The Grammar GuideSpellingShould I use "bookstore" or "book store"?

Should I use "bookstore" or "book store"?

Should I use "bookstore" or "book store"?

Bookstore is the correct spelling. Book store is incorrectly used instead of the compound word bookstore. In British English, bookshop is more commonly used. The plural form is bookstores or bookshops.

The hyphenated versions book-store and book-shop are also incorrect.

Compound words are two or more words that are combined to make a new word with a new meaning. They can be open compounds, closed compounds, or hyphenated compounds. Open compounds are words that stay separated by a space, such as living room. Closed compounds are words that are combined without a space, such as sunflower. Hyphenated compounds are combined by a hyphen, like merry-go-round.

Bookstore is an example of a closed compound word. It is always written as one word, and it is an American word that dates back to the mid-1700s. Today, it can be used to mean a physical store or an online store that sells books.

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Correct: I love supporting independent bookstores.
Incorrect: I love supporting independent book stores.
Incorrect: I love supporting independent book-stores.

Correct: The bookshop is closed on Mondays.
Incorrect: The book shop is closed on Mondays.
Incorrect: The book-shop is closed on Mondays.

Dictionary Definition of bookstoreDictionary Definition of bookshop

Examples of bookstore in a sentence

She’s probably a silent partner in that bookstore.
- Seeing Stars by Diane Hammond
Why would you look outside, when you're in a bookstore at night?
- The Straw Men by Michael Marshall
If the man spent any time in the bookstore before accosting her, then nobody noticed him.
- The Straw Men by Michael Marshall
Sorry to disappoint, but that’s why this book is in the “fiction” section of your bookstore.
- A Farewell to Legs: An Aaron Tucker Mystery by Jeffrey Cohen

Examples of bookshop in a sentence

Her heart was pounding as she walked up the hill toward the café and the bookshop.
- The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson
There wasn’t a soul inside the bookshop, apart from the girl behind the counter.
- The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson
Rebecka turned on her heel and quickly left the bookshop.
- The Savage Altar by Asa Larsson
Ducroix was an intellectual, a bookshop owner, a man of letters.
- The Tristan Betrayal by Robert Ludlum
Test yourself

Choose the missing word in each question.

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