Everyone knows that book lovers love stories set among books, amirite? The thought that the people involved in the story love books and reading just as much as we do, and the idea that they’re just hanging out with their friends the way we like to when we can. There’s an element of metaness to the whole thing when you visit a world in which books actually exist, whether the people involved are reading, writing, producing, or peddling them. (Because sometimes you read a book and it feels like books don’t exist within the pages at all!)
You know what the best kind of books set among books are? Bookstore romances. (Okay, I would actually lean a little further into library romances, but I do love me a good bookstore romance!) Bookstore romances usually include at least one bookseller who loves their work, their store, and their books! Sometimes the bookstore might be central to the story, or it might be the place where a meet cute or later meeting happens that turns the tide of the story. Or maybe it’s where one of the protagonists really learns what they want out of life. In any situation, the bookstore isn’t just a location; it’s a true setting.
Here are a few bookstore romances that have a range of time spent in the bookstore, but said store usually makes a pretty big impact on the reader and the romance.
An Unexpected Kind of Love by Hayden Stone
When bookstore owner Aubrey’s quiet London street gets taken over by a film company, he doesn’t think it could get any worse. But when distractingly hot actor Blake offers to rent out his store for filming, Aubrey can’t help but think it’s the only way to save his admittedly failing shop. When their chemistry leads to something unexpected, Aubrey has more than just a new relationship to think about.
Love by the Books by Té Russ
What happens when a literary agent and a bookseller meet? They go on the best, dorkiest, bookish dates imaginable. After agent Carmen Jones (yes, that’s totally her name and I love it) set off on her own, she’d had a bit of a rough start. But now things are looking up. And when Sebastian watches her celebrate a big deal in By the Books, his bookstore, he’s happy to offer to assist in her celebratory plans.
Love Around The Corner by Sally Malcolm
If you want a version of You’ve Got Mail with a little less of the gaslighting (and a nice callback to the original story), Love Around the Corner is a lovely holiday novella featuring two men in love who don’t quite know it. Standoffish bookseller Leo and garage owner Alfie have been friends for a long time…online. But now, it’s time for them to meet. But what will happen when the pair discover that they’ve basically hated each other IRL?
A Duke in Disguise by Cat Sebastian
Radical bookseller Verity has been friends with Ash for years. Now that he’s living above her bookshop, illustrating a book, the pair see even more of each other. So when he discovers that he’s a duke’s long lost heir, his first thought is of the life he could lose — and Verity along with it.
Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon
Jordan runs a book club focused on romance. (Yes, it’s very meta.) When he goes into his local bookstore to pick up copies of the next few books, he meets the new employee Rex, who snarks about the type of book. But when Rex shows up at the next book club meeting to prove his own point, the pair start to learn more about each other and things go from there.
Me + Somebody’s Son by Christina C. Jones
Haven and August run businesses on the same stretch of Heights main street. His florist and her bookshop make a good pair when it comes to cross advertising, and the two themselves have pretty amazing chemistry. Having missed their chance to explore a relationship years before, they think now might be a good time to revisit their options.
Taken by Charlotte Stein
Heads up: YMMV for this one. When college student Rosie gets caught because of a friend’s attempted prank at a rare book shop, she finds herself trapped. Literally. The owner has taken her hostage in the basement of the shop and handcuffed her to the bed. But what starts out as an interrogation becomes a conversation, and when he finally lets her go, well. Anything could happen.
Slippery Creatures by KJ Charles
The first in a trilogy with a guaranteed HEA by the end of book three, Slippery Creatures introduces us first to Will Darling, a slightly grumpy Great War veteran who has inherited a bookshop. When people come in asking questions (some nicely, some not), he becomes involved in a case of intrigue with severely high stakes. When Kim offers to help, Will can’t help but accept. But there are definitely things that aren’t as they seem, and Kim might be at the center of it.
And if you want more bookstore fun from KJ Charles, you can also check out A Seditious Affair, which involves, well, a seditious bookseller who prints tracts against the government out of his basement.
Bookmarked by Piper Vaughn
In another story involving a failing bookstore, Bookmarked introduces us to Mark, owner of the titular bookstore, and Shepherd, a local author. Mark knows one way to help keep the lights on is to get the reclusive author to do a signing, but there’s no way that’s going to happen, right? Especially since the author has never done a public appearance. But that won’t stop him from trying.
Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Emily has moved to Willow Creek to help her sister after an accident. She’s at a place in her life where she’s trying to figure out what she wants and who she wants to be. When she discovers that part of helping her sister involves volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire because her niece is too young to volunteer on her own, she and the stodgy English teacher running it, Simon, immediately get off to a bad start. Where doesn’t she get off to a bad start? The local bookstore, which is run by a delightful person who is always appreciative of Emily’s help and encouraging of her interests.
There’s also a TON of contemporary fiction with romantic elements that feature bookstores, like The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, How to Find Love in a Bookshop, and probably anything by Jenny Corgan. These places are where we go to make life happen, so of course they’re there to help bring love around, too.
Now that you’re added these bookstore romances to your TBR, here are even more great books set at bookstores: