Let’s Get Lit-erary: Indie bookstores to check out in Connecticut 


Independent bookstores often take a backseat to the convenience of Amazon or Barnes & Noble, but they are deserving of so much love. While shopping indie may be on the pricier side, supporting a local bookstore goes a long way both economically and environmentally.  

Authors and publishers have also begun to push supporting indie retailers, sending readers exclusive pre-order gifts after they submit proof of purchase from an independent bookstore.  

Not to mention, indie bookstores typically have some sort of local flair; many stores go all out highlighting their regional history, authors and small businesses. 

Plus, when you shop indie, you’re not only paying for a novel but an experience in and of itself. Try swapping out your visits to Barnes & Noble and their Starbucks for an excursion to one of these independent bookstores:  

Atticus Bookstore Cafe – New Haven, CT 

Atticus is a hybrid bookstore and cafe located in the Yale Center for British Art. The original store has been open since 1975, with its second location, Atticus Market, opening in 2021. Atticus is well known for its hearty soups and breads, along with its frequent author events. The glass-fronted store is more modern in terms of look and aesthetic but remains a delightfully cozy environment.  

RJ Julia Booksellers – Madison, CT 

Located right by the shoreline, RJ Julia Booksellers is a cozy spot with a carefully curated selection of books.  

The store partners with book clubs, displaying their picks of the month and offering members discounted copies. They offer Book Lovers Loyalty Program with benefits that rival, if not surpass, what is offered by the Barnes & Noble Membership Program.  

In addition to this, the store offers a personalized book subscription service, where books tailored to your reading taste will be handpicked and mailed out. The founder, Roxanne Coady, also runs a podcast called “Just the Right Book” where she interviews nonfiction authors.  

Behind the store is RJ Cafe and Bistro, with delicious food and full-table service. RJ Julia also has a location at Wesleyan University in Middletown.  

Book Barn – Niantic, CT 

Also by the shore is Book Barn, a store that has three locations within a mile of each other in Niantic. Book Barn is truly a book lover’s paradise, with too many collections to count. The store additionally has an unorganized section of books called Hades, where all books are priced at a dollar.  

What’s neat about this indie store is that they buy books from patrons year-round to stock the shelves. If you’re looking for some extra cash or store credit, stop by with your retired reads! 

The property is also home to a gorgeous garden and a wide variety of animals. You’ll almost certainly see a cat — in fact, the store created a cat spotting guide — and if you’re lucky you may cross paths with a goat or two.  

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