Best Independent Bookstores in Manhattan



New York City is the publishing capital of the world and the inspiration for countless works of literary genius. Reputation considered, it’s safe to say that the best independent bookstores in Manhattan have plenty to offer. These quirky spots brim with character and offer selections for the the prolific reader, the committed skimmer, the intellectually curious, and the illustration fiend.

McNally Jackson

Down in the trendy neighborhood of Nolita, McNally Jackson has an admirable selection of classics and more-interesting, less-commercial picks from major best-seller lists. It’s also worth noting, they sell adorable-artsy cards nearby a delightful in-house cafe that serves fresh scones with butter and jam.


192 Books

Located in the heart of Chelsea, nestled among New York City’s premier art galleries, 192 Books is owned and intimately managed by renowned gallerist Paula Cooper. They host impressive signings by authors like Pulitzer Prize winner Jane Smiley, and artists like iconic composer Philip Glass.


The Strand Bookstore

Famous for their 18 miles of books, this Union Square bookstore has attracted readers since 1927. In the heart of downtown, The Strand features an exceptionally broad inventory with outside sidewalks stacked with dollar books, and two floors of every theme, genre, and style one could imagine.

Insider Tip: head up to the 3rd floor where they keep the rare and antique books, it’s a real treat for browsing!



This nonprofit bookstore raises money to provide aid and support for homeless New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS. Staffed by volunteers, this humanitarian shop impresses from charming spiral staircases to a little cafe stocked with soups, sandwiches, baked goods, coffee, and more.


Books of Wonder

From the Wizard of Oz to The Day the Crayons Quit, Books of Wonder caters to New York City’s younger readers with classics and new sensations. Bring the kids by for one of their weekend Story Time sessions, or head there yourself and peruse limited edition prints and rare novels.



cover image via flickr

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