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Indie Bookstores: Left Bank Books, St. Louis, Missouri

Updated: May 30, 2022

Mindy Phillips Lawrence

Started by a group of Washington University graduate students who wanted an area cultural hub, Left Bank Books opened in St. Louis in 1969. It’s the oldest indie bookstore in St. Louis. It holds at least 300 events each year to maintain an in-person connection with all its readers. Covid slowed them down, but they’ve continued with online interviews and programs during the height of the pandemic.

Owned by Kris Kleindienst and Jarek Steele, the store hosts book signings for nationally known and area authors. It held focus groups on different topics before the pandemic and will return to hosting more when people feel safer about getting together.

Left Bank makes lists of resources on events in the St. Louis area. When Michael Brown was killed, Kleindienst made a reading list on that topic. The day after 911, she had a resource list on the Middle East.

COVID has been hard on their business. Many people have poured out help to them, but NO ONE wants another indie bookshop to go out of business. It offers curbside pickup, shipping, and delivery. You can order books online at:

Like many Indie bookstores, Left Bank has had its literary cats roaming the stacks. It’s a comforting place for them and for human book lovers of all kinds.

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