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Best specialty bookstores in New York City

These bookstores represent some of the best places to geek out over specific literary interests

By Tiffany Gibert

Need to find the latest Pulitzer Prize–winning play or that obscure crime novel your aunt recommended? You know you can find it in New York, but where? Well, here's a handy list for everyone from literary fetishists in search of the latest in design books to scholars seeking key feminist studies.


Shopping Bookstores Greenpoint

Archestratus bookstore offers a wide selection of culinary texts from all over the world as well as specialty cookbooks. At Archestratus you can find chef biographies, vintage cookbooks, local cookbooks and much more.

Berl's Brooklyn Poetry Shop

Shopping Bookstores DUMBO

The city's only all-poetry bookstore began as a table at the Brooklyn Flea, and in 2013, owners Jared White and Farrah Field opened this brick-and-mortar dream. Drop in for the latest poetry books, hard-to-find chapbooks and readings almost every night.

Bluestockings; New York City; bookstore
Photograph: Courtesy Bluestockings


Shopping Bookstores Lower East Side

This radical bookstore and café hosts readings and discussions on health, race, class and sexuality. The selection ranges from bell hooks, natch, to poetry zines, and recurring events include a feminist book club and kundalini yoga.

Singularity & Co.

Shopping Bookstores DUMBO

The mission of this Vinegar Hill shop: to pluck forgotten 20th-century sci-fi and fantasy titles from obscurity. You’ll find early editions of works by Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin and less well-known cohorts, with all the awesome retro cover art that entails.


Mysterious Bookshop

Shopping Bookstores Financial District

Devotees of mystery, crime and spy novels will surely recognize owner Otto Penzler as one of the foremost editors and anthology compilers in these genres. His shop holds a wealth of new and classic thrillers, plus autographed first editions.

Printed Matter

Shopping Arts, crafts & hobbies Chelsea

This nonprofit organization, which operates a public reading room as well as a shop, is exclusively devoted to artists’ books. Works by unknown and emerging artists share shelf space with those of veterans such as Yoko Ono and Edward Ruscha.

Photograph: Lori Berkowitz

Bergen Street Comics

Shopping Boutiques Park Slope

Comics devotees and newbies alike will feel at home among Bergen Street's easy-to-browse display tables and oak racks. That level of care extends to the wares too, which are expertly selected and arranged, highlighting both highbrow graphic novels and classic superhero strips.

Idlewild Books

Shopping Bookstores West Village

In this travel-obsessed shop, guidebooks, travel-related fiction and photo books line the shelves, while stools and glowing lights invite readers with wanderlust to stay awhile. Feeling adventurous? The stop also offers some of the city's best language classes.


The Drama Book Shop

Shopping Bookstores Midtown West

Sparsely furnished with vintage furniture (including a row of old theater seats), this pleasant shop covers both stage and screen. So, not only will you find plays, libretti, thespian biographies and tomes on acting technique, but also guides to writing screenplays, and scripts of current films.

Midtown Comics

Shopping Bookstores Midtown West

Wild about Wolverine or mad for obscure manga? Billing itself as the largest retailer of comic books, graphic novels, manga and related collectibles in the U.S., Midtown also stocks magazines, books, DVDs, action figures and assorted swag. A true geek's delight.


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