9 Best Independent Bookstores in New York

1. McNally Jackson

This two-level bookstore in SoHo offers everything your heart could ever desire. They have book clubs, unique daily events and a snug coffee shop inside where you can cozy up with a warm latte and a great book.

2. The Strand

If you’re an NYU student, it’s practically a rite of passage to go to Strand. The multi-level store near Union Square offers a wide variety of reading choices ranging from rare books to cheap, used copies to the newest hits. If you walk right outside of the store, you can find tons of racks of books for only $1 or $2. If you search hard enough, you might be able to find a hidden new favorite.

3. Housing Works

Just a few blocks away from McNally Jackson, Housing Works has nightly events including screenings, lively talks and fun performances. The best part is that everyone working there is a volunteer, and not to mention, all proceeds from the store go to supporting local non-profit organizations.

4. Bookbook

This small West Village bookstore doesn’t have the biggest selection, but it has a great environment and the staff is super knowledgable and helpful. I once needed a book for school and even though they didn’t have it in stock, we ended up having a great conversation about the author, and they even offered to order a copy just for me.

5. Bluestockings

This bookstore is also run by volunteers and its stock is devoted to feminism and social activism. If that itself doesn’t have you sold, they also have a great selection of zines and other things you might not find at your average bookstore.

6. Three Lives & Company

Michael Cunningham, a Pulitzer Prize winning author, called this bookstore “one of the greatest bookstores on the face of the Earth,” so it must be something else. This West Village gem might be closing soon, so make sure to check it out before it does.

7. Westsider Books

This Upper West Side store is overflowing with books. Its huge collection of used and rare books is guaranteed to give you something that’s one-of-a-kind. It’s also just a few blocks away from Levain Bakery, which has some of the yummiest cookies in the city! Cookies and reading? I think yes.

8. Greenlight

If you find yourself in Fort Greene (which is a neighborhood really worth checking out), this store has a fantastic selection, especially because they have many books by local authors who write about the local area. You could read about books where the setting is your backyard or very own district. That’s pretty neat.

9. Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books

This small store is a classic West Village institution from its name to its inventory, which has more books about Bob Dylan and Greenwich Village than you could possibly imagine. Quite frankly, the staff service turned out to be a disappointment, but on a brighter note, their unique stock is worth the trip.

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