Our Favorite Local Bookstores in and around Des Moines

local book stores in Des Moines Reading In Public
Reading in Public, Valley Junction

Who doesn’t love a good local bookstore? The scent of a bookstore alone is heaven. Seriously, the smell of books in one space can cure all sorts of anxiety. You don’t even need to read a book to get the benefits of what a bookstore can do for the soul. 

Whether you are a book lover, collector, or into lit aesthetics, this list is for you!

Local Bookstores around Des Moines

storyhouse book pub Des Moines bookstore
Storyhouse Book Pub, East Village Des Moines

StoryHouse Book Pub

StoryHouse Book Pub is a beautifully curated bookstore located in the heart of Des Moines’s East Village. Store Owner, Abbey Paxon, has created a cozy space for customers to peruse books or discuss them. She hosts many events for children and adults like book clubs, Story Time (local business owners reading books to kids), visiting authors and lectures, and is a part of community events like this month’s Indie Bookstore Cookie Crawl.

You can tell Abbey has a great love for books, as she picks only the best for her customers. StoryHouse Book Pub is a gem.

The Little Book 

Located in Highland Park, the goal of this bookstore is to create a child-inclusive space focusing on literacy, community wellness, and inclusion. The shelves are full of creations by local makers, artists, and authors. Check their calendar for family-friendly events and pop-ups. 

Beaverdale Books

Beaverdale Books has been a Des Moines bookstore staple since 2006. Located in the Beaverdale shopping district, Beaverdale Books offers various new books in varying genres including large “Iowa Author” section in their store. 

Beaverdale Books hosts book clubs and writer’s workshops. They are community-oriented, partnering with local schools and organizations. 

Reading In Public

An Asian and women-owned bookstore PLUS coffee shop, Reading In Public is new to Des Moines. Located in Valley Junction, this bookstore is the absolute cutest! Owner, Linzi, has brought New York City vibes to Iowa.

Reading In Public offers inclusive book clubs to their customers and partners with progressive organizations in Des Moines. Their selection of books is well-curated, and the atmosphere is very inviting. I can’t wait to take my kids to drink coffee and look at graphic novels!

Dungeon’s Gate

If you’re a fan of fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels, Dungeon’s Gate in Ankeny, is the place for you. They have a game room that’s open for free drop-ins Tuesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Raccoon River Press

Raccoon River Press is online and pop-up only, but well worth a visit! It is based in West Des Moines and 100% woman-owned and operated. Find books by local authors and local merchandise from a variety of local and women/LGBTQ-owned businesses. 

Help A Mind Thrive, Keep A Book Alive

I am obsessed with this hidden bookstore secret. Help A Mind Thrive, Keep A Book Alive is a quirky, eclectic bookstore on Des Moines’s southside. This bookstore aims to keep used books alive and inexpensive for those who can’t or don’t want to spend top dollar on brand-new books. 

Help A Mind Thrive, Keep A Book Alive is a non-profit organization. When you purchase a book from them, your money goes toward charities for low-income families, rehabilitation programs, underprivileged students, and schools. Another way to help this bookstore is to donate your unwanted books!

I can’t recommend this bookstore enough! Bonus? Last I was there, they had bookshop cats!

Plain Talk Books & Coffee

Plain Talk Books & Coffee is another staple in Des Moines’s East Village. In addition to books, they serve sandwiches, both deli and vegan, coffee (hence the name) and Bauder’s ice cream. 

Over time, Plain Talk Books has curated a selection of used books. 

Plain Talk Books & Coffee provides job opportunities and training for individuals with disabilities creating successful and valued employees. What a warm and friendly atmosphere to experience! 

Dog-Eared Books

Dog Eared Books is adorable! Located in Ames, Dog Eared Books is a welcoming, warm bookstore to hang out. A selection of quality books and coffee greet each customer upon entering the shop. 

Dogs are the shop’s central theme! There is a fun cubby, with dog-covered wallpaper, for kids to chill out and read a book. Cute stuffed dogs line some shelves in the store. The combination of history, modern light, and vintage school items is perfection.

Dog Eared Books provide a 10% discount to book clubs purchasing six books per group. Along with the discount, you can reserve their special loft for a book club meet-up. A fun experience to be sure!


Page Turners is an eclectic bookstore located in Indianola. It carries used books for both adults and children. The shop offers a curated collection of holiday and vintage books. It also hosts book club meet-ups once a month.

Try a local bookstore next time you need a book!


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