Athens bookstores are the perfect places to pop in to during any season! When the sun is shining, pick a spot in the shade on UGA's North Campus or soak in the sunlight in one of Athens' many parks and break into a new book. If rainy weather has you trapped inside, grab a cup of coffee, wrap yourself in a blanket, and cozy up with a new read. Whether you're a hopeless romantic or a history buff, a classics lover or a sci-fi fanatic, you're sure to find a page-turner you can't put down at one of these Athens bookstores.
Avid Bookshop on Prince Ave.
In 2011, UGA graduate Janet Geddis' dream of owning a bookstore became a reality. She found the perfect place on Prince Avenue and, with the help of friends and community members, transformed the space from head to toe. After months of work, Avid Bookshop was born. This independent bookstore has now grown into a staple of the Athens community. Geddis and her bookstore have been recognized for the past four years at Bulldog 100, an annual event honoring the fastest-growing businesses owned or operated by UGA alumni. Although business is booming, Avid still embodies the charm of the Classic City through its rustic aesthetic and intimate feel.
Browse through this quaint bookstore as natural light streams in through the arched windows. Avid Bookshop has selections that span a variety of genres, including cookbooks, children's books, and poetry. Calling all thespians! Check out the section of the store devoted entirely to drama. Peruse the small press section to find works from independent publishers. If you are interested in getting more involved in the literary world, Avid Bookshop often hosts authors for book signings and readings at local venues like Ciné and The Foundry. Stay on the lookout; you never know when your favorite author will show up in Athens!
Avid Bookshop at Five Points
In 2017, after years of success and support, Avid Bookshop expanded into a second location at Five Points. Conveniently located near the University of Georgia's campus, this bookstore attracts both college students living in Athens and visitors stopping into town. While this location is the larger of the two, it still elicits the same warm and welcoming environment as the original through its bright, colorful interior and friendly staff.
The two locations are curated slightly differently from one another. Thrill-seekers and sleuths-in-training get your bookmarks ready; Avid Bookshop at Five Points devotes an entire section to mystery and thriller books. Brush up on your Athens trivia with a book from the local shelf, a section unique to this location and dedicated entirely to local books. This area features texts about the Classic City as well as literary works by Athens authors. If you can't wait until you get home to start reading, head across the street to Jittery Joe's and sip some locally-roasted brew while you flip through your new book.
Like many places around Athens, Avid Bookshop brings a sense of community to all those who walk in the door. Their most original way of creating this inviting atmosphere is through their "shelf-talkers," found in both Avid locations. Shelf-talkers are small notes scattered around the shelves of the store and paired with a book. Each shelf-talker is hand-written by a member of the Avid staff who gives an honest recommendation and summary of the corresponding book.
Drive down Prince Avenue and one statue is bound to catch your eye: a metal dog standing tall and glistening in the sunlight. This dog sits in front of Athens' newest bookstore, Normal Books, which opened its doors in December 2018. The main factor that differentiates Normal Books from other booksellers is its pricing. They specialize in overstocked books, so most are priced at $7.99 or less. Their inventory contains popular books and best-selling authors, such as Malcolm Gladwell and Nora Roberts. Expect to find great reads for a great deal at Normal Books!
Even though this store has only been open for a few months, their shelves are already fully lined. From humor to history, memoirs to music, spirituality to self-help, and every genre in between, Normal Books has options to fit any readers' interests. Once you've selected your next great read, walk down the street and grab a treat to go from Ike & Jane Cafe and Bakery or Sips Espresso Cafe. Don't forget to pick up a complimentary bookmark after you make your purchase!
2nd & Charles
Just a short drive from Downtown Athens sits 2nd & Charles, an enormous bookstore with an impressive inventory. It's easy to lose track of time wandering through the towering shelves and seemingly never-ending rows of books. Don't let this intimidate you out of searching; aisles and shelves are labeled making it easy for you to navigate. In addition to books, this store also boasts a wide selection of vinyl records, guitars, comics, and video games for sale.
If you consider yourself a super fan of any popular series, this is the bookstore for you. 2nd & Charles offers merchandise to complete every bookworm's collection. There are mugs with the face of Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's It, collectibles from the Harry Potter series, Disney products, and Star Wars figurines, just to name a few.
If you need to clear your bookshelves to make more room for the new additions to your personal library, 2nd & Charles will take your used books off of your hands. Just bring in your books, and you will receive either cash or store credit in return; however, this deal isn't limited to just books. You name it, they (most likely) buy it, including video games, CDs, DVDs, musical instruments, electronic tablets, and many more items! This bookshop is a division of Books-A-Million, a national bookstore chain in the United States.
What will you read first? Let us know what treasures you find at these Athens bookshops in the comments.
When visiting any of these bookshops, be sure to take photos and use the #VisitAthensGA or #AthensGA for a chance to be featured on our website or social media pages.