Year after year, romance is one of the most popular genres in the world of reading and has consistently ranked within the top five best-selling book genres, both in the U.S. and internationally. With sub-genres ranging from historical to paranormal, romance can offer something for every type of reader, and authors like Lucy Score and Talia Hibbert have legions of devoted fans waiting for their next book. However, these titles can get stereotyped as frivolous or poorly written by those not as in love with romance books, and romance readers may find themselves feeling put down by those who view the genre as lacking in gravitas. Luckily, there are plenty of supporters of romance stories and happily ever afters out there to balance out any criticism. In fact, romance books are so popular that some bookstores specializing in the genre have sprouted up both in storefronts and online, providing not just new titles, but also a chance to connect with other romance readers.
Whether your ideal romance reading spot is a pastel bungalow in San Diego, a pop-up store in Toronto, or a queer-owned shop in Wisconsin, these stores provide staff members who are knowledgeable about the latest romance titles and community events and author talks for readers to enjoy. Even if you don’t have a dedicated romance bookshop nearby, you can still shop the stores below online and many of them offer book box subscriptions in different romance sub-genres.
The Ripped Bodice, Culver City, CA
The Ripped Bodice, a bookstore specializing in romance, was opened in 2016 by sisiters Leah and Bea Koch after a crowdfunding campaign. The store focuses on celebrating and selling romance novels from a wide variety of authors, as well as gifts from woman-owned businesses.
Happily Ever After Books, Toronto, Canada
Happily Ever After Books in Toronto is an online and pop up bookstore that calls itself “a bookshop for romantics”. In addition to a wide selection of books, the store also offers romance book subscription boxes with shipping options for both Canada and the United States.
Words & Kisses, United Kingdom (online)
Words & Kisses is a UK-based, online bookstore that ships worldwide. They offer books for “lovers of happy endings”, romance book monthly subscriptions, and romance themed gifts. As a small shop, each book in their collection is hand-picked by the romance loving staff.
Love’s Sweet Arrow, Tinley Park, IL
This sweet bookshop located south of Chicago offers romance books for both adult and YA readers, a line of store-specific merch, and tons of author events. While the store’s physical location is currently closed as they renovate and move to a new space, you can browse their excellent selection and attend virtual events through their website.
Meet Cute Romance Bookshop, San Diego, CA
Meet cute is an adorable shop in San Diego with something to love for every reader of romance. Their staff (and website) are especially well versed in historical romance and romantic sub-genres, so customers can be sure to find something exactly to their tastes. For locals, the store also hosts fun events like speed dating and author talks.
Turn the Page Bookstore, Boonsboro, Maryland
Fans of prolific romance writer Nora Roberts will want to check out Turn the Page, which is owned and run by Roberts’ husband, Bruce Wilder. As well as stocking Roberts’ backlist of titles, the store also offers signed copies of books by other popular romance writers like Lucy Score.
Third Street Books, McMinnville, OR
While Third Street Books is not a romance-only bookstore, its staff originated Bookstore Romance Day, a day dedicated to helping indie booksellers celebrate all things romance! The store offers a great selection of romance titles, as well as bookish gifts and their skilled staff will be happy to help readers find their next romantic read.
A Room of One’s Own, Madison, WI
As a trans and queer-owned store, A Room of One’s Own sells diverse romance books (and books from every other genre) that make sure everyone feels loved. Their amazing staff is a font of romance recommendations, from big names to small presses, and during February the store offers Valentine’s bundles for both in-person and online customers.
Looking for more to love? Check out these must read romance titles coming out this month and a round-up for gifts for romance lovers. If you’re looking for other speciality bookstores, we also have a list of the best ones for mystery lovers!