Founded in 1745, the Moravian Book Shop is the oldest bookstore in America, the oldest continuously operating bookstore in the world and home to the Moravian University student bookstore. For nearly three centuries, booklovers near and far have looked to the Moravian Book Shop for its curated selection of books and iconic Moravian and Bethlehem themed gifts.
The Moravian Book Shop was founded in 1745 when the Moravian Church appointed Samuel Powell of the Church’s Crown Inn on the south side of the Lehigh River to operate a book store. After operating at several locations, the Moravian Book Shop was moved to the church’s publications building near the Central Moravian Church in Bethlehem in 1871. Today, the Moravian Book Shop operates in the same site on historic Main Street.
How can the Moravian Book Shop claim to be the oldest continuously-running bookstore in the world?
In April of 2000, USA Today stated that John Smith & Son, the longest continuously-trading bookseller in the world, established in 1751, was closing. Since the Moravian Book Shop was established in 1745, it was concluded that it must be the oldest continuously-running bookseller in the world.