New York City is a book lover's paradise. From towering skyscrapers to quaint, hidden streets, the city is filled with countless used bookstores, each offering a unique collection of literary treasures.
Whether you're looking for rare first editions, vintage paperbacks, or just a cozy place to curl up with a good book, there is no shortage of options.
What sets used bookstores apart from their big-box counterparts is the sense of history and character that each one exudes. Many of these stores have been around for decades, and each one has its own story to tell.
They are often run by passionate book enthusiasts who are eager to share their knowledge and love of literature with anyone who walks through their doors.
One of the best things about shopping at a used bookstore is the thrill of the hunt. You never know what treasures you might uncover on the shelves.
From classic novels to obscure titles, there is always something new and exciting to discover. And because the books are used, they often come with their own unique histories, adding an extra layer of intrigue to your purchase.
So whether you're a lifelong New Yorker or just visiting the city for the first time, be sure to check out some of the best used bookstores in the area.
From cozy independent shops to sprawling emporiums, there is something for everyone. So grab a coffee, settle in, and get lost in the world of literature.
1. Strand Book Store
Strand Book Store is a New York institution that specializes in new, used, and rare books. With 18 miles of books, it's a treasure trove for book lovers.
The store is split into multiple floors, each with its own unique selection of books. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making it easy to find what you're looking for.
In addition to books, the store also has a record store and bookish gifts. The recent addition of a coffee shop inside the store makes it a great place to spend a few hours browsing and reading.
Whether you're looking for a specific book or just want to get lost in the stacks, Strand Book Store is a must-visit for any bibliophile.
2. Word Up Community Bookshop/Libreria Comunitaria
Word Up Community Bookshop/Libreria Comunitaria is a volunteer-run used book store that offers a diverse selection of books in many languages.
The staff is friendly and helpful, making the shopping experience a breeze. The store hosts literary and community events that attract a diverse crowd.
The atmosphere is welcoming and cute, making it a great place to spend an afternoon browsing books. The prices are reasonable, and buying books here supports a local business rather than a corporate giant like Amazon.
If you're looking for a great used book store with a community feel, Word Up Community Bookshop/Libreria Comunitaria is the place to go.
3. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is a hidden gem of a used book store that specializes in vintage and rare cookbooks. The shop is snug but packed with an incredible selection of cookbooks, magazines, and antique volumes dating back to the 18th century.
The proprietor is friendly, low key, and knowledgeable about her stock, making her an excellent resource for finding specific titles.
Visitors can easily lose themselves for hours perusing the charming, cozy store and discovering interesting finds on every shelf, wall, and tabletop.
Bonnie's helpfulness extends beyond her books, as she even offers to repair torn covers and fit books with dust jackets. Anyone with a love of cookbooks or a passion for collecting rare books should make a shopping expedition to this bookstore a top priority.
Codex is a small but impressive used book store that any book lover would appreciate. The store is full of good books, both new and old, and they have an impressive collection of original first editions.
The books are well organized by genre, making it easy for customers to find what they're looking for. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, making the shopping experience all the more enjoyable.
In addition to their great selection of books, Codex also has a coffee shop attached, providing the perfect spot for customers to relax and read.
For those who enjoy foreign language books, Codex offers an impressive selection of French and Spanish books. If you're looking for a cozy and inviting used book store, Codex is definitely worth checking out.
5. Passageway Books
Passageway Books is a hidden gem for book lovers. This store offers a diverse and carefully curated selection of used and rare books.
The owners are knowledgeable and passionate about books, providing excellent recommendations and insights into the titles on offer.
Visitors are greeted by a charming atmosphere that invites them to explore the shelves.
With reasonable prices and a trade-in service, Passageway Books is a fantastic destination for book enthusiasts looking for something special.
6. Argosy Book Store
Argosy Book Store is a six-story treasure trove for book lovers. They specialize in antiquarian and out-of-print volumes, making it a haven for those who love rare books.
The store also has an impressive collection of vintage prints from magazines, Broadway, and other sources. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, making the shopping experience a pleasure.
The store has a charming and historic ambiance, with a warm and rich interior that invites customers to peruse their extensive collection.
The lower cost book selection in the basement is a fun way to spend an hour, and the autograph room and map room might as well be a museum as much as it's a store. Argosy Book Store is a must-visit destination for book lovers and collectors alike.
7. Sweet Pickle Books
Sweet Pickle Books is a charming used book store with a unique twist – pickles! The store boasts a large selection of used books that will satisfy any literary craving.
The staff is polite and knowledgeable, making it a pleasure to browse the shelves.
The energy of the store is fantastic and creates a welcoming atmosphere that will keep you coming back.
If you're a book lover in search of something different, Sweet Pickle Books is definitely worth checking out.
8. Mercer Street Books & Records
Mercer Street Books & Records is a small used book store that packs a big punch. With shelves full of second-hand books and racks of preview copies, there is something for everyone.
The store has a huge selection of art books of all genres and periods, making it a great destination for art enthusiasts. The ambiance is basic, but the titles are so entrancing that visitors barely notice.
The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, making for a pleasant shopping experience. It's a solid indie bookstore with decent prices, and visitors won't overpay for their finds.
This is a great spot to lose yourself while strolling through the corridors and encountering an unexpected book waiting for you. If you're in the neighborhood, it's definitely worth a visit.
9. Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks
Joanne Hendricks Cookbooks is a cozy used book store that specializes in antiquarian cookbooks.
The store boasts a fantastic array of old cookbooks from around the world, curated by the most interesting woman.
The owner is brilliant and just lovely, making the experience of visiting the store feel like walking into a picturesque painting of history.
It's a hidden NYC gem that's definitely worth checking out if you're a cookbook enthusiast or simply looking for a unique bookstore to explore.
10. Mast Books
Looking for a unique and curated selection of used books in the city that never sleeps?
Mast Books might just be the place for you. With a focus on art and design, this little bookstore also offers a small selection of rare books.
The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, but won't hover over you while you browse.
The collection is well-organized, and even the used books are in excellent condition.
The prices are fair, and you might just find a hidden gem amongst the stacks. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth stopping by.
11. Alabaster Bookshop
Alabaster Bookshop is a hidden gem for book lovers.
The store boasts an impressive collection of used and rare books in all genres, with knowledgeable staff on hand to help customers find what they're looking for.
The $2 racks outside are a great way to score a bargain, while the inside of the store is well-organized and easy to navigate.
This bookstore is a must-visit for anyone looking to escape the digital world and get lost in a good book.
12. Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc
Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc is a hidden gem for book lovers. The store is packed with books of all genres, ranging from classics to modern bestsellers.
The staff is knowledgeable and helpful, and the prices are incredibly reasonable.
The store also offers CDs and vinyl records for music enthusiasts. The cozy atmosphere of the store makes it a perfect place to spend an afternoon browsing through the shelves.
If you're looking for a unique book or a rare find, Westsider Rare & Used Books Inc is definitely worth a visit.
13. East Village Books
East Village Books is a cozy and well-curated used book store that any book lover will enjoy. The store has a diverse selection of books ranging from famous titles to more niche items, all at decent prices.
The quality of the second-hand books is really good, and the store is air-conditioned, making browsing a comfortable experience.
The staff is helpful, and the atmosphere is relaxed, making it easy to spend hours browsing through the stacks. The store also has a great selection of art books and exhibition catalogs.
In addition to books, they also have DVDs and music. If you're looking for a peaceful place to browse for books or just want to get lost in a good read, East Village Books is definitely worth a visit.