A look of places to find books

The best places to find books in the FM area

As a college student, reading can be a popular pastime, and in some cases essential to select courses. But obtaining reading material, whether for pleasure or otherwise, can be challenging. Costs such as tuition, housing, food, transportation and other expenses, can add up quickly with seemingly little to no room for books. However, there are a plethora of opportunities across the Fargo-Moorhead area that can connect you to your favorite books for less to nothing.

NDSU Library and Bookstore

For starters, the NDSU library is a huge resource for research, studying, and overall reading enjoyment. It has two convenient locations one directly on campus by Putnam Hall, and the other in the downtown campus area. In addition to research materials, the Math Emporium, and the Center for Writers, the main NDSU library has a variety of labs to enhance your learning. The building emphasizes peace and quiet which makes it a college essential no matter the time of semester. A plethora of additional information and resources can be found on the school’s website at library.ndsu.edu. As a given, the campus bookstore also connects you with specific textbooks for your various classes. 

The NDSU Library is a great place for on students to get books into between classes.
Photo Courtesy | Hayden Austin

Local Bookstores

The Fargo-Moorhead Area is also home to local bookstores that often offer more amenities and products than solely books. BDS Books, for example, is a bookworm’s paradise. The walls are lined top to bottom with books of all types. Comics, novels, children’s books, romance, thriller, fantasy, anything and everything can be found here all within a five minute drive from campus. They often have special deals and promotions as well where you can buy four books and get six free, or get a certain genre for a lower price. 

Other Local Businesses

Speaking of comics, a more specialized shop called Paradox Comics and Cards offers an assortment of media for action/fantasy fans. All your pop culture special interests can be found here including but not limited to Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Magic the Gathering, etc. At Paradox, staff are generally more well-versed in the specific products offered as opposed to a retail store. Finally, Zandbroz Variety is an aesthetic local shop downtown that offers an extensive book collection, as well as fancy writing and office supplies, making it the perfect place for gift shopping this holiday season. They are, however, a little pricier than going to a thrift store or something similar. 

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores can be a gold mine depending on your luck. Not only for apparel and trinkets, but for books as well; and at half the retail price! Chain thrift stores such as Savers tend to be overpicked and at a higher price, but can still be hiding your next favorite book. In addition to finding unique items to grace your bookshelves, you can feel good about supporting them as they are great for the environment and are often non-profit. The Arc Attic Treasures located on University Drive, for example, is a non-profit thrift store whose proceeds go to advocacy and social programs for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. On another note, if you’re looking for older/more obscure books The Now and Then Shoppe might be your place. It’s a unique shop that specializes in vintage and antique products. Other local thrift stores in the area include St. Francis Thrift Store, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and Savers among others.

Retail Stores

Now, not every thrift store has the newest or top-rated books available. But, some major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Target, and Walmart tend to have the newest and most popular books in stock, granted at a steeper price. Barnes & Noble is an especially good option as the atmosphere is centered around books, exuding a mellow, subdued vibe, and oftentimes includes a small cafe consisting of coffee, sandwiches, pastries, etc.

Public Libraries

Besides the campus library, Fargo has a public library open Monday-Saturday. Analogous to NDSU, they offer a variety of resources for book needs whether research or pleasure based. The venue is incredibly beautiful and well-designed with modernized architecture, striking and well-maintained landscape, in addition to cozy reading and studying spaces. There’s also a cafe! How perfect. The Dr James Carlson Library is a branch of Fargo’s main library located just south of I-94. West Fargo and Moorhead also have their own public libraries similar to Fargo’s. 

Little Libraries

A mini version of these public libraries exist fittingly called ‘Little Libraries’; an adorable concept around Fargo. If you haven’t seen them, or maybe haven’t recognized them, they’re birdhouse-like structures with books instead of birds inside. They’re typically located in various public areas such as neighborhoods and campuses. The general understanding is to take a book and leave a book much like a typical library, however if you aren’t able to provide books at the moment, taking one is acceptable as well and you can contribute one at a later date. In some areas, they also multi-function as a food pantry. The purpose of Little Libraries is to provide the community with books that they aren’t obliged to return at any point, in turn encouraging and facilitating the education and growth of a community.


The last potential book source is online. Although this option lacks the irreplaceable vibes of a bookstore or library, it may be a last resort option for the ‘final book in my series I can’t find anywhere’ or ‘book I need for class I don’t have time to shop for.’ So places such as Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc may come in handy in these situations. These are also good for niche items that are hard to come by anywhere else. Additionally, if Audiobooks are your thing, Audible is an excellent online streaming system for getting such books from your device. 

There you have it! From libraries to bookstores to even online, books can be bought, rented, or even picked up for free, virtually everywhere. These places serve as an essential part of our community promoting thought, education, and support. At the end of the day, Fargo-Moorhead is home to anything your bookworm heart could ever desire; vast amounts of books are waiting to be discovered and enjoyed by you downtown, on campus, online, or elsewhere! 

Leave a Reply