Our Story

Owners Ellyn Grimm and Amanda Lepper are both graduates of the Ames High School Class of 2001. Ellyn holds a degree in English from Iowa State University, is a former middle school and high school English teacher, and is a mom of three. Amanda earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Missouri, had a short-lived career as a newspaper journalist, and is the mom of four girls. Upon returning to Ames as young mothers, they bonded over a love of reading and community activism, and, over time, they dreamed up the idea that became Dog-Eared Books.

Dog-Eared Books opened on March 8, 2021, at 203 Main Street in Ames’ historic downtown shopping district. It occupies a building that was home to The Tilden Store, a family-owned general department store, which operated on Main Street for more than 100 years. Relics of The Tilden Store, including its 1920s-era cash register, are featured in the bookstore. 

Dog-Eared Books boasts more than 10 thousand unique titles, with everything from board books to adult literature, all handpicked by Ellyn and Amanda with the help of their staff of voracious readers. The store’s offerings also include an array of gift items, puzzles, and games. A variety of baked goods are available for purchase, as are coffee, tea, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages. 

Dog-Eared Books prides itself on its community connections and collaborations. For everything from its branding to its food, beverages, and retail offerings, Dog-Eared Books works with local makers, artisans and professionals. The store supports locals schools and organizations and joins local businesses and the downtown district in creating community events. Dog-Eared Books also offers 10 unique book clubs each month as well as author events, art installations, writers groups, puzzle completions, and trivia nights. 

In addition to shopping or visiting the store, readers can support Dog-Eared Books through audiobook purchases on their Libro.fm platform. And book lovers across the country are members of one of Dog-Eared Books’ four monthly book subscriptions, in which Dog-Eared Books identifies the best books being published each month and ships them right to your door. 

Whether you’re looking to be entertained, to learn, or to escape, we look forward to helping you find your next great read. We hope you’ll stop by soon and make yourself at home.

Amanda Lepper


Ellyn Grimm



Shop Dog

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