New York’s bookstores aren’t dead!

Photo: Clouds Architecture Office
St. Mark's Bookshop's spiffy new space.

Despite the Internet’s efforts to take down brick-and-mortar bookstores, indie shops all over town continue to expand and thrive. While, yes, you could sit in your apartment and just order the top books to read this fall, you could also take a stroll through the late summer sun and support the shops that make New York such a vibrant literary community. Lucky for all of us who favor browsing in rooms filled with physical books, two Upper West Side bookstores will open new locations soon and, after falling victim to rising rents, the iconic St. Mark’s Bookshop has settled into its East Village space and will host its first event this month. Who knows, while perusing the stacks, you might run into one of our favorite New York authors picking up a copy of that David Mitchell novel everyone’s talking about.

Last fall, Bank Street Bookstore—which is Bank Street College’s specialty store catering to children and educators—learned that its Board of Trustees could not longer subsidize its UWS space, putting the bookstore’s fate in limbo. Today the store announced that a smaller but much more cost-effective location has been found; it will move five blocks south to West 107th and Broadway in February 2015. But that’s not all! Book Culture, which already operates two stores in Morningside Heights, will open a third location at 82nd and Columbus. To announce the news, the store toyed with our Tom Hanks-loving hearts by posting signage that says, “Dear New York, You’ve Got Mail… Again. 20 years ago, an independent bookstore was forced from this space by a retail giant, which many say partly inspired the movie You’ve Got Mail.” 20 years ago, Endicott Booksellers had to close and vacate the venue; it’s a true testament to the determination and community spirit of New York that another bookstore has been able to prosper and will soon bring books back to Columbus Avenue.

And for those who cannot wait to support the newest iterations of our local book purveyors, head over to St. Mark’s on September 12 to celebrate the bookshop’s first event since leaving their old location and raising over $50,000 to fund the move. The store will host a launch party for Drivel: Deliciously Bad Writing by Your Favorite Author, a new book that collects cringe-worthy writings by people like Gillian Flynn and Dave Eggers; it's guaranteed to make you feel better about your own horrible writing.

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