5 charming local bookstores to support right now

Photo by Natalea Bonjour

Prospero’s Bookstore on West 39th Street is three floors chock-full of fifty thousand used books stacked from the ground to the ceiling—there are books tucked into literally every crevice of this space, like between stairs and under tables. In the store’s twenty-three years of existence, co-owner Tom Wayne says that, eerily, some books have faster turnaround times than others.

“We clean and price books, and then we go around and put them up on the shelves,” Wayne says. “Five or ten minutes later, it comes up to the counter with somebody that just walked in the door. It’s one of the weirdest things that happen to both [co-owner] Will and I. I mean, how does that happen out of fifty thousand books? It’s just one of those surreal moments.”

Afterword Tavern & Shelves (1834 Grand Blvd., KCMO) is closed due to the pandemic until further notice, but you can still support the cozy bookstore-bar by purchasing your next read through its online bookshop. Tucked away in downtown Lawrence, Raven Book Store (6 E. Seventh St., Lawrence) combines the well-known small-business spirit of LFK with a love of literature. It will be expanding its shelves to a larger location on Massachusetts Street in 2021. In an average non-pandemic year, Rainy Day Books (2706 W. 53rd St., Fairway) in the Fairway Shops hosts three hundred-plus author events. Right now, they’re in the process of renovating their shop. Named after the Flannery O’Connor novel, Wise Blood Books (300 Westport Road, KCMO), was created to inspire a diverse and creative community in KC. Their Boredom Bundles are the perfect way to stay intellectually challenged during this time.

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