Portsmouth's Bookstores

The Local's Guide to Portsmouth



 

Sheafe Street Books’ Ken Kosick

Sheafe Street Books
29 Sheafe Street in Portsmouth
(603) 498-5202

Local book hoarder Ken Kosick can be found within a fortress of reading material at his Sheafe Street shop. “Some people have wondered if the structure can handle all the weight,” he admits, looking around at the floor-to-ceiling collection of first-edition beat poets, contemporary fiction and 17th-century manuscripts. The store is full of stories both imagined and real, like the time a patron proposed to his girlfriend by hiding the ring inside a hollowed-out book.

Kosick isn’t alone in his love of books. He’s got his cat Petunia, fond of sleeping on Emerson and Steinbeck, and he has a wide community of book lovers who cherish his small, carefully curated shop. “In a population of 21,000 in Portsmouth, to have three [independent] book stores is incredible,” he gushes, talking, of course, about his competition.


RiverRun Bookstore
142 Fleet Street in Portsmouth
(603) 431-2100

The longest-standing independent bookstore in Portsmouth, RiverRun has a thoughtful book collection and a friendly, well-read staff. When this local staple ran into difficulty making their rent in 2011, hundreds of townspeople not only donated money to save them, but also formed a human chain to move the store, one box at a time, to the new location.


Portsmouth Book & Bar
40 Pleasant Street in Portsmouth
(603) 427-9197

Book & Bar is a rare space that transcended its own novelty to become a popular local hangout almost immediately. The cozy-yet-elegant bookstore has had a solid following since its opening day in 2012. This is partly due to a great selection of books and a weekend lineup of talented musicians, but it doesn’t hurt that they offer craft beer on tap for those who want to sip while they browse.

The Local's Guide to Portsmouth

The Local's Guide to Portsmouth

If you're looking for the best cafes, restaurants and bookstores, then you can tail a Portsmouth native, or you can cheat and read this guide.

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