Hicklebees, San Jose, CA: this modest children's bookstore (they have adult books, too) in the Willow Glen community of San Jose boasts great author event and an excellent book selection. If you go, look for the author signatures on the wall including J.K. Rowling. Children love reading in the bathtub filled with pillows.
Vroman's, Pasadena, CA. Vroman's is huge and has a great selection of books no matter what your preference and a decent cafe attached. The staff are friendly and knowlegeable. For those with young kids (or those young at heart) Vroman's has the best storytime I've heard, hands down, and I have been to more than most. If you go, ask for a telling ofRead to Tiger; it's a must hear.Powell's, Portland, OR. Of course no independent bookseller list would be complete without including Powell's, the largest independent bookstore in the US. It's a bit of a maze, but if you want it, they got it. For bargain seekers, they have some used books as well. It's always on my itinerary when I'm in town.
Kepler's, Menlo Park, CA (near Stanford). This bookstore has a troubled history that at one time closed it completely. But in a classic Silicon Valley move, they did a reboot with some investment from the community. While it is a bit more bear than it once was, the selection is solid, and the staff are friendly.
Books Inc, All around the San Francisco Bay Area
Politics & Prose, Washington, DC
McNally Jackson, New York, NY
Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA
Please join the conversation by adding your own favorite indie bookstore in the comments. I hope to check them out.