Most Community-Centered Bookstores In Washington DC

May 20, 2013 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Independent bookstores are diamonds in the rough, especially in a world of mega bookstore chains and burgeoning ebooks. Despite the prevalence and convenience of chains and digital books, sometimes you just want to experience the charm and familiarity of that special neighborhood bookstore. There’s something about a quaint community haunt that makes for the perfect place to socialize, browse book covers, peruse pages, take in the sweet scent of a book and cozy up to a good read. The following neighborhood gems are a few local favorites.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Idle Time Books
2467 18th St. N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 232-4774

The storefront of this quaint bookstore is a throwback to a slower, simpler time. That same feel is reflected in its name, Idle Time Books. The store encourages patrons to stop by and spend some idle time lingering over a good story. Its extensive inventory of more than 50,000 books, which is spread out over three floors, is sure to capture your interest as you settle into a cozy chair to get lost in a new adventure. In an increasingly fast-paced world that allows little time to slow down and reflect, Idle Time Books is the perfect hideout to sneak in a little “me” time, reflect and refresh.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe
1517 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 387-1400

A DC landmark in the trendy neighborhood of Dupont Circle, Kramerbooks has long been the destination for lovers of literature and for those who simply enjoy a great community hangout where they can socialize, stay in the know and be seen. Established in 1976, Kramerbooks has become a DC institution offering patrons a broad selection of literature along with a cafe that creates the perfect social setting for lively discussions, people watching and simply nestling into a good read. The influence and reach of Kramerbooks transcends books and establishes the shop as part of the social fabric of the community.

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Busboys And Poets 
5331 Baltimore Ave.
Hyattsville, MD 20781
(301) 779-2787

The Busboys And Poets Bookstore is a special community gathering spot that offers a lively atmosphere brimming with discussions about literature, politics, society and social justice. The bookstore makes a special effort to support works by local community and minority authors and hosts numerous events on their behalf. It also brings attention to the circumstances of the dispossessed and marginalized, allowing the local community to stay abreast of artistic and political developments.

Politics And Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave. N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 364-1919

For the past 30 years, Politics And Prose has served the literary needs of the community and become a fixture within the Forest Hills neighborhood of DC. Housed within its near 14,000 square feet of business and office space is a bustling bookstore and a popular cafe. The edifice was expanded to its current size by its original co-owners Carla Cohen and Barbara Meade. Today it is owned and operated by two former Washington Post journalists, Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine — a husband-and-wife duo who purchased the establishment in 2011. This literary landmark is a hub for writers, readers and celebrities alike including influential people like former President Bill Clinton, essayist and Booker Prize-winner Salman Rushdie and Miami Heat point-guard Dwyane Wade.

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Kevin Don Porter is the author of MISSING — a mystery novel available May 7, 2013. Visit his website at

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