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Everyone knows that book lovers love stories that take place among books, amirite? The idea that the people involved in the story love books and reading just as much as we do, and the idea that they spend time with their friends as we like when we can. There is an element of metaness to the whole when you visit a world in which books actually exist, whether the people involved are reading them, writing them, producing them, or peddling them. (Because sometimes you read a book and you have the impression that the books don’t exist in the pages at all!)
Do you know which is the best kind of books among books? Bookstore novels. (Okay, I’d look into library novels a bit more, but I really like myself as a good bookstore novel!) Bookstore novels usually include at least one bookseller who enjoys their work, their store, and their books. books ! Sometimes the bookstore can be the heart of the story, or it can be the place where a cute or subsequent encounter happens that turns the tide of the story. Or maybe this is where one of the protagonists really learns what they want out of life. In any case, the bookstore is not just a place; it is a real setting.
Here are a few bookstore novels that have some time spent in the bookstore, but this store usually has a pretty big impact on the reader and romance.
An Unexpected Kind of Love by Hayden Stone
When bookstore Aubrey’s peaceful London street is taken over by a film company, he doesn’t think it could get any worse. But when the very sexy actor Blake offers to rent his store for the shoot, Aubrey can’t help but think that this is the only way to save his shop, admittedly failing. When their chemistry leads to something unexpected, Aubrey has more than a new relationship to think about.
Love through the books of Té Russ
What happens when a literary agent and a bookseller meet? They have the best, dumbest, most bookish dates imaginable. After Agent Carmen Jones (yes, that’s exactly her name and I love it) went out on her own, she had a bit of a rough start. But now things are improving. And when Sebastian watches her celebrate a big deal in her bookstore By the Books, he’s happy to offer to help her with her celebration plans.
Love Around the Corner by Sally Malcolm
If you want a version of You’ve got mail with a little less gaslighting (and a nice reminder to the original story), Love around the corner is a cute holiday novel about two men in love who don’t quite know it. Distant bookseller Leo and garage owner Alfie have been friends for a long time… online. But now it’s time for them to meet. But what will happen when the couple find out that they fundamentally hated each other IRL?
A duke disguised by Cat Sebastian
Radical bookseller Verity has been friends with Ash for years. Now that he lives above his bookstore, illustrating a book, the couple sees each other even more. So, when he finds out he’s a Duke’s long lost heir, his first thought is the life he might lose – and Verity with it.
Meet the cute club by Jack Harbon
Jordan runs a book club focused on romance. (Yes, it’s very meta.) When he goes to his local bookstore to buy copies of upcoming books, he meets new employee Rex, who laughs at the type of book. But when Rex shows up at the next book club meeting to prove his point, the couple start to learn more about each other and things go from there.
Me + Someone’s Son by Christina C. Jones
Haven and August run businesses on the same stretch of Main Street in Heights. Her florist and bookstore make a good pair when it comes to cross-advertising, and the two themselves have some pretty amazing chemistry. Having missed their chance to explore a relationship years ago, they think the time may be right to reconsider their options.
Taken by Charlotte Stein
Warning: YMMV for this one. When college student Rosie gets caught over a friend’s attempt to prank a rare book store, she finds herself trapped. Literally. The owner took her hostage in the basement of the store and handcuffed her to the bed. But what starts out as an interrogation becomes a conversation, and when he finally lets her go, well. Everything can happen.
Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles
The first of a trilogy with a guaranteed HEA at the end of the third volume, Slippery creatures First introduces us to Will Darling, a somewhat cranky veteran of the Great War who inherited a bookstore. When people come to ask questions (some nicely, some not), he gets involved in a very high stakes intrigue. When Kim offers to help, Will can’t help but agree. But there are definitely some things that aren’t what they seem, and Kim could be the center of it all.
And if you want more bookstore fun with KJ Charles, you can also check out A seditious affair, which involves, well, a riotous bookseller printing anti-government flyers from his basement.
Signed by Piper Vaughn
In another story involving a failed library, Bookmark introduces us to Mark, owner of the titular bookstore, and Shepherd, a local author. Mark knows that one way to help keep the lights on is to ask the reclusive perpetrator to sign, but there’s no way that will happen, right? Especially since the author has never made a public appearance. But that won’t stop him from trying.
Well met by Jen DeLuca
Emily moved to Willow Creek to help her sister after an accident. She’s at a point in her life when she’s trying to figure out what she wants and who she wants to be. When she finds out that part of helping her sister involves volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire because her niece is too young to volunteer on her own, she and the heavy English teacher who runs her, Simon, immediately get off to a bad start. Where does she not get off to a bad start? The local bookstore, which is run by a lovely person who always appreciates Emily’s help and encourages her interests.
There’s also a ton of contemporary fiction with romantic elements that showcase bookstores, like The bookish life of Nina Hill, How to find love in a bookstore, and probably anything by Jenny Corgan. These places are where we go to make life move, so of course they’re also there to help bring love.
Now that you’ve added these bookstore novels to your TBR, here are some more great bookstore books: