Celebrate the beauty of the mom-and-pop book shop with these four Jackson indie bookselling, literary treasures.
Lemuria’s booksellers talk about the origins of the store in terms of John Evans – the founder, owner, and book buyer. Evans opened Lemuria in The Quarter on Lakeland Drive in 1975 when he was 24 years old and needed a place to buy books.
From author signings and readings — many standing-room-only occasions in the book store’s “Dot-com” annex — to Lemuria’s leading-edge participation in the Mississippi Book Festival held each August, Evans notes his staff as a driving factor to that success.
“Realistically, it’s the dedicated young booksellers we have. The art of bookselling is still something you don’t get in other places. You can save a lot of time and energy if you read a lot to have a bookseller you interact with, someone that knows your tastes. It’s like a doctor… hardware… a mechanic. Interaction adds to the experience.”
Lemuria specializes in rare first-editions as well as new release books and specialty sections, plus, a special kids section, Oz. Call 601-366-7619.
Marshall’s Music and Book Store
The Christian bookstore at 618 North Farish Street opened in the 1940’s in the historic Farish Street District in Jackson. It is believed to be the nation’s oldest operating bookstore owned by a black person.
Maati Jone Primm is the third-generation owner and operator of the bookstore, which is named after her grandmother. She says they’ve operated on Farish Street for their entire 80-year history.
The decor in the historic Louise Marshall’s is rustic and informal. Dozens of computer printed and photocopied images adorn the walls with handwritten captions. The photos are of Pan African pioneers, civil rights activists and black entertainers. Many of them are from Mississippi.
Primm says they’re able to stay open because they are considered a destination location and many of their customers have shopped with them for decades.
The shop offers Christian books, sheet music and custom choir robes. Call 601-982-7112.
Image, text: MPB
Approximately 1,500 square-foot at its original location in Midtown, Coffee Prose is located on the first floor of the two-story, mid-century modernist building directly across from Millsaps College. Featuring a coffee drive-thru, sweets – including Popsicles, well-loved books, beer and wine, Coffee Prose now has a second location at Highland Village, and soon, a third, at the Eco Shed in the Industry Park neighborhood.
The book selection ranges from kids favorites to history, southern fiction, mystery and more. Their online store features a curated assortment of titles.
Coffee Prose considers itself a community space at heart. Call 769-208-0230.
The Book Rack
The Book Rack at Canton Mart Square has been a Jackson fixture for over 50 years. Well-remembered, longtime owner, Margaret McMullin, operated the store selling quality used books for many years. After she died, her son, Mark, and his wife Sarah took over. Chris and Missie McCoy purchased the store in November 2013, and, in 2018, Christy Soloveichik became the owner.
The Book Rack carries all genres, mainly paperbacks, from vintage to current release, categorized by genre and alphabetized with many obscure, one-off titles, mostly in paperback. The Book Rack also offers coffee and coffee drinks. Call 601-956-5086.
Check with individual stores for hours and offerings.