College kids and books go together like a keg and a red cup. You just can’t have one without the other! But if you’re sick of spending time in your college bookstore or would rather spend your (or your parents’) hard-earned money locally instead of with an online retailer, here are some wonderful local bookstores you should check out.
Cellar Stories is what a used bookstore should be and has the largest collection of rare books in RI. This second-story shop (what, you thought it was in the cellar?) is stacked to the rafters with literature. Seriously, there is no empty space! You could probably spend an entire day browsing without making it halfway through their selections. Fortunately, it is well-organized and easy to navigate. And they have every genre imaginable, including a rather large sci-fi wall, poetry, occult, foreign language, cookbooks, history — even a little elevated, fenced-in kids space. 111 Matthewson St, PVD. cellarstories.com
Books on the Square is small, but charming! Their best-sellers wall is always updated with the latest popular fiction and nonfiction. The back of the store is home to a decently sized children’s section, as well as an area specifically devoted to New England literature. They also host quite a few book readings (occasionally with complimentary wine and cheese!), author signings and book clubs. Grab a coffee at Starbucks right across the street before you stop in. Bonus: greeting cards, free parking in the back and a cell-phone free policy! Did I mention they’re pet friendly? 471 Angell St, PVD. booksq.com
Paper Nautilus is a peculiar and fantastical breed of bookstore. Even if you don’t like books (what?!), just visit for the eclectic charm and antique decorations. There are tons of nooks and crannies to read in, and even a brick patio out back. Great selection of trade paperbacks and unique finds such as old medical textbooks and letters by Vonnegut. An impressive gardening section as well! Plus, there is almost always a few boxes of $1 books lying around. Jackpot! 5 S Angell St, PVD. papernautilusbooks.com
Ada Books, though super small, is wonderfully and carefully curated with a vast selection of our-of-print editions, graphic novels, zines and biographies. You’ll also find work from indie and local authors. Though primarily a used bookstore, everything here is in fantastic condition — and inexpensive to boot! They also have a great selection of literary and cultural magazines like McSweeney’s and The Believer. Though there is little space to curl up and read, you can always bring your treasures next door to White Electric and sip a cup of local joe. 717 Westminster St, PVD. ada-books.com
Symposium Books has is a sophisticated shop with a lot of character. They carry a large selection of coffee table books, philosophy and graphic novels. For fiction, this is heaven on earth! You won’t find the typical best-sellers here, but you will certainly discover an amazing collection of classics, local lit and contemporary authors. Plus, they have a gigantic and beautiful assortment of art books. High quality offerings in an offbeat and obscure atmosphere. 240 Westminster St, PVD. symposiumbooks.com