NYC is home to many readers. Some like to read at bars and cafes while others like to do it in the privacy of their own home. Some like fantasy and others like non-fiction. However, there’s one thing every reader in the city has in common, and that is a favorite bookstore. Bookstores are all over NYC, meaning folks don’t have to go to Barnes & Noble just for a literary experience. So here’s to the smaller bookstores in NYC. These stores deserve just as much love as the big booksellers, if not more.
Best Bookstores in Manhattan
One of the larger independent bookstores in the city, Rizzoli has a ton of books stacked on beautiful mahogany shelves. They have a little bit of everything here, and have been fulfilling NYC’s literary needs since 1964. Their knowledgeable staff always has a recommendation at the ready, and they have special lists on their website that are perfect for holiday reads. Rizzoli also works with NYC Kids, so donate a book and help a child fall in love with reading.
Argosy Book Store
Specializing in old and rare books, this shop has been around since 1925, making it the oldest bookstore in the city. Spread out over six stories, this marvelous place is full of some of the rarest books in the world including pieces dating as far back as the 17th century. This store also does book restoration, as well as prints and older historical documents. This is the best place in the city to buy historical books, memoirs, and older legal/philosophical writings.
Sister’s Uptown Bookstore
This Black owned independent bookstore focuses on fiction and non-fiction by Black authors and visionaries. Doubling as a cultural center, this store sells books for any age group, and hosts regular educational events for children and adults. This bookstore’s staff is very knowledgeable, and love suggesting books that they have recently read and loved. For those seeking to educate themselves and support a Black owned businesses, this is the place to do both.
Best Bookstores in Brooklyn
This popular Greenpoint establishment has recently opened a second location in Jersey City. Hosting a plethora of events and book clubs, this store brings the reading community of Brooklyn together. They have a ton of readings and special events where readers can meet their favorite authors, and even get some writing tips while they’re there. This store is the perfect place to meet and expand a literary group of friends.
Located in Fort Greene, this bookstore is one of the best in the city, especially for younger readers. The shop has a ton of events catered to young story lovers, and an equal number of events catered to grown ones as well. This establishment has a partnership with another popular Brooklyn institution. BAM members get a 10% discount for any book they might want to purchase here.
Best Bookstores in Queens
This bookstore has a little something for everyone, including games and puzzles for those who like to exercise their minds, but not necessarily through books. The best part about this bookstore is their banned books section, which sells books, both adult and children’s literature, that have been banned in other states and/or schools for some reason. They believe that banned books, especially those with an anti-racist message, should be in the hands of everyone, adult and child.
Book Culture LIC
One of four Book Culture locations, this store sells everything, but specializes in academic books. That said, they sell all manner of fiction and non-fiction books, and even host special events for the children of the area. They buy used books that are in good condition, so people all over NYC can experience a good read. For kids who are too young to read, they have a ton of toys and games for sale as well.
Best Bookstores in The Bronx
The Lit. Bar
This bookstore/wine bar is the perfect way to spend a classy evening. They host special events, focusing mostly on authors of color, in which patrons can listen to readings, meet their favorite authors, and even participate in a wine tasting. This Black owned bookstore has created a unique environment, and continues to thrive in Mott Haven. If they don’t currently have a book someone is seeking, said book can be ordered and will be available within a few days.
A newer cafe and bookstore in Mott Haven, this store sports unique items like adult coloring books, avant garde stories, and a lot more. Edokia is a global publishing company, but this is their first store in NYC, and it’s already making a big splash in the literary community. This cozy space is perfect for those who just want to sit back and enjoy a quiet afternoon reading something they love.
Best Bookstores in Staten Island
Every Thing Goes Books
This establishment has a lot going on, which is why it’s one of the most popular bookstores in Staten Island. They only sell used books, so their supply is based on whatever customers donate to them. However, this place is also a venue for theater, poetry, and even live music on occasion. The art in this establishment is ever growing, and the coffee here isn’t half bad either. It’s one of the more unique bookstores in the city.
NYC has a ton of independent bookstores with rarer reads and a wider variety of options than most of the large book distributors. These independent stores need the community’s help to survive and thrive, and NYC has provided that community. For those seeking to become part of book clubs, wine groups, or who just want something new to read, the shops listed above are great places to start looking. The staff they have are extremely well read, they are often more affordable than other bookstores, and buying from them will help them stay open. So visit one of these places and get lost in a new book today.