Bookstores with Unique Backstories


Kansas City’s diverse library of destination bookstores are as dedicated to the customer experience as they are to the literature itself. Among each independent bookseller, discover stories, authors and engaging communities unique to the area that keep people coming back.

Here are eight noteworthy bookshops worth “checking out:”

Get lost in a book, or the store

Overlooking busy West 39th Street, Prospero’s Books specializes in used books, CDs and vinyl, all packed into a cozy three-story building.

Funky chairs are scattered throughout the store so that shoppers can get comfy with a book of their choice (including hard-to-find editions), plus a café on the third floor makes Prospero’s an ideal location for booklovers to spend an afternoon reading.

Interact with authors

It isn’t unusual for local bookstores to feature author readings and discussions. However, Rainy Day Books rewards readers from January through December with more than 300 Author Events per year.

Located at the Fairway Shops in Mission, Rainy Day Books has been serving the Kansas City community for more than 40 years, and thanks to international acclaim for its service, knowledge and commitment, the bookseller is a can’t-miss destination for book lovers.

Beer and Book Pairings

Afterword Tavern & Shelves combines two complementary pastimes: reading and enjoying local drinks.

Search the carefully curated shelves of this Crossroads Arts District establishment for your next engrossing read and pair it with wine, craft beer or spirits in this unique new gathering spot. 

Something to sip and something to read

Bliss Books & Wine puts careful thought toward curating a community of readers through virtual events, book clubs and pairings with local wine partners. As an entirely virtual environment with plans for a physical location in the future, the shop’s dedication to connecting those who love good books and good drinks is accessible to readers everywhere.

Satisfy your superhero craving

Visitors who can’t wait until the next superhero movie comes out can rest easy thanks to Elite Comics and its wide selection of new and used comics, graphic novels, statues and other merchandise.

Located in Overland Park, Elite Comics hosts tons of in-store and offsite events each year and an active, inclusive community great for lively discussion and making new friends.

Rare Books and Vinyl

With a specialty in first-edition, rare and used African-American literature, Willa’s Books & Vinyl is stocked with hundreds of books that chronicle Black history, art and culture, plus a selection of vintage jazz, blues and other genres on vinyl.

Shelves to wander in Westport

A new venture by the team behind Westport’s popular Mills Record Company, Wise Blood Booksellers occupies a cozy corner spot in the same neighborhood. The store’s shelves are lined with new and used books, offering something for every reader, including a healthy selection of local authors.

Black History for All Ages

Currently operating as a pop-up and online store, Aya Coffee and Books can be found making weekend appearances at coffee shops around the area. Don’t miss the store’s robust collection of children’s books by Black authors.


National Museums in Kansas City

Widely celebrated as a hotbed of barbecue, jazz and fountains, Kansas City has also curated a reputation as a preeminent destination for museum-goers.

More Reading spots in KC