The new year is a perfect time to make a resolution to READ MORE BOOKS.  Today’s post covers where to find books in Knoxville, so literally READ ON!

Union Ave Books

Union Avenue Books ​

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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 Mahalo Coffee Roasters, 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 (virtually at time of publication). 

2. Book Eddy
The Book Eddy (formerly at the north Knoxville location next to Mid Mod Collective and Wild Love Bakehouse) is also independent and specializes in rare, antiquarian, and out-of-print books and ephemera.  They have moved and are now inside the Bargain Hunters in south Knoxville (SoKno).

The Bookshop at The Bottom

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Bookstore at the Bottom

3. The Bookshop at The Bottom
The Bottom is a hub to get plugged into the local Black community, and stands as a multi-use place to foster change and provide comfort.  Their work is grounded in place based socio-historic explorations of Black life in Knoxville, and a place to feel welcomed, feel encouraged, and feel seen.  Visit their independent Bookshop in East Knoxville which carries a curated selection of Black books. Find them just behind Marc Nelson Denim.

Smart Toys & Books

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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. McKay
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!

Bonus Places to Find Books

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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.  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!