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Hassenfeld Library: Local Literary Life

Independent Bookstores in Middle TN

 Image credit: Parnassus Books

The Bookshop, Nashville, TN
Located in East Nashville, The Bookshop (formerly known as Her Bookshop) is owned by Joelle Herr, an author, editor, and book lover of the highest degree. Herr calls the shop "a nook for people who love beautiful books."

East Side Story, Nashville, TN
East Side Story is Nashville's only all-local bookstore and was first inspired by all of the creative talent that is evident in the Nashville area. It encourages, supports, cultivates, and provides a platform for local writers to tell their best story.

Elder's Bookstore, Nashville, TN
Elder's Bookstore specializes in hard to find, out of print, used, and rare books. Charles Elder started the bookstore during the depths of the Great Depression. His son, Randy, took over the business after Charles retired. In its 78th year, Elder's Bookstore is the oldest general bookstore in continuous operation in Nashville and the state of Tennessee.

Fairytales Bookstore and More, Nashville, TN
Owned by John and Tammy Derr, Fairytales Bookstore and More is located in East Nashville. They offer unique and educational toys, games, books, and crafting supplies, sourcing eco-friendly vendors whenever possible. They are are committed to community involvement and to supporting local artists.

Grimey's, Nashville, TN
Grimey's is best known as one of Nashville's premier record stores, but they also have a well-curated selection of books! They carry a little bit of everything, with a heavy dose of music books, of course.

Landmark Booksellers, Franklin, TN
Located a few blocks off the town square, Landmark Booksellers offers over 60,000 new and hard to find rare books, including over 1,500 signed first editions. The location of the bookstore has a rich history. The building was formerly known as The Old Factory Store and has had visitors such as Andrew Jackson and Davy Crockett.

McKay's, Nashville, TN and Chattanooga, TN
Founded in 1974, McKay's Books offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for their customers. McKay's is well known for their huge selection of previously loved books, movies, video games, music, and more. Customers can buy and sell merchandise, and there are many seasonal and special events to attend.

Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN
Parnassus Books is an independent bookstore co-owned by author Ann Patchett and publishing veteran Karen Hayes. The bookstore offers fantastic selections of literature, non-fiction, children’s, local interests, and the arts, as well as an extensive local author section.

Reading Rocks Books, Dickson, TN
Located in historic downtown Dickson, Reading Rock Books is a family business owned by sisters Amy Jernigan and Laura Hill. They have made it their mission to provide excellent customer service and to inspire a deep love of books and reading.

Rhino Booksellers, Nashville, TN
Locally owned and operated, Rhino Booksellers specializes in lightly read books and collectible first editions. They also offer a large selection of vinyl records (jazz, rock, blues, folk, world, reggae, classical, and more!). Owner Fred Koller loves the Sylvan Park location since it is right in the midst of Nashville's community of creative talent.

Local Literary Links

 Image credit: Masters Review

Parnassus Books Events

Offers author appearances, book signings, and other special events free to the public. 

The Porch Writers' Collective

A community dedicated to writing and fellowship, The Porch Writers' Collective invites people to come together to enjoy expression through conversation, story, and song.


Presents best-selling authors free to the public through partnership between Nashville Public Library, Humanities Tennessee, Parnassus Books and the Nashville Public Library Foundation.

SLANT: Student Literary Artists of Nashville Tennessee

Katie McDougall and Susannah Felts, co-founders of the Porch Writers' Collective, started SLANT (Student Literary Artists of Nashville, TN) as a way to offer free creative writing classes to local high school students. McDougall provides details of the program and its evolution in the article.

Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival

Murfreesboro now hosts YA authors for the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival (SE-YA Book Fest). The goal of the festival is to connect teenagers with authors to inspire an excitement for literacy.

The Southern Festival of Books

A free event that offers readers and writers an opportunity to create a public community that promotes and celebrates the joy of reading and of lifelong learning. Each year the Festival brings to Nashville approximately 200 of the nation's and region's most prominent authors on the second full weekend in October.

Southern Word: Nashville Youth Poet Laureate

Southern Word is a program that helps students in Nashville connect to their talents and education through literary and performing arts. Southern Word connects students to programs and workshops that connect them to other writers and help develop their art. They are also one of the collaborators that choose Nashville's Youth Poet Laureate each year. 

Vanderbilt Spoken Word

A performance poetry group that celebrates self expression and diversity in thoughts, ideas, and perspectives.

Vanderbilt Visiting Writers Series

Brings writers to the Vanderbilt campus to read from their work and visit classes. This program gives our students, faculty, and the Nashville community  a chance to meet and talk with some of the best writers of our day.

Women's National Book Association Inc. Nashville Chapter

Promoting literacy and literary discussions, the Women's National Book Association offers networking opportunities, book discussion groups, and a reading series.