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Bookish Tulsa: Five local bookstores around town

See-ming Lee / SML

Tulsa is a great city for readers. With a robust library system and plenty of great locally-owned bookstores, it's easy to plan a leisurely bookish day in town. And with spring upon us, we will have many rainy reading days to come, too.

Whether you're looking for your next read, or just wanting to spend a day in the stacks, here's some local bookstores to peruse and wander.


Richard Gardner was a voracious reader. He always had a book with him, and when he traveled, he made sure to pack an extra bag for his beloved reads. For decades, Richard ran a tax service, just down the street from where Gardner’s Used Books & Music now stands at 44th and Mingo.

The building was originally a furniture store, which Richard always envisioned as a great bookstore. When the building went up for sale in 1991, he made his vision a reality. On the same day he closed on the property, Richard went home with his two sons, packed up all the books in their house and took them to the store. Gardner’s opened that day — no bookcases, no cash registers — just a calculator, cash box and loads of books.

What started as boxes of books on the floor has become about 23,000 square feet lined with bookshelves full of used books, comics, music and multimedia. Years after Richard’s death in 2017, his spirited love for books still permeates the stacks.

Hours fade away between the narrow aisles of Gardner’s. My favorite way to enjoy this land of books-aplenty is with a full stomach, tall cup of coffee in hand and a vague idea of what I’m wanting.

Emily Steward/Mediaform
The interior of Magic City Books.


Magic City Books epitomizes what it means to be an independent bookstore — building community around reading, hosting authors, fostering a love of books and supporting all things local.

MGB was born out of Tulsa Literary Coalition, a grassroots non-profit founded in 2015 by Jeff Martin and the late Cindy Hulsey, a longtime reading advocate and librarian at Tulsa City-County Library. Steve’s Sundry had recently closed, and Jeff noticed that there wasn’t a local shop selling new books anymore. He envisioned a new store model, like a museum gift shop — a retail operation that benefits a non-profit organization.

Jeff and Cindy welcomed readers to the new bookstore in 2017. Since then, MGM has hosted numerous local and national authors, book clubs and bookish events like an adult book fair and outdoor book bash. “Over the past seven years [and] through many trials, we’ve learned how much we depend on our community and how much they depend on us,” Jeff says.

Tulhoma Books/Instagram
Tulhoma Books is a pop-up bookstore. Here, they are set up at Foolish Things.


Tulhoma Books is a pop-up bookstore that specializes in food- and garden-related books. Owner Taryn DeWitt opened the mobile shop in January 2023. As a college student, she had the opportunity to study abroad multiple times. When she returned from her travels, Taryn purchased cookbooks to learn how to cook the food she enjoyed from her trips. She says this process helped her grow in respect and understanding of other cultures.

Tulhoma grew out of her love for global cooking and her desire to equip people with the tools to be better cooks, hosts and human beings. Along with selling cookbooks, food writing and children’s nature and gardening books, Tulhoma Books hosts occasional cooking classes and food-focused book clubs.

You can find Taryn’s books for sale at Cabin Boys Brewery and Addis Ceramics. She often sets up shop at the Downtown Tulsa Midweek Market and the Saturday Tulsa Farmers' Market.

The Oklahoma Eagle
The inside of Fulton Street Books, located on Greenwood Avenue.


Fulton Street Books & Coffee is a bookstore, but more than that, it is a place of gathering and hope. Located in Tulsa’s historic Greenwood District, this Black-owned bookstore builds on the legacy of Black Wall Street with a mission to nurture community and uplift marginalized voices.

Onikah Asamoa-Caesar opened the bookstore in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. She wanted to create a safe space where people of diverse backgrounds could see their stories reflected in the shop’s books.

Nearly four years since Fulton Street’s opening day, the bookstore continues its work promoting literacy and being a home for readers and coffee lovers alike. Along with author events, Fulton Street provides curated subscription boxes paired with discussions, like The Cause Club, a “quarterly book club for folks who want to be catalysts for change.”

Whitty Books/Instagram
The curated bookshelves of Whitty Books.


Situated in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, Whitty Books is the place to look for weird, speculative, diverse and under-the-radar reads.

Victoria Moore and Julian DeLesDernier opened this indie bookstore in July 2018. Victoria grew up in Kendall Whittier and returned to the neighborhood as an adult, where passing through the main street, she pictured a neighborhood book shop.

Within its bright, blue walls, Whitty Books hosts regular book clubs on horror, fantasy/sci-fi and creative writing. It also houses Horns & Rattles Press, co-founded by Victoria and authors H.V. Patterson and Jes McCutchen, which publishes speculative fiction works. This month, the shop will present Tulsa LitFest alongside Fulton Street Books to celebrate writers, readers and literary pursuits.

This story was originally shared in PRT's arts-and-culture newsletter Our Town. Subscribe here to get these stories first.

Julianne joined Public Radio Tulsa in June 2022 as Development Associate. She wear many hats at the station — connecting with listeners, writing PRT's newsletters, planning events and doing digital behind-the-scenes.