Bookstores & Comic Stores in Charlotte
Nothing brings the world together quite like a good book. No matter who you are, where you’ve been or what you aspire to be, there’s a book for you. That includes comic books too, with some of the most exciting characters and intricate stories in history woven together with eye-popping visuals for the maximum effect.
by Charlie Leonard
Every single book and comic book are unique in their own special way, and so are the small stores that sell them. With store picks, fun merchandise and gifts, plus passionate staff that love what they do, an independent bookstore or comic bookstore is a world of its own that is just as fun and captivating as what’s on the shelf.
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Tucked away in a shopping center at the intersection of The Plaza and Central Avenue, Book Buyers is packed with massive shelves full of used books in every genre imaginable. You can either buy the books from inside or outside on their sale rack, or trade-in your own personal books depending on their condition and popularity. There’s even a small marketplace called The Greener Apple that sells a variety of food and products that are certified vegan and eco-friendly. Don’t forget to say hello to the friendly in-store cats when you visit!
Doc of Doc’s Basement in nearby Belmont has been collecting comic books and figurines ever since he was a kid. Despite his disappointment over not gaining superpowers, Don was able to turn his other dream into a reality by selling a rotating selection of comic books and collectibles. There’s also trading cards, apparel and toys for sale, as well as an area to play video games.
Named after Goldberry from J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendary Lord of the Rings book series, Goldberry Books is just getting started after opening in 2020. Owners David and Bethany Kern strive to promote the arts and connect the community through their new storefront in Concord’s historic downtown. Featured in Goldberry’s collection are a selection from J.R.R. Tolkien and his lore, new fiction favorites, and yearly reading lists amongst a rotating selection. You can also listen to the store’s podcasts, Close Reads: A Podcast for Incurable Readers, for book lovers, and The Daily Poem for poetry lovers.
The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe
Opening in 2012 as a vision by Mecklenburg Community Church pastor, James Emery White, The Grounds Bookstore and Cafe serves as a community gathering point for coffee and “faith-strengthening” resources. The bookstore offers Bibles and new and used books on Christian topics, while the coffee shop serves a wide selection of classic coffee drinks and merchandise. Proceeds from every purchase at The Grounds go directly to the local ministry efforts of the church.
Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find
Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find in the Elizabeth neighborhood is not just one of the premier comic bookstores in Charlotte but across the entire United States. The comic bookstore has an extensive collection of new and older issue comics—including Silver and Golden age comics—graphic novels, manga and other collectibles. Founded by owner Shelton Drum in 1980, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find prides itself on maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere with a knowledgeable staff that provides quality service. Be on the lookout for the annual Heroes Convention that’s been hosted by the store for almost four decades in the celebration of all things comic books.
I've Read It In Books
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
One of the newest bookstores in the Charlotte area is Plaza Midwood’s, I’ve Read It In Books, located inside the Tip Top Daily Market. The store specializes in books that are “radical” and “not-so-radical,” with specialization in works of alternative political philosophy, LGBTQIA+ titles, BIPOC titles, local authors, zines and music.
Main Street Books
Main Street Books in Davidson has been the unofficial independent bookstore of the Lake Norman area since 1987. The store is very active in the community, regularly featuring book readings and signings, book clubs, writing clubs, storytime and author Q&As. Be on the lookout for the staff picks section on their website or in-store to help with your next purchase. For a more personalized touch, sign up for The Matchbox, Main Street Books’ monthly book subscription program that comes in different tiers to match your tastes and commitment level.
Paper Skyscraper is way more than just a store, earning them the love and admiration of the Charlotte community and beyond. For more than 25 years, the Dilworth store has served as one of the best gift shops in the area with 5,000 square feet of books, magazines, cards, toys, socks, kitchenware, and other various Charlotte-centric items. Specifically, their book and magazine selection at the front of the store range from new and trending features, best-sellers, coffee table reads, cookbooks and interactive notebooks.
Parker Banner Kent & Wayne
Named after the aliases of some very well-known superheroes, downtown Cornelius’ Parker Banner Kent and Wayne is a comic book haven hiding in plain sight. Owner John Milburn is a lifelong comic reader, and his store offers a variety of comics from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and others. Parker Banner Kent and Wayne also sells board games, miniatures, RPGs, and CCGs like Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon.
Park Road Books
From its storefront location in the Park Road Shopping Center, Park Road Books has reigned as the cornerstone of Charlotte area independent bookstores. For 45 years, Park Road Books has operated as a full-service bookstore complete with new releases, local author highlights, staff picks, book clubs and author signings, and other fun events. Come check out a Charlotte classic for yourself, and don’t forget to say hello to Yola, the in-store dog, when you arrive!
Rebel Base Comics and Toys
Since 1994, Rebel Base Comics and Toys in Cotswold has been one of the best places in Charlotte to find comic books and collectibles. The selection of comic books changes on a regular basis but consistently features old and new comics from Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, IDW, and others, plus vintage toys that are harder to find. Subscribers to Rebel Base even get a 20% discount on comics!
Area: Mobile and Online
Popping up on Oprah’s list of independent, Black-owned bookstores in 2020, Charlotte’s Shelves Bookstore founded by Abbigail Glen embodies the belief that reading is freedom. The bookstore is primarily online but regularly pops up around the Queen City for different events. A specialty section on Shelves Bookstore’s website is their Promising Pages Wishlist that amplifies stories with diverse characters and backgrounds.
Spandex City Comics
Area: Northwest Charlotte
Spandex City in the Mountain Island portion of Northwest Charlotte combines two things that everyone loves: comic books and ice cream. Enjoying one of X-tra Ball Ice Cream & Pinball’s hand-spun milkshakes or premium ice cream flavors inside Spandex City makes shopping even more of a treat. The Spandex City side has many different comic books, graphic novels, games, and collectibles to choose from, plus a selection of popular games, apparel and other distinct items.
That’s Novel Books
Neighborhood: Camp North End
That’s Novel Books fits in perfectly with the burgeoning art-forward community at Camp North End due to their great selection of used books. Located in the Mount section behind Good Postage and across from Leah & Louise and Free Range Brewing, the store is a great stop for any used books, books by local authors and book-themed merchandise.
Stop by one of these Charlotte area bookstores or comic bookstores to find your next big adventure between the pages.