Est. 2005

About Landmark Booksellers

Located on Main Street in the heart of one of the South’s most celebrated small towns, we offer carefully curated new, old and rare books covering a wide range of subjects and authors.


Joel & Carol Tomlin

Joel & Carol Tomlin, native Tennesseans from both middle and west Tennessee, have roots in Franklin, Williamson County that date back to 1802.  With a combined interest in books and reading, Landmark Booksellers became a love story of sorts for Joel and Carol.  When they married 25 years ago blending two families of seven children, ages 6 to 16, they promised one another that upon the youngest child’s graduation from school,  they would find a vocation they could enjoy together.  This commitment to each other and their love of books resulted in the opening of Landmark Booksellers in July of 2005.  “We are truly blessed to be able to enjoy and share something we both love, not only with one another, but with our customers, on a daily basis, in perhaps the most wonderful place in the world!”

Meet Joel & Carol
Meet Joel Tomlin

Meet Carol Tomlin

About the Store

over 35,000 new, old, and hard to find rare books
located in an historic antebellum landmark building circa 1808
over 2,000 signed first editions, maps, prints, post cards & ephemera

Our passion is Southern Americana, Tennessee, regional and local history, culture, art and literature. Featuring thousands of collectable signed first editions, hard-to-find editions of classic titles as well as important new releases. Our prices range from $10 to $10,000.

The original inventory that helped open the bookstore — a 35,000-plus collection — was purchased in 2005 from Ed Penny, owner for over 30 years of Dad’s Old Bookstore, which was located in the Green Hills area of Nashville.

Latest News

Meet our Booksellers

Click each photo to learn more.

Landmark Booksellers was the Inspiration for Karen Kingsbury’s book The Bridge, which is also a Hallmark Movie.

After visiting Landmark Booksellers, Franklin resident Karen Kingsbury was inspired to write her New York Times bestselling book The Bridge, 2012. A heartwarming inspirational story based on a bookstore in Franklin, the husband and wife who own it, a young couple from Belmont University who discover love, and a flood that brings them all together. An award winning, two part Hallmark Movie was soon to follow staring Ted McGinley and Faith Ford.

One of Franklin’s must-visit attractions is Landmark Booksellers. After visiting the shop in 2012, Franklin resident Karen Kingsbury was inspired to write her New York Times bestselling book, “The Bridge,” a heartwarming, inspirational story based on the bookstore and the husband and wife who own it. Joel and Carol Tomlin have deep roots in Franklin and Williamson County that date back to 1802, and their shared interest in books and reading led to the creation of this book lover’s paradise.

Joel and Carol got married 25 years ago and combined their families, promising each other they would find a vocation they both could enjoy together once the youngest child graduated from school. That promise led to the opening of Landmark Booksellers in July 2005. Today, the couple considers themselves blessed to be able to share their love of books with each other and their customers every day at Landmark Booksellers, which they deem the most wonderful place in the world.

Building History

Our building, circa 1808, was known as The Old Factory Store and has had visitors such as Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett.

Upon establishing Franklin in 1799, founder Abram Maury sold 3 lots in the town plan, including Lot 20 where our building is located, to Joseph McBride, of Nashville.

The building itself, now believed to have been built between 1806 and 1808, is the oldest commercial building still standing in Historic Franklin, Williamson County Tennessee.  Known as The Old Factory Store it has housed banks, shops, restaurants, juke joints, officers club, as well as many residents on the 2nd floor.

A landmark building, perhaps the earliest Greek Revival style structure in Middle Tennessee, among other important historic buildings, the Masonic Hall, tallest west of the Allegany’s, and St. Pauls Episcopal Church, the first Anglican church in Tennessee, point to the early culture, wealth and importance of Franklin and it’s residents.   Early visitors included such noted personalities as Andrew Jackson, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett.  It is believed Andrew Jackson’s troops were paid here in this building upon their long journey on the Natchez Trace returning from the Battle of New Orleans in 1816.  John Eaton one of Jackson’s closest friends, earliest biographers, and political allies lived directly across Main Street.

In 1825 Dyer Pearl, Thomas Parkes, and Joseph L. Campbell opened and operated a steam-powered cotton and grist mill on East Margin offering their goods from this prominent brick building on East Main. Other antebellum owners included Anderson & Baldwin (1833), Plunkett & Parkes (1843), M.G.L Claiborne (1855), and Spencer & McCoy (1858).

On December 12, 1862 the union army occupied Franklin, and U.S. Brig. Gen. David Stanley ordered the machinery destroyed at the cotton factory and the stones of the grist mill but he spared the factory store after taking five wagon loads of flour and whiskey.

Like other public buildings and homes in Franklin, this local landmark served as a hospital for the wounded after the horrible conflict on November 30, 1864. In 1869 Enoch Brown purchased the building from M.G.L Claiborne for $ 1,300, separating its economic connection with the mill on East Margin. Jeremiah Shea purchased the Factory Store in 1884, which remained in the family until 1940.

During the 20th century, the building housed Shea’s Grocery, A.J. Edwards Antiques & Furniture Repair, Elva Givens Antiques, Dotson’s Restaurant (1954-1978) and First Citizen’s Bank. For many years, in its later life, the building housed Dotson’s Restaurant before falling into severe disrepair. Kline Swinney Associates of Nashville, Tennessee worked closely with the Heritage Foundation of Franklin & Williamson County and the owner to restore the building while converting it for use as the main office for a local bank. Additionally, they assisted the owner in having the structure placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Factory Store was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1972.

In early 2005 the Tomlins purchased the building to open Landmark Booksellers.

Before-after photos courtesy of KSA Architects