Independent & Specialty Bookstores in NYC

Before diving too deep in your academic books, why not treat yourself to an afternoon enjoying literature (while you still know how) in one of New York City’s most unique bookstores? Most are combined with cafes or at least have one in close proximity, ensuring you can make an entire afternoon of browsing and book-nooking.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe —
consider your afternoon “booked”

The Strand
An NYC institution this massive Union Square bookstore is a book lover’s dream. Their rare book room upstairs is also a must see.

Idlewild
This travel bookstore on 19th street at 5th avenue has a broad definition of travel book. The owner, who used to work for the UN, groups the store by country and mixes guides with literature.

Kitchen Arts and Letters
Located on Lexington avenue between 93rd and 94th this is the largest food bookstore in the United States.

St. Marks Bookshop
This lower east side staple (on 3rd avenue between 8th and 9th streets) has been around since 1977 specializing particularly in poetry, small publishers, graphic design, cultural theory and film studies.

Kinokuniya Bookstore
A concentrated bubble of Japanese culture near Times Square, Kinokuniya has an extensive collection of Japanese books, movies, magazines and manga. Imported pens, pencils, stationary and other paraphenelia can also be found here (who doesn’t need a giant, stuff Domo?). Japanese Cafe Zaiya is also located upstairs.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
A bookstore combo with balconies, bookshelf ladders and vinyls galore for that “classic bookstore” feel, and a cafe to ensure a relaxing afternoon. On top of that, this bookstore is a non-profit with proceeds going to support the cause against AIDs and homelessness.

McNally Jackson Books
Another bookstore-cafe combo that will send bibliophiles reeling, McNally Jackson’s also features a Self-Publishing Department to help you publish your own book right in the store.

Book Thug Nation
Located in Williamsburg, and claiming to have a specialty collection in Literary Fiction, Film, and Philosophy, this book shop is any “hipster’s” dream.

BookCulture
Located right here in Morningside Heights, their larger location on 112th between Amsterdam and Broadway is a favorite of students looking for course books. Their location on Broadway boasts a basement level children’s section that will make you wish you were five again.

Image courtesy of For Lack of a Better Title.

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2 thoughts on “Independent & Specialty Bookstores in NYC

  1. Book Book in west village is also a good place for getting cheap books. (The cheap stack is in the front.) They are brand new and are cheap because they are over prints and the owners are fantastic at recommending new books if you ask. They also generally leave you alone when browsing. Highly recommended if you happen to be in the area.

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