Four expert-approved ways to pay less tax
Four expert-approved ways to pay less tax

Nick Charalambous

This Monkstown home is a serene dream, yet still perfectly suited to the demands of family life
This Monkstown home is a serene dream, yet still perfectly suited to the demands of...

IMAGE Interiors & Living

Crossing: Director Levan Akin on his new film, patriarchy and the importance of family
Crossing: Director Levan Akin on his new film, patriarchy and the importance of family

Sarah Finnan

Weekend Guide: Festivals, exhibitions, and more great events
Weekend Guide: Festivals, exhibitions, and more great events

Sarah Gill

IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands
IMAGE staff pick their top skincare products from French beauty brands

Edaein OConnell

Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000
Inside the former tram ticketing office on the market for €680,000

Sarah Finnan

The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene
The rise of teeth gems on the Irish scene

Oyindamola Animashaun

Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods
Page Turners: ‘The Story Collector’ author Evie Woods

Sarah Gill

5 foolproof summer ‘fits
5 foolproof summer ‘fits

Sarah Finnan

The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about
The massage I’ve spent the past month thinking about

Sarah Gill

Ditch Amazon and buy your books from these independent Irish stores instead
Image / Living / Culture

Marrowbone Books

Ditch Amazon and buy your books from these independent Irish stores instead


by Sarah Finnan
16th May 2024

With online retail giant Amazon set to launch an Irish site next year, it’s more important than ever to shop local and support the independent bookstores. Here are 11 of our favourite destinations scattered all across Ireland to browse in store or online for your next great read…

Last week, Amazon announced that they’ll be launching an Irish website in 2025, a move which could have huge potential ramifications on the independent booksellers of Ireland, leaving them more than a little worried.

Taking to Instagram, Kenny’s Bookshop in Galway wrote: “There is always an alternative to Amazon. Local businesses pay their taxes, provide shops on the high street, employ local staff and put money back into their communities. Today’s news puts a lot of small Irish businesses at risk.”

All too similar to the plot of You’ve Got Mail—instead in this case, it’s Jeff Bezos and not the utterly charming Tom Hanks threatening to shut down The Shop Around the Corner—now’s the time to bring that same energy we brought during the pandemic and support our local bookshops.

Here are eleven of our favourites…

Kenny’s Bookshop, Galway

Housing close to one million new, secondhand, and rare books, Kenny’s Bookshop is an independent, family business with over 80 years under their belt — they were first established back in 1940, and they’ve kept the show on the road ever since. Huge advocates for the Irish language and up-and-coming talent, they also host book launches and in-person readings on site, just outside of Galway city.

No Alibis, Belfast 

independent bookshops

Continuously listed among one the country’s top-rated bookshops, No Alibis is a firm favourite with both Belfast locals and those visiting the area. Specialising in crime fiction, you’ll find much more than that inside its brightly tiled exterior, so it’s worth a visit no matter what genre you’re into.

Scéal Eile Books, Clare

A bookshop and intimate arts venue in Ennis, Scéal Eile Books really is another story… at least in terms of the gorgeous community atmosphere owners have managed to create inside. Housing over 800,000 new, rare and used books within, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a title they haven’t come across. 

Vibes & Scribes Bookshop, Cork

Taking pride of place on Lavitt’s Quay, Vibes & Scribes is Cork’s oldest independent bookshop – a role they take very seriously. Appealing to the romantic side of book-buying, owner Joan Lucey is always happy to help and comes with plenty of suggestions should you need a recommendation or two. Perhaps we’re not the only ones to take our cues from Hugh Grant after all…

Little Acorns Books, Derry

If rubbing elbows with the authors themselves is something you’d be interested in, look no further than Little Acorns Books in Derry where you’ll oft come across writers calling in to say hello. One for the history nuts, the venue is also home to Ireland’s only typewriter museum, displaying a range of antique typewriters collected over the years. You are bound to be impressed by our collection of typewriter, some of which are quite valuable.

Marrowbone Books, Dublin

independent bookshops

Blessed with many a different bookshop – some better known than others – Dubliners have their pick of the litter when it comes to sourcing new things to read. Marrowbone Books in The Liberties is a personal favourite though, largely due to its bright yellow paint job, very aesthetic interior and the probability that you might even make a new furry friend while you’re there. Other Dublin haunts well worth a visit include Ulysses Rare Books, The Winding Stair Bookshop and Hodges Figgis (not an exhaustive list by any means).

Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop, Galway

independent bookshops

Anyone who’s anyone will have heard of Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop. A Galway institution, it comes highly recommended and is always top of my must-visit when out west. Incorporating everything a good bookshop should have (in my opinion, at least), you’ll happily lose hours of your life winding your way around their bookshelves…  which are always laden with options.

Woulfe’s Bookshop, Kerry

independent bookshops

Described as a “treasure chest for the curious mind”, Woulfe’s Bookshop in Listowel has a huge range of titles – many of them by Irish authors. Open since April 2005, owner Brenda Woulfe has close to two decades of experience, so you can definitely trust her judgement when it comes to finding a new book to get stuck into. 

Books at One, Mayo 

independent bookshops

To be found out in Louisburgh, Co Mayo, Books at One is nestled between Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick and Connaught’s highest mountain, Weelrea. Inspiring many a creative with its wild, rugged coastline, the bookstore is rooted culture – which you’ll find by the bucketload inside its doors. As their website puts it, “we could write a book about the characters who have inspired and been inspired by Louisburgh, and perhaps one day we will, but until then why not come and experience it for yourself and let Books at One be your guide”. 

Liber, Sligo

Combining music and literature, Liber offers customers the best of both worlds at their baby blue shop in Yeats County. Steeped in the arts, owners Brian and Ailbhe Caliendo take a huge interest in the local talent and can always be relied on to have titles by up-and-coming musicians/artists/writers/filmmakers amongst those that line their shelves. 

Village Bookshop, Wicklow

independent bookshops

From Paul Murray’s The Bee Sting to Kiley Reid’s Come and Get It, you’ll find a mix of everything at the Village Bookshop in Greystones. In business for over 30 years now, this store is brimming with the latest bestsellers, and any space left is filled with conversation between staff and customers.

A version of this article was originally published in August 2021.