Best bookstores in New York City

Check out our picks for the best independent bookstores in the city

New York’s one of the most literary cities in the world, and that’s never more evident than when wandering in its brilliant independent bookstores and specialty bookshops. And because Amazon’s recommendations have got nothing on a face-to-face chat with a professional bookseller, here are some of favorite spots for browsing for new fiction or picking up the year’s best books.

McNally Jackson Books

Critics' pick

McNally Jackson features one of the city's most thoughtfully curated selections of nonfiction, novels, hard-to-find magazines, children's books and, most notably, poetry. Their staff picks are always impeccable, as are the tasty pastries offered in the in-store café.

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Soho

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe

One of New York's most endearing spaces, this two-level shop stocks an ever-changing selection of donated books, records and collectibles, and is also a peaceful spot for reading or meeting friends over coffee or wine. And since all proceeds go to fighting the dual crises of homelessness and HIV/AIDS, every purchase is a good deed.

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Soho

BookCourt

Critics' pick

Located just a few blocks from Atlantic Avenue, this family-run store carries all kinds of books (it's children's section is top-notch) and often spotlights new work by local authors. Best-selling writer Emma Straub was a longtime bookslinger here, and many other local notables frequent the store.

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Cobble Hill

Albertine

Albertine offers the largest selection of French-language literature in the United States, with more than 14,000 titles from 30 French-speaking countries. The two-floor space is truly an escapist's dream, with a designated reading room with lush sofas and armchairs, all housed in the French embassy.

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Upper East Side

Strand Book Store

Critics' pick

As the Strand's tagline boasts, this store's got 18 miles of books, almost all at discounted prices. If you spend enough time here, you can find just about anything, from that out-of-print Victorian book on manners to the kitschiest of sci-fi pulp.

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East Village

Greenlight Bookstore

Critics' pick

Opened in 2009, this Brooklyn indie has quickly become a favorite of Fort Greene locals—including neighborhood authors like Colson Whitehead. Keep an eye out for discounted staff picks, and don't miss the stellar graphic-novel and poetry shelves.

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Fort Greene

192 Books

Critics' pick

Owned by art dealer Paula Cooper and her husband, editor Jack Macrae, the bright and airy 192 is one of the best places to pick up beautiful books, from art tomes to style encyclopedias and gardening picture books to film studies.

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Chelsea

WORD

You won't mind braving the G train to make it to Greenpoint's friendly literary outpost. With another store recently opened in Jersey City, WORD is living proof that a genuine devotion to good books can defy economical odds.

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Greenpoint

The powerHouse Arena

Critics' pick

Dumbo darling powerHouse publishes its own coveted photo books, but the company's loftlike space and gallery sells everything from cheeky birthday cards to the hottest memoirs. Its built-in stadium seating also provides the perfect venue for readings from authors like Gary Shteyngart and Tavi Gevinson.

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Dumbo

Unnameable Books

This haven carries a wide variety of genres—though owner Adam Tobin namechecks its poetry and philosophy sections as being particularly good—and can satisfy any lit craving. If you’re on the hunt for bargain tomes, hit up the selection of used books, many of which can be found on carts outside the store for as little as $1.

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Prospect Heights

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