How Queer-Owned Bookstores are Celebrating Pride Month

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Susie Dumond

Senior Contributor

Susie (she/her) is a queer writer originally from Little Rock, now living in Washington, DC. She is the author of QUEERLY BELOVED and the forthcoming LOOKING FOR A SIGN from Dial Press/Random House. You can find her on Instagram @susiedoom.

Susie Dumond

Senior Contributor

Susie (she/her) is a queer writer originally from Little Rock, now living in Washington, DC. She is the author of QUEERLY BELOVED and the forthcoming LOOKING FOR A SIGN from Dial Press/Random House. You can find her on Instagram @susiedoom.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Pride month! And it’s also the perfect time to visit your local queer-owned bookstore. Even if you don’t have a queer bookstore in your neighborhood, there are plenty you can support from afar by ordering books online or participating in virtual events. Read on to find out how queer-owned bookstores across the U.S. are celebrating Pride month and ways to join them.

There’s a term in sociology to describe locations outside of home and work where community is fostered, friendships are made, and ideas are discussed: third places. These third places are where we can exist and grow and learn with others besides our family and co-workers. They’re crucial to happy, healthy neighborhoods. And to me, queer-owned bookstores are the best third places. They’re small businesses that foster fascinating conversations, uplift LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, and encourage meaningful connections. People of all ages, introverts and extroverts, and people who don’t feel comfortable at bars or clubs can all find what they need at queer bookstores.

Ahead of June, I reached out to all the queer-owned bookstores in the U.S. to ask about their plans to celebrate Pride month and the importance of bookstores like theirs for the LGBTQ+ community. I heard one thing loud and clear: Pride isn’t just for June. While these bookstores have a wide range of festive events and calls to action this month, they’re doing the hard work of uplifting queer voices and fighting for change every day of the year.

Not all of the queer-owned bookstores had the bandwidth to respond to my queries. If you’d like to see more stores in your area, you can find a full list on But here are 42 beloved bookstores’ thoughts on Pride month and their plans for June, from drag queen story hours to local Pride festivals to dance parties and beyond.

a photo of someone browsing books with a rainbow watercolor illustration superimposed behind them


Burdock Book Collective – Birmingham

Burdock Book Collective is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run bookstore in Birmingham. They’re also co-founders and leaders of the Alabama Books to Prisons Project, an abolitionist program that seeks to intervene in the isolation of prison life by connecting folks on the inside with pen pals on the outside and working to fulfill their book requests. This Pride month, you can support Burdock Book Collective by visiting their pop-up shop featuring queer feminist books at Woodlawn Street Market on June 10, or you can join their inaugural Queer Fiction Book Club on June 20, where they’ll be discussing Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café by Fannie Flagg.


Rakestraw Books – Danville

Catch a variety of events with authors including Stephen Rowley (The Celebrants) and Byron Lane (Big Gay Wedding) throughout the month of June at Rakestraw Books, located at the base of Mt. Diablo.

A Seat at the Table – Elk Grove

Join the Big Queer Party at A Seat at the Table on Friday, June 2, with live music, art, snacks, and community. Even better, it’s free!

The Salt Eaters – Inglewood

There’s no party like a Prince-themed dance party. Celebrate Pride and help keep queer-owned bookstore The Salt Eaters and the Compton Community Garden open with a Club Prince Rent Party and Fundraiser on June 10.

Reparations Club – Los Angeles

“As a queer Black woman raised in Los Angeles, I’m so grateful to have created a space that can hold all of those identities and make visible others who might be sitting at their own intersections,” said Jazzi McGilbert, founder and co-owner of Reparations Club ahead of Pride month. “As someone who has often felt invisible, there was never a question that Rep Club would be a place we can feel seen, heard, and of course, read. There’s really nothing like being surrounded by LGBTQIA+ stories from the past, present, and future every day to remind you that you’re valid. While it’s definitely Pride 24/7 here, June feels especially sparkly!”

You don’t have to be in L.A. to celebrate Pride month with Reparations Club bookstore. Get 10% off all books during Pride month by using the code PRIDE2023 on their website.

The Ripped Bodice – Los Angeles

“While we should never ignore the tragedy and trauma that affects LGBTQ+ people, queer people deserve a fluffy romcom or sexy thriller too!” said Leah Koch, owner of LA’s romance-centric bookstore The Ripped Bodice. “Joy is part of resiliency and resistance. And I should also emphasize that representation is still so important. Especially for folks without easy access to support networks, but even for those of us who are openly queer, seeing people who share our values, appearance, thoughts, and passions in the media we consume is crucial.”

In addition to a slew of June author events and queer reads in all four of their regular book clubs, you can grab one of The Ripped Bodice’s Pride T-shirts to stay fashionable all year long.

The Booksmith – San Francisco

The Booksmith is amplifying local queer voices by celebrating the release of All the Right Notes by San Francisco queer organizer Dominic Lim on June 6. But they also recognize that Pride isn’t just for June.

“Running a queer-oriented bookshop is one long party, for everyone — grandmas, slackers, writers, dirtbags, losers, lovers, every color folx, dreamers, the lost, the hopeful — organized around the idea that our job is to help make the world bigger, not smaller,” said Booksmith co-owner and buyer Camden Avery. “We’re incredibly fortunate that Pride season is a lot like any season here. But where we are, we have the incredible privilege to get to read, and act, and think, and fuck, and dream however we want. So in Pride and in every season, we face the world knowing it’s our job to make a small home for everyone who doesn’t get to do that where they are.”

Omnivore Books on Food – San Francisco

Omnivore Books on Food is the Bay Area’s only culinary bookstore, and even better, it’s queer-owned! It’s the perfect place to find cookbooks, foodie fiction, and nonfiction this Pride month.

“The importance of being a queer-owned shop, for me, is being unafraid to speak my mind, even if it means losing customers,” said Celia Sack of Omnivore Books. “I will always stand up for what I believe is right, and I’ll put a display right in my front window to back that up. Our community cannot afford to back down an inch, to give back an iota of the rights we’ve fought for.”

District of Columbia

Little District Books – D.C.

Queer bookstore Little District Books has a month packed with events celebrating queer authors. Additionally, start the month with a Pride kickoff sip-and-shop on June 3, including refreshments, giveaways, a raffle, and brand new store merch to peruse. And on June 24, wish Little District Books a very happy first birthday at an open house with even more giveaways and festivities.

Loyalty Bookstore – D.C. & Silver Spring, MD

Catch a variety of queer authors throughout June at Loyalty Bookstores in Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Maryland, including events with Elliot Page (Pageboy), Amelia Possanza (Lesbian Love Story), and Ani Kayode Somtochukwu (And Then He Sang a Lullaby).


Hello Again Books – Cocoa Village

Join Hello Again Books for a weekend full of Pride celebrations with their Be the Rainbow events from June 8-10. They’ve got it all: a pet parade, showtunes singalong, a rainbow-themed dance party, and much more. All proceeds from this year’s Be the Rainbow weekend go to Bikers Against Child Abuse.


Charis Books & More – Decatur

In addition to celebrating Pride month, Charis Books & More is also celebrating their recent win of the Lambda Literary Publishing Professional Award! Congratulate them on this honor at one of their many queer events this month, including book clubs, author conversations, community building meet-ups, game nights, and more.


Lit. on Fire Books – Peoria

Celebrate queer creatives at Lit. on Fire Books’s annual Get Lit. Open Mic Night on June 21. It will feature poetry, music, creative nonfiction, and spoken word, centering QTPOC voices first. You can also snag 20% off all Pride flags in the store in June.

“Here at Lit. on Fire Books, every day is Pride,” owner/operator Jessica Stephenson shared. “Queer-owned bookstores are more important now than ever. We are grassroots, community building powerhouses. Hubs of connection. Safe spaces to celebrate who we are. Just like our LGBTQ+ family builds affirming communities to care for its own, queer-owned independent bookstores create physical affirming spaces where representation is at the heart of everything we do.”


Tubby & Coo’s Bookshop – New Orleans

Tubby & Coo’s Bookshop is envisioning a queer future and bringing it to life right now by transforming into a traveling bookshop, a format that allows them to reach more readers, host forward-thinking events, and build queer community. Starting in June, you’ll find them at four permanent pop-up residencies across New Orleans. And they’ve got big plans for the future, including queer little free libraries, book vending machines, a bookmobile, and more.


All She Wrote Books – Somerville

You’ll find All She Wrote Books out in the community during Pride month at the Boston Dyke March, Boston Pride for the People, and more. Also be sure to check out their list of June author events and keep your eyes out for an adult queer story hour at the end of the month, where attendees are invited to share their own stories of being queer today.

“Our bookstore is a place where people can find themselves in the pages of the books we have curated on our shelves,” said All She Wrote owner Christina Pascucci-Ciampa. “It is a place where having conversations about meaningful topics — and difficult ones — is just as important as getting people their next read or helping them build on their TBR pile. It is a safe, inclusive space where you’re loved, cared for, and respected no matter what walk of life you come from.”

“In the current political moment, with vicious attacks on trans youth, bans of both drag and queer books as ‘obscene,’ and the mainstreaming of homophobic rhetoric, it is important to support queer people and queer institutions all year long.”


Wayfaring Booksellers – Lansing

“As queer booksellers, every day is a new opportunity to share queer stories,” said Casey Holland and Eleanor Richards, co-owners of Wayfaring Booksellers. “Queer books are catalysts for community — encouraging and allowing us to form bonds and share our stories, both real and fantastical. We hear from our fellow queer and trans readers daily how much they appreciate having a space to see themselves on the page. Supporting that space is the best thing we can do. We read queer all year, and we encourage you to do the same!”

If you’re headed to Lansing Pride on June 17, be sure to pick up some queer books at Wayfaring Booksellers’ pop-up shop. You can also support the queer-owned bookstore by purchasing some of their Read Queer All Year merch. Bonus — if you wear your merch when you visit the store, you’ll get 10% off your purchase.

Bettie’s Pages – Lowell

Bettie’s Pages is proud to join Lowell’s 3rd annual Pride festival to celebrate queer books. You can also support Bettie’s Pages by purchasing a limited edition Only Pride, No Prejudice T-shirt.

“There is no community hub quite like a local indie bookstore,” said Nicole Lintemuth, owner of Bettie’s Pages. “Obviously I’m a bit biased, but I think indie bookstores really speak to the heart of a city or neighborhood. As we see more queer-owned bookstores, especially in small towns like my own, we have a powerful platform for visibility, normalizing our stories being on the shelf right next to everyone else! I can’t think of a better way to show the world we are here and proud to be a part of our communities than that.”


Black Garnet Books – Minneapolis

Check out works by BIPOC and queer artists from the Twin Cities at Black Garnet Books’s handcrafted art fair on June 10. In addition to Pride, you can also celebrate Juneteenth with Black Garnet Books at the Design Justice x UMN event on June 17, where they’ll be selling books, hosting trivia, and showing off their friendly neighborhood bookstore dog, Nova.


Violet Valley Bookstore – Water Valley

Queer, feminist, Southern bookstore Violet Valley is celebrating local queer author Meagan O’Nan’s memoir Held and Free on June 3. They’ve also got Pride spirit year-round.

“Pride month, for us, is such a time of celebration, and we love the celebrations of the LGBTQ+ community by queer folks and allies alike. But then, every month is Pride month for queer bookstores,” said founder and owner Jaime Harker. “In the current political moment, with vicious attacks on trans youth, bans of both drag and queer books as ‘obscene,’ and the mainstreaming of homophobic rhetoric, it is important to support queer people and queer institutions all year long.”


Redux Society – Kansas City

It’s always a party at Redux Society, where you can pick up a new book, take a dance class, and learn the art of lightsaber dueling all in one trip. Don’t miss their festive Queer Dance Night on June 9.

“Queer-owned bookstores play a vital role in our communities, providing spaces where diverse voices can be celebrated, stories can be shared, and acceptance can flourish,” said Redux Society owner Lucy Kull. “These bookstores serve as beacons of inclusivity, empowering individuals to embrace their authentic selves and fostering a sense of belonging for all. They are more than just places to buy books; they are vibrant hubs that nourish our minds, hearts, and spirits.”

Left Bank Books – St. Louis

Left Banks Books fights back against book bans through their Literacy & Justice Program, which collects donations to send free copies of some of the most frequently challenged books in the U.S. to anyone who requests one, including queer titles like Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer and George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue. In June, they’re also partnering with Random House for a Writing Queer Stories workshop with author Camille Kellogg (Just As You Are).

“We firmly believe that finding joy is an act of resistance,” Shane Mullen of Left Bank Books said. “We will be sharing lots of book recs that center on queer stories of joy, of hope, of love, of peace. Oppressive forces count on exhausting us with their relentless and seemingly endless attacks, hoping that we are too tired to combat them. We’re encouraging people to revel in the revolutionary act of queer joy so that we are that much more equipped for the fight.”

New Jersey

Howling Basset Books – Oldwick

“As an LGBTQ-owned bookstore in rural New Jersey where book-banning has been on the table in public schools, we understand that representation truly matters,” said Zohar Kfir, co-owner of Howling Basset. “This means that we make sure to carry books and authors that will make all our customers feel seen, including books about gender, sexuality, and gay history.”

While shopping for queer books at Howling Basset Books, you can also get a little puppy love from their basset-in-residence Stella.

New York

Astoria Bookshop – Queens

Check out Astoria Bookshop’s brand new location on 30th Street for a stacked June calendar of queer events with authors like Mattie Lubchansky (Boys Weekend), Amy Feltman (All the Things We Don’t Talk About), and Juno Dawson (You Need to Chill). And on June 22, check out a queer storytelling event where 10% of sales will go to local trans rights organization Colectivo Intercultural Transgrediendo.

North Carolina

Firestorm Books & Coffee – Asheville

Recognize the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising with Firestorm Books & Coffee by joining their virtual event on June 27 with the contributors of Surviving the Future: Abolitionist Queer Strategies. Firestorm will also be promoting some of their favorite books from queer publishers and independent queer and trans authors, artists, and zinesters.

“As a bookstore owned by a queer and trans collective, we’re always celebrating the history of gay liberation while keeping our eyes on its unfinished work,” said Libertie Valance of Firestorm. “Especially in this moment of escalating attacks on our community, when queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people face existential violence, we believe that the best way to commemorate our history is by fighting for our future. That means both taking a stand against attacks from the far-right, but also resisting the whitewashing, commercialization, and pacification of our movement histories.”


Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre – Akron

You’ll find queer books featured on the shelves at Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre this month, but you can also find their booksellers out in the community hosting pop-up shops at various festivals and events. They’re also hosting their second annual Pride Book Fundraiser.

“Pride month is a time to honor our queer ancestors and celebrate how far the community has come,” said director September Howat. “Books on our shelves all year long tell the stories of individuals who stood up and spoke out, who sacrificed, and who celebrated. As a Black, queer, woman-owned bookstore, Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre is proud to create a safe, inclusive space for all book lovers and especially for neighbors and visitors from marginalized communities.”

Shelf Life – Cuyahoga Falls

Join Shelf Life in raising funds for local LGBTQ+ organization Colors+ Youth Center in Fairview Park by buying a raffle ticket to win a bundle of banned queer books. The store also plans to promote local queer artists and makers. Visit the store on June 11 to browse Pride themed offerings from Sew Sarah Lou and Gemini Jewelry, and drop by between 1 and 4 P.M. on June 24 to meet poet Barbara Marie Minney and get a signed copy of her books If There’s No Heaven and Poetic Memoir Chapbook Challenge.


Pocket Books – Lancaster

Who doesn’t love a bookish surprise? Pocket Books in Lancaster offers surprise boxes packed with hand-picked books based on your reading preferences and book themed goodies. In addition to their ever-popular sapphic surprise box, starting in June, they’re also selling a queer horror box and queer YA box.

“At Pocket Books, we consider it our truest joy to be a safe and affirming space for our queer fam,” said Pocket Books co-owner Julie Ross. “It’s important to us that our customers can find books written by queer authors and telling queer stories on every shelf, in every genre, from board books to fantasy to literary fiction.”

Big Blue Marble Bookstore – Philadelphia

Kick off Pride month at Big Blue Marble Bookstore at a book release event on June 3 for Constellations, Kate Glasheen’s debut graphic novel about a queer teen trying to find their place in the world.

Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room – Philadelphia

Legendary bookstore Philly AIDS Thrift @ Giovanni’s Room is celebrating 50 years of selling queer book and building queer community with a Queerapalooza party on June 10. This can’t-miss event will feature local queer musicians and performers, artists and makers, food, and more. But you can start Pride month even earlier with their Philadelphia Queer Book Club meeting on June 1, where they’ll discuss Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name.

“We’re lucky to have been a fixture of the Philadelphia Gayborhood for so many decades,” said Katharine Milon, co-manager of PAT @ Giovanni’s Room. “This year, Pride is a great opportunity for us to remember all the work of those who came before us to make this space possible — as well as celebrate our commitment to all the work that still needs to be done.”


BookWoman – Austin

You can always find a way to celebrate Pride in Austin at BookWoman, where they have permanent shelves dedicated to queer literature and an excellent variety of LGBTQ+ stickers, patches, and other swag.

“Now more than ever, southern queer people — and especially trans people — need a place they can go where they can catch their breath and find a sense of community,” bookseller Audrey Kohler shared. “That’s what we hope to supply at BookWoman: community. All of our booksellers are LGBTQ+ and we love sharing stories with our customers, whether it be someone’s first lesbian romance, showing a trans woman that there are books out there for her, or chatting with queer elders who have been shopping at BookWoman all 47 years we have been open. In short, it’s always Pride at BookWoman for and because of the community we have built and continue to grow.”

Reverie Books – Austin

“Reverie books is a queer- and woman-owned bookstore in Austin, Texas, that serves the local community with an emphasis on under-represented voices,” said Reverie CEO Thais Perkins. “We seek to be a safe space for young people in particular, who often have few places to access in far south Austin, and they’ve told us we’re important to their sense of safety and comfort. Pride month is all year round at Reverie — but we love the excuse to celebrate even more!” June really is just the start of the party for Reverie, and they keep it going through Austin’s local Pride celebrations in August.

The Book Burrow – Pflugerville

Celebrate queer books during Pflugerville Pride Pfestival on June 10, where The Book Burrow is hosting a poetry slam and a queer author panel. You can also catch The Book Burrow owner Kelsey Black emceeing shows throughout the event.

“Our slogan is ‘Embrace Your Weird’,” Black shared about The Book Burrow’s queer community. “However that manifests in the individual lives of those around us, we are here to support those who are just trying to find a home. Pflugerville is what Austin was 20 years ago — underground grunge, punk, quirky, fun, and most importantly, diverse. I am just supporting a community that already exists and giving them a home. That is what Pride month means to me: a month long celebration of the uniqueness of people and the fight we all face to find a place we can call home.”


The King’s English Bookshop – Salt Lake City

What better time than Pride to visit drag queen story hour? The King’s English Bookshop is reviving their drag queen story hour series with local queen Tara Lipsyncki starting on June 3 at Riot! Pride Street Fair.

Under the Umbrella – Salt Lake City

If you’re looking to celebrate Pride in Utah, Under the Umbrella Bookstore is the place to be! They’ve got a June calendar packed with events, including pop-up markets with works by local LGBTQIA2S+ artists, drag queen story hour, collaborations with other queer-owned businesses, and much more.


Eleanor’s Norfolk – Norfolk

You can find a stack of queer books and a bottle of wine at Eleanor’s Norfolk and, honestly, what more could you need? Check out queer maker pop-ups at the store throughout the month of June. You can also join Eleanor’s Norfolk in celebrating Pride with the Suffolk Public Library.

“A space that celebrates queerness in all its forms by sharing the stories of the queer community allows everyone, queer or not, to access the humanity, both the struggles and the joys, of their neighbors,” said Eleanor’s Norfolk’s owner/operator Erin Dougherty. “Centering these stories literally creates community because it allows all people to be seen and valued. Queer-owned bookstores build where others try to tear down. We provide space to hope for and create a different, equitable future based on collective care and radical joy.”


Main Street Books – Monroe

You can celebrate Pride with Main Street Books at Monroe Pride on June 11 at Skykomish River Centennial Park. But you also don’t have to be in Washington to get in on the fun. Get 15% off your purchase online or in the store in June using the code PRIDE2023.

The Book Rack – Oak Harbor

Everybody wins when you shop for queer books at The Book Rack in June. For any Pride related books and swag sold, they’ll donate 10% to their local Whidbey Island PFLAG chapter.

Orca Books – Olympia

Queer and trans-operated Orca Books hosts book clubs and readings to support their local LGBTQ+ community throughout the year. Join their Marxist reading group on June 26 to discuss Leslie Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors.

“Our bookstore is so gay we have a cat named Orlando who lives on premises,” says the Orca Books team. “Visit us to stock up on all queer banned books and sneak Orlando catnip.”

Left Bank Books – Seattle

If you want to check out a selection of Left Bank Books’s anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles, drop by their booth at the Wenatchee Pride Festival on June 3 in Memorial Park.


River Dog Book Co. – Oconomowoc

River Dog Book Co. is an independent bookseller online and with pop-up shops around the Oconomowoc area with a focus on diverse, global, inclusive, and representative books for historically marginalized and excluded people and their intersecting identities and experiences. They’ll be promoting queer authors and books throughout the month of June on social media and in newsletters.

“Pride month is an especially exciting time because we get to showcase books by queer writers and featuring queer characters across all of those identities and experiences, so that queer people everywhere can see that we exist worldwide, we have existed throughout history, and our love is equally worthy of not only legal rights and protections, but most importantly, of celebration,” said River Dog Book Co. owner BrocheAroe Fabian.

Bound to Happen Books – Stevens Point

In a year full of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, Bound to Happen Books has been hard at work fundraising for local organizations, fighting book bans, and helping a local high school’s Gay Straight Alliance create a queer library. In June, you can find them participating in Point Pride on June 10, where they’ll host a queer books pop-up shop and drag queen story hour.

“As a queer-owned bookstore, especially in a smaller city in the middle of Central Wisconsin, we are so proud to take part in and support Point Pride,” said Lyn Ciuro, Bound to Happen’s storefront coordinator. “We must come together now more than ever to find resilience in our queer community and to stand in solidarity against the hateful attacks of conservative extremists. We work very closely with the teachers in our local school district and have seen the book challenges and bans they’ve faced; our community needs to stand behind these teachers and students who are being targeted.”

Kismet Books – Verona

Kismet Books is hosting fabulous drag events for all ages in June. Test your knowledge at drag trivia on June 13, bring the kids to drag queen storytime on June 24, and win big at drag bingo on June 27.

We hope this list helped you find a few new queer-owned bookstores to visit this Pride month! You might also enjoy:

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