books penned by Duke’s own professors, including both creative works
    and groundbreaking academic studies. Stop by on a tour of Duke’s
    gorgeous West Campus and leave with a personal copy of the work done
    there – as well as a T-shirt from the University Store next door.
Atomic Empire Sign with Atom logo


  • Atomic Empire:
    A few miles south on Hwy. 15-501 in the South Square area is Atomic
    Empire, a comic book and board game with a strong local following. Stop
    by to browse the newest releases from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and other
    favorites. Atomic also hosts weekly events, including open board game
    nights, nights dedicated to particular games, and book swaps so you can
    meet new folks and expand your tastes. They also have eight beers on tap
    with special brewery nights for those 21 and up.
Ultimate Comics Logo


  • Ultimate Comics: A few more miles out on Hwy. 54, near Woodcroft, is our last stop at
    Ultimate Comics. Filled with comics new and old, as well as graphic
    novels, action figures, and other collectibles, this shop is another
    community stronghold for comic aficionados. They also offer a subscriber
    program so you can stay up to date and never miss a new issue. They
    even offer free shipping once a month visitors of Morehead Manor can stop by to check out the rest of the stock while you’re in town
    and have the comics delivered right to your home.

Looking for a relaxing getaway in Durham, North Carolina?  Visit Morehead Manor Bed and Breakfast for luxurious accommodations.  We are named the number one Black-Owned Bed and Breakfast in America by Black Enterprise.  We host guests from all over the world and we’d be happy to have you stay as well!

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