"An independent bookstore brings a lot to a city or a town: a showroom for the latest literary releases, an auditorium where authors share their work and meet their fans, a bookish environment in which to sip coffee and a fun place to browse in the 20 minutes before the movie starts. But what’s less immediately visible is your local bookseller’s expertise and influence when it comes to introducing great books to your community and, ultimately, to the world."
And, I'd like to add, consider books from smaller presses as well as those from big publishers. Lots of fascinating, hard-to-categorize books fall through the cracks because books often need to conform to genre categories or big publishers won't touch them. Smaller presses do a great job of keeping these books alive.
Poets and Writers magazine has a convenient database of small presses.
Books that have come from small presses include:
The Wind-Up Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books). I loved this book, set in a sodden, futuristic Bangkok.
Tinkers, by Paul Harding, Pulitzer Prize winner (Bellevue Literary Press).
The Elegance of the Hedgehog (Europa Editions).
Out Stealing Horses (Graywolf Press).