Trying to find a fun way to spend your day? You can’t go wrong by exploring local bookstores. Fortunately, the area around Chandler, Arizona, is chock full of unique, independent spots perfect for bringing home a haul of books or taking in an event with the local community. Whether you’re shopping for children’s books with your kiddos in tow, attending an author event, searching for rare titles, or anything in between, the bookstores in our area have something for everyone. Let Crème de la Crème of Chandler take you on a tour of our favorite local spots.

Changing Hands

An adult reading a book to a child in a local bookstore in Chandler, AZ

Image by Adam Winger is licensed with Unsplash License

If you’re looking for a cool bookstore to explore close to Chandler, you won’t want to miss Changing Hands. Arizona’s leading independent bookstore is the place to go for new and used books, gifts, and toys, as well as more than 300 author events yearly. The popular bookstore opened in Tempe back in 1974 and has been serving the local community ever since.

In addition to its Tempe location, it also opened a Phoenix location in 2014 that’s also not far from Chandler. The Phoenix Changing Hands location grew out of an innovative and adaptive reuse project that repurposed central Phoenix’s iconic Beef Eaters restaurant. The Phoenix bookstore also is where you’ll find the First Draft Book Bar, which is one of only a few “book bars” in the country serving coffee, wine, and beer alongside the books and events.

Because you can get to Phoenix in about 30 minutes and Tempe in even less time, you’ll want to plan visits to explore both Changing Hands locations. In addition to the author events, the bookstore’s wide range of events includes workshops, book clubs, and more. Changing Hands translates into not one but two must-visit bookstores close to Chandler.

  • Location (Tempe): 6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe.
  • Location (Phoenix): 300 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

Want to explore shelves of books and more while doing good for your pocket and the planet? Head over to Bookmans Entertainment Exchange. This unique spot boasts shelves stocked by the community, creating an unparalleled shopping experience for used books and beyond. Shop for or sell books, comics, and magazines, as well as movies, music, video games, electronics, housewares, and even musical instruments.

Here’s how it works. You bring in items you want to sell, and the Bookmans staff sorts through and finds items they can use. You’ll have an offer ready in cash or Bookmans trade credit when you’re ready to go. This is the place to go to find a new home for any books, board games, music, movies, video games, or housewares you no longer need — or to shop for cool used books. The closest location to Chandler is in Mesa, but the small Arizona chain has a few other locations in the state.

  • Location: 1056 S. Country Club Drive, Mesa.

The Poisoned Pen

Yet another bookstore located within a half-hour’s drive of Chandler, The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale has been a favorite spot for bookworms to explore since 1989. This local bookstore specializes in fiction, and it’s the place to go if you’re searching for autographed first editions or imports. Browse through the selection of current and classic works, including mysteries, thrillers, historical and literary fiction, and literature of the American Southwest.

You can easily make a fun outing out of your bookstore visit because The Poisoned Pen is located in Old Town Scottsdale’s Art District. Beyond all the books you can buy, The Pen boasts a huge schedule of author and literary events, such as book launches and author talks. Can’t make it into town? You can always tune into one of the bookstore’s webcasts.

  • Location: 4014 N. Goldwater Blvd. #101, Scottsdale.

Palabras Bilingual Bookstore

Make the quick trip into Phoenix to explore another unique offering. Palabras Bilingual Bookstore, a community space and store, is your go-to spot close to home if you’re searching for books in English and Spanish. This spot is so much more than a bookstore, though. It’s also a local community and cultural hub that includes an art gallery, a workshop and event space, and a small mutual aid garden, not to mention a diverse collection of books.

Palabras seeks to promote cultural representation and liberation of Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC), including all intersectionalities, through its books and programs. It does this through community engagement in literature and the arts. Events include book clubs, book and brunch programs, open mics, and more. You’ll find all sorts of books here, too, from children and young adult selections to fiction, poetry, travel, and photography, to name only a few of the many genres available when you pay a visit to Palabras.

  • Location: 906 W. Roosevelt St., Suite 2, Phoenix.

Grassrootz Bookstore

Another cool bookstore to check out while you’re in Phoenix, Grassrootz Bookstore features books and a juice bar. The Eastlake Park location is a Black- and worker-owned bookstore that doubles as a downtown Phoenix community hub. An amazing selection of books is just the start.

The collection here includes children’s books, local authors, comics, Black history, and more. Head to Grassrootz for the many books, and stay for the fun jazz, poetry, and book signing events. You’ll be glad you made the quick trip from Chandler to Phoenix after spending time browsing the selection at this bookstore.

  • Location: 1145 E. Washington St., Suite 200, Phoenix.

Dog-Eared Pages

If you’re into browsing used books, another great Phoenix bookstore needs to make your list. Dog-Eared Pages is a great space for exploring used and rare books. The bookstore also hosts book clubs, writing groups, and discussion groups. Its catalog spans children’s books, history, cookbooks, and much more, so make a day of checking out unique, independent bookstores and see what treasures you can bring home.

  • Location: 16428 N. 32nd St., Suite 111, Phoenix. 

There you have it. Crème de la Crème of Chandler, Arizona, just gave you six great local bookstores to explore close to home. All of these bookstores are located in cities within about a half hour of Chandler, so you can easily plan outings with your family. Do you have another favorite bookstore we missed? Drop us a line so we can check out more recommendations.