Literary Mavens: 13 Woman-owned Bookstores to Know and Love

Winter in Indiana is the best season for reducing your TBR pile and perusing Indy’s best local bookstores–many of which are female-owned. We’ve put together a list of 13 area bookstores led by literary mavens.
Books on a shelf


1. Owned by famed Hoosier author Leah Johnson, Loudmouth Books curates reads for, by, and about marginalized people. The store, located in the Herron-Morton neighborhood, is dedicated to increasing access to diverse authors while creating an inclusive, fun community space (212 E 16th St, Indianapolis, IN 46202, @loudmouthindy).

Street view of Tomorrow Bookstore
Street view of Tomorrow Bookstore

2. Tomorrow Bookstore, owned by Julia Breakey and Jake Budler, specializes in human-centric global stories (both fiction and nonfiction), works in translation, Indiana authors, and sci-fi, and has a quaint selection of thoughtful gifts. Sign up for one of their four book clubs (882 Massachusetts Ave, Indianapolis @tomorrowbookstore).

3. Lena Burt is the woman behind Whispering Shelf opening in the Lockerbie neighborhood in early 2024. Patrons can find a wide selection, including social justice nonfiction, fantasy, thrillers, short stories, and romantic comedies. The space will include a cozy living room for reading on site (414 N. College Avenue, Indianapolis, @thewhisperingshelf).

Broad Ripple/Meridian-Kessler
Outside of Golden Hour Books. Photos by Jakob Hassler Photography.
Outside of Golden Hour Books. Photos by Jakob Hassler Photography.

4. Offering an extensive selection from recent best-sellers to lesser-known titles, Golden Hour Books has a wide range of nonfiction, poetry, children’s books, and small-press fiction. The store is owned and operated by Sara Gelston Somers, who has an eye for design (5208 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46220, @goldenhourbooksindy).

5. Offering an exhaustive selection of children’s reads, games, and puzzles, Kids Ink has been a staple in the Meridian-Kessler neighborhood for more than 35 years. The shop hosts regular story time and author events (5619 North Illinois Street, Indianapolis, @kidsinkbooks).


6. Beyond Barcodes Bookstore creates a community space for coffee, meaningful discussion, and perusing books primarily by Black authors. DeAndra Beard-Ingram owns and operates the shop serving Indy’s near Eastside (3139 E 10th St, Indianapolis, @beyondbarcodesbooks).

7. Irvington Vinyl & Books, owned by Elysia Smith, has an array of off-beat, vintage, and small print books as well as zines and records (202 S. Audubon Rd., @irvingtonvinylandbooks).


8. Looking for rare, vintage or unique books? Check out Pen & Pink Vintage in Garfield Park. Laura McPhee specializes in curating those hard-to-find reads perfect for gifts or your own collection (2435 Shelby Street, Indianapolis, @penandpinkvintage).

Wild Geese Bookshop
Wild Geese Bookshop

9. Wild Geese Bookshop is a quaint, delightful bookshop just South of Indy on I-65. Owned and curated by Tiffany Phillips, the shop carries an extensive children’s selection, romantic comedies, memoirs, and Indiana authors. Wild Geese also has an array of thoughtfully curated gifts and home goods (40 E Madison St, Franklin, IN 46131, @wildgeesebookshop). Be sure to check out their selection of books in the Maven Space lending library! 


10. Striving to connect patrons with marginalized and diverse authors, Curious Squirrel Bookshop offers five book clubs, including Rebellious Readers: A Banned Book Club (120 S. Main St·Zionsville, @curioussquirrelbooks).

11. Turn the Page, in cozy downtown Westfield, is a general-interest bookshop with extensive children’s and mystery sections. The shop has both a romance and general book club meeting each month. Stop by and say hi to the owner, Jamie Degler (149 N Walnut St, Westfield, @turnthepagewestfield).

Black Worldschoolers interior.

12. Black Worldschoolers, a mobile bookstore owned by Natalie Pipkin, brings books to kids and adults in Central Indiana and beyond! Pipkin describes her shop as a “bookstore on wheels with ice cream truck energy.” She curates a wide variety of Black authored works and is on a mission to improve access and awareness of Black stories. Book the mobile for your next event! (, @blackworldschoolers_bookstore).

13.  Indy’s first romance-focused bookshop, Sugar and Spice, is opening in late 2024. Get a feel for the store, founded by Maddy Rodgers and AJ Sanders, by attending a pop-up or the recently launched romance book club (@sugarandspiceindy).

Kelsey Jones is the founder of Silent Book Club Indy

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