Book Eddy

It’s that time of year where everyone is looking for gift ideas for friends and family.  The holidays can be a madhouse, so why not keep it simple and check off as much as you can at once?  Today’s post covers where to find books in Knoxville, so literally READ ON!

Union Avenue Books Store Front

1. Union Avenue Books

This shop checks all the boxes – locally owned, independent, hosts events, and carries books for all walks of life.  Whether you’re shopping for children or teens, looking for fiction or non-fiction, you’re sure to find it here (and if you don’t, they can order it).  They are located on – surprise – Union Avenue in the heart of downtown.  Conveniently next to Pearl on Union, a bright café perfect for sipping a latte as you turn the pages.  There are several other stores on Union Avenue, nearby Market Square, and Gay Street so if you’re shopping local you’re going to have no problem find something for everyone on your list.  For the locals (or if you just happen to have read a particular book and are in town), they have three book clubs; one for Southern Literature enthusiasts,  the Perfect Union Book Group for quick (200 page) reads, and one for just straight up Bookaholics.  Check their calendar often, as they frequently host readings, author meet-n-greets, and other presentations. 

2. Book Eddy

This is the cutest hole in the wall type of shop and we mean that in the best possible way.  Sandwiched between Mid-Mod Collective (a furniture store focused on all things mid-century modern), and Wild Love Bakehouse (named best bakery in the US by Afar Magazine in 2017), the Book Eddy is a great place to lose yourself amongst the shelves.  They are also independent and specialize in rare, antiquarian, and out-of-print books and ephemera.  If you like that ‘book smell’ (ahh!) this is the best place ever.

3. Scruffy City Books

This shop in east Knoxville is full of used books, but be forewarned – they are only open one weekend per month.  If you’re interested in stocking up, head to their Facebook page first to see when they’re open.  They’ve got a great selection of audiobooks, perfect to stock up on for a drive home from Knoxville or your next road trip.

Smart Toys & Books Interior table with chairs

4. Smart Toys & Books

This shop in west Knoxville is the hot spot for the younger set – they even have an interactive playground!  They also host classes and events so take a look at their calendar if you’re in town.  They’re in a plaza called Franklin Square, so if you’ll be there in the morning you can grab some diner style-breakfast or lunch at Sami’s Café, or if you’re around for dinner, you won’t regret a meal at The Chop House.

McKays store front and parking lot

5. McKays

This one could be considered a regional chain, with five total locations.  Tennessee has locations in Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville; and North Carolina has locations in Greensboro and Winston-Salem.   They have more used books than you have ever seen, and also carry movies, music, video games and more.  The Knoxville location is off the Northshore/Papermill exit with lots of things to do nearby as it is situated between Bearden and the West Hills/West Town Mall area.  This page has ideas for things to do based by neighborhoods, so go ahead and explore!

Vintage Treasures interior with bookshelves

Bonus places to find books:

Elusive Editions inside Vintage Treasures

Vintage Treasures is a shop in Bearden that has several booths inside.  Elusive Editions is one of those, and they have a variety of offerings including Local/Regional History, Classic Lit, Civil War, War of 1812, American Revolution, Nature, Science, and more. 

Knoxville County Library System

Knoxville’s library system is awesome, and the downtown location (Lawson McGhee Library) has a used book shop supported by the Friends of the Knox County Public Library.  They have several sales throughout the year, and one MASSIVE annual sale in the Jacob Building at Chilhowee Park.  Mark your calendar for March 28-30, 2020 for the next one.  Oh yeah, they have a book club too.

Visit Knoxville

Shameless plug alert, our visitor center’s gift shop carries books about this wonderful city we call home.  Many other attractions carry books in their gift shops too, so whether you like art, history, nature, etc. you’re sure to add something new to your shelves.  Be sure to read this post about some attraction gift shops, and this post about stocking stuffers for local book lovers.

There are also a wide variety of book clubs in Knoxville, including the Silent Book Club hosted at The Empty Cup in west Knoxville, and the UT Gardens Book Club hosted at the University of Tennessee Botanical Gardens.  Even the Lonesome Dove offers Tuesday night specials to ladies holding their book clubs – perfect for those who think steak and stories go hand in hand!