If you know books, you know how special independent booksellers are. Perusing the shelves of a bookstore is like searching for your next adventure. Sometimes you even get lucky enough to find something you weren’t even looking for. And, if you don’t want to pay full-price for the latest novel, an independent shop is your best bet. Here are the five best bookshops to find your next read.
New York, NY 10003
The Strand is hands down the best independent bookstore in the entire city. With “18 miles of books,” The Strand has basically anything you want to read at a discounted price. Looking for a new cookbook? How about a car repair book, a nonfiction about the history of ancient Egypt, the most recent bestselling novel? Just about anything you can think of is found within the walls of the Union Square building. As an added bonus, head to the top floor and smell the old and rare books housed there — heaven for book-lovers.
686 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Business partners since 2008, Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo dreamed up Brooklyn’s favorite bookstore after discovering their combined love of books. The shop’s start was made possible by a $15,000 award from Brooklyn Business Library’s Power Up! business plan competition. They also rallied over $70,000 from local community members who indicated a need for a bookstore. Greenlight is all about giving back to the community by offering kids programs, school partnerships, book groups and more. If you can’t make it there in person, shop their ecommerce site.
126 Crosby St.
New York, NY 10012
Housing Works is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to activism in the community, especially regarding homelessness and AIDS. Their bookstore and cafe is located downtown and is perfect for people-watching or to catch a special program. The organization is run almost entirely by volunteers and the profits go right to the organization.
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52 Prince St.
New York, NY 10012
If you’re looking for a place where the employees really know their books, you’ve found it. Can’t remember the name of the book you’re looking for? Want to pick up some special reading material for your sister for her birthday? McNally Jackson will help you find it. Plus, their cafe is a great place to hang out with your new purchase. Stay up-to-date on the latest releases and events by following the bookseller on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr.
116 E. 59 St.
New York, NY 10022
For the more intrepid purchaser, rare books, prints and maps are the specialty of Argosy Books. Founded in 1925, the bookstore has been run by the same family for three generations. Here you can find books on Americana, and the history of science and nature, plus art, autographed books, modern first editions and antique maps and prints. This is not likely a shop you just wander in from off the street, but is just as fun to wander through.
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Jennifer Eberhart is a writer, reader, crafter, traveler and New Yorker. She works in midtown New York City for non-profit organizations. Her degrees are in communication studies and art history.You can contact Jennifer on Twitter at @egyptologist. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.