Best Independent Bookstores in Manhattan



When thinking about shopping in NYC, it’s easy to get jazzed about the big brand names dotting Midtown’s streets, just a few blocks from Roger Smith Hotel—Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Tiffany & Co., Saks Fifth Avenue. Once you’ve exhausted your high end shopping craving, consider winding down with a trip to an indie bookstore. You can find a book for a relaxing night in your suite, or head over to Bryant Park to do some reading on a bench in the sun.

McNally Jackson

@mcnallyjackson instagram best bookstore nyc

Owned by husband and wife duo, Sarah McNally and Christopher Jackson, this bookstore has a wide variety of international, classic and contemporary reads. With a cafe and a printing press open to the public, McNally Jackson is an excellent SoHo spot to pick up your next favorite read. McNally Jackson: 52 Prince Street; 212-274-1160

Photo courtesy of @mcnallyjackson on Instagram

Idlewild Books

Idlewild books on Facebook best bookstore nyc

Near Washington Square Park, Idlewild represents a unique opportunity for book and travel nuts to combine their two greatest loves. Shop by country, region, and language, and begin planning your next excursion abroad. If you’re seriously committed to an immersive travel experience, check out Idlewilds language classes. For just a couple hundred dollars, you can learn French, Italian, Spanish and German—no matter your level of experience. Idlewild Books: 170 7th Ave S; 212-414-8888

Photo courtesy of @Idlewild-Bookshop on Facebook

192 Books

192 Books courtesy of @192BooksNYC on Facebook

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. 192 Books: 192 10th Ave; 212-255-4022 

Photo courtesy of @192BooksNYC on Facebook

Strand Book Store

Strand Books courtesy of @strandbookstore on Facebook

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!

Strand Book Store: 828 Broadway; 212-473-1452

Photo courtesy of @strandbookstore on Facebook


housingworks books nyc

Housing Works is a New York City-based non-profit committed to the livelihood of those living with HIV/AIDS. Their book store is located in Nolita, and features a fully stocked cafe, excellent events and workshops, and an incredible mission. The store is stocked almost entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds go to the broader Housing Works mission. Housing Works Bookstore Café: 126 Crosby St; 212-334-3324

Photo courtesy of @HousingWorksBookstore on Facebook

Books of Wonder

@booksofwonder Instagram best bookstore nyc

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. Books of Wonder: 18 W 18th St; 212-989-3270

Photo courtesy of @booksofwonder on Instagram

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