New York City is a book lover's paradise. From small, independent stores to large, well-known chains, the city is home to some of the best bookstores in the world.
Whether you're a local or a visitor, exploring the city's bookstores is a must-do activity.
One of the reasons why New York City's bookstores are so special is their diversity. You can find stores that specialize in rare and collectible books, stores that sell only children's books, and stores that focus on poetry and literature.
No matter what your interests are, you're sure to find a bookstore that caters to them.
Another reason why New York City's bookstores are so beloved is their cultural significance. Many of the city's bookstores have been around for decades and have become landmarks in their neighborhoods.
They have played an important role in the city's literary history and have been gathering places for writers, artists, and intellectuals. Some bookstores have even been featured in novels and movies, making them famous beyond the city's borders.
In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at some of the best bookstores in New York City. We'll explore their unique features, their histories, and their cultural significance.
Whether you're looking for a quiet place to browse for hours or a lively spot to attend book readings and events, we've got you covered. So grab your tote bag and let's get started!
1. Strand Book Store
Strand Book Store is a landmark shop specializing in new, used, and rare books.
With three levels of well-stocked shelves, book lovers will find an impressive selection of books from all genres and eras.
The store also offers bookish gifts such as magnets, bookmarks, mugs, tote bags, and stationery. While it can get busy and there is no seating, the store now has a coffee bar.
This independent bookstore has its own charm and appeal, making it a must-visit for bibliophiles.
2. Kinokuniya New York
Kinokuniya New York is a Japanese-based bookstore that offers a large selection of Asian books, magazines, DVDs, and stationery. The store has three floors, each with its own unique offerings.
The first floor has a great selection of books, including foreign selections. The second floor is dedicated to manga, light novels, and Japanese merchandise. It also has a cute cafe that serves Japanese-style pastries and lunch foods.
The basement floor has Japanese magazines, books, and stationery. The store is perfect for those looking for manga, gundam, and Japanese books, including books for learning.
The checkout line moves rather fast despite its length. Kinokuniya New York is definitely worth visiting for those interested in Japanese culture or those looking for unique books and merchandise.
3. McNally Jackson Books Prince Street
McNally Jackson Books Prince Street is a must-visit bookstore for any book lover. This expansive bookshop and café offers a great selection of both bestsellers and hard-to-find titles.
The friendly and helpful staff are always on hand to help you find what you're looking for.
It's a great place to browse and relax with a cup of coffee, making it a neighborhood hub for books and coffee.
Don't miss out on the author events hosted here. You'll love the beautiful bookstore and the great selection of both books and stationary items.
4. The Drama Book Shop
The Drama Book Shop is a cozy bookstore that specializes in theatre, drama, and acting.
It has an incredible selection of scripts, musical vocals, monologues, and books that any actor or theatre fan would love. The staff is very helpful and welcoming, making it a great place to browse for hours.
The new location is bright, with a coffee shop, and an amazing sculpture runs through the whole place.
It's a hidden gem in the middle of the theater district and a must-visit for anyone interested in theatre and drama.
5. Three Lives & Company
Three Lives & Company is a cozy independent bookstore that has been selling a well-curated selection of hardcovers and paperbacks since 1968.
Despite its small space, the store is well stocked and thoughtfully arranged, making it easy for customers to find what they're looking for.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, always ready to help customers discover new books. Three Lives & Company also hosts readings, making it a great spot for book lovers to gather and discuss their favorite stories.
If you're looking for a charming bookstore with excellent customer service, Three Lives & Company is definitely worth a visit.
6. Sister's Uptown Bookstore
Sister's Uptown Bookstore is a community staple that offers a warm and friendly environment.
The owner is hands-on and available, making it a true neighborhood bookstore. They have a great selection of books, with a focus on history and political nonfiction.
The store also hosts book signings and monthly book club meetings. This Black-owned business has been around for over 10 years and is a cultural center that sells art and beauty products.
It is a great place to purchase books and support independent businesses.
7. Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore
Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore offers a diverse selection of thought-provoking books, zines, and trinkets. The space is warm and welcoming, with a cafe workspace in the back and a sit-down area for reading.
The friendly and helpful staff curate a selection of books on social justice, feminism, queer studies, and much more.
The bookstore is a safe and inclusive space, with an accessible restroom and a free essentials bar for the community.
Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore is a must-visit for anyone looking for a unique and inspiring bookstore experience.
8. Books of Wonder
Books of Wonder is a charming bookstore that specializes in children's and young adult books.
They have a good selection of books and the staff is friendly and helpful. The decor and style of the bookstore is delightful and adds to the overall experience.
The store also hosts semiweekly storytime for children and has a collection of rare books.
It's a great place to visit if you're looking for a cozy children's bookstore with a unique selection of books.
9. Argosy Book Store
Argosy Book Store is a six-story treasure trove of rare and antique books, maps, and prints. Established in 1925, this bookstore is a must-visit destination for book lovers and collectors alike.
The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and the store has an extensive collection of first editions and hard-to-find texts.
The atmosphere is reflective and peaceful, making it an ideal place to study or browse for hours.
With an art gallery, map store, and autograph room, Argosy Book Store is a unique and fascinating addition to any book lover's itinerary.
Codex is a charming used bookstore that offers a wide selection of books on various topics, including music, art, and foreign literature.
The store is well-curated and has rare copies of books that are hard to find elsewhere. Visitors can spend hours browsing through the shelves and discovering new titles.
The bookstore also has an inviting coffee bar where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee while reading their newly purchased books.
The cozy atmosphere and thoughtful selection of books make Codex a must-visit for book lovers.
11. Left Bank Books
Left Bank Books is a rare and unique bookstore that offers an incredible selection of books at all price points.
Their curated collection features books and ephemera from the 60s onwards, each handpicked and well-described.
The proprietor is knowledgeable and ready to answer any questions about the selection. The books change frequently, so there is always something new to check out.
They also have a great website and offer fast shipping. If you're a book lover, Left Bank Books is a must-visit.
12. Choices Books & Gift Shop
Choices Books & Gift Shop is a neat little store that offers a great selection of recovery books, workbooks, and spirituality items.
They also have a good inventory of coins, candles, and incense. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, making it a pleasure to visit.
The owner, Jay, is particularly helpful and always makes customers feel at home. The store is a great place to find addiction recovery and wellness titles, as well as unique gifts and jewelry.
If you're looking for a local bookstore and gift shop with a focus on self-help materials, Choices Books & Gift Shop is definitely worth a visit.