White Whale Bookstore – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a bookstore explorers dream, with multiple indie shops peppered throughout the city. Whether you like the organized clutter of the used shop, the minimalist flare of a new-book shop, or a little coffee while you browse the bookstore-café combo, Pittsburgh has it all. 

One of the most popular spots is White Whale Bookstore in Bloomfield, offering a “broad range of contemporary and literary fiction, poetry, history, philosophy, local authors, independent presses, and much more,” according to their website. 

Originally opened by Lesley Rains in 2011, her traveling pop-up shop format led to a more permanent spot in a public market before finally opening as a true brick-and-mortar shop in 2012, then called the East End Book Exchange and specializing in used titles. After running the shop for several years, though, Lesley was ready to move on.

In stepped Adlai and Jill Yeomans, who bought the shop in 2016. The pair was looking for a less hectic place to settle down after living and peddling books in NYC and settled in Pittsburgh in 2012. When the shop became available, the Yeomans’ dream of owning a book shop came to fruition, and White Whale Books was born.

The shop offers a clean, organized environment with an impressive inventory of mostly new and some used items. Handwritten notecards offer glimpses into titles, pulling quotes from reviews or simply offering insights and accolades to help browsers make the difficult decision of which books to buy.

The shop has become a true community hub, offering workshops, author readings and signings, book clubs, and more. White Whale is also active with area schools, hosting author visits, book fairs, summer reading lists, and books for classrooms. A few items can be purchased directly from their website as well.

I found my way to White Whale on a recent Pittsburgh bookstore crawl. Stay tuned to see more of the shops I visited.

White Whale Bookstoreis located at 4754 Liberty Avenue in Pittsburgh.

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