New York's Indie Booksellers 2018

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday December 6, 2017

Independent bookstores—the cultural glue that binds urban neighborhoods together—are thriving in New York City. According to an ongoing Harvardstudy, the curatorial approach that many indies take focuses on providing a more personal and specialized experience, resulting in loyal followers who participate in community book programs that bring people together.

New York’s independent booksellers offer shelter from the storm of holiday shopping and plenty of eye candy in the form of photo books, illustrated books, prints and objects. DART’s list of NYC’s best follows, in geographic order [south to north, then east], with several new surprising and delightful entries.

But first, this just in from Matthew Carson, Head Librarian & Archivist, ICP Library. Here, he gives a nod to his favorite NYC Indies; the comments are mine.

Printed Matter, Inc. (left) the world’s leading non-profit org dedicated to the dissemination and appreciation of artists books. Two locations: 231 11th Avenue, NY, NY. And now at the new Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, NY, NY

Mast Books, 66 Avenue A, NY, NY. Bright and clean neighborhood bookstore, with affordable used paperbacks along with high-priced out-of-print art books.

Dashwood Books, 33 Bond Street, between Bowery and Lafayette, NY, NY. Photography, including rare editions; author events, Dashwood Books imprint. A New York institution at a young age.

Store at bookdummypress. A unique artist-run destination for rare and self-published self-published books. Downstairs at 36 Cooper Square, NY, NY. 

McNally Jackson Books, two locations: 52 Prince Street, between Lafayette and Mulberry Streets, NY, NY; 76 4rh Street, Unit G, Brooklyn, NY; and soon to open at LaGuardia’s new Terminal B. Literary bookstore, great magazine rack, café and Expresso Book Machine for print on demand titles; author events. And Picture Room for prints, limited editions, literary gift items; now at 117 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

New—and new to the list—the editor’s picks for 2018

NEW:Perrotin Store, 130 Orchard Street, NY, NY. Ed. Note: In my Pantheon of beautiful artbook stores, opened this year by the French gallery import on the Lower East Side. Art books, limited editions and artists multiples. 

NEW to the list:LMAKgallery Second Floor, Books and Design, 298 Grand Street, NY, NY Also new to my Pantheon of artbook stores. Artists multiples, printed matter and ephemera, table-size sculptures, design for the home, and more. A special place, indeed.

New:Codex, 1 Bleecker Street, NY, NY.Specializing in literary fiction and art books; live music, and poetry readings.

MacNally Jackson Books; photo © Corey Sipkin

Idlewild Bookshop, 170 Seventh Avenue South, at Perry Street, NY, NY. “Wanderlust can be fulfilled at this international bookshop focusing on world travel and languages.” 


The Mysterious Bookshop, 55 Warren Street, NY, NY Mystery fiction in all its genres, and British imports.

Tenement Museum Shop, 97 Orchard Street, NY, NY. Well chosen array of books about New York and New York-themed gifts.

Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen Street, NY, NY. Politics, feminism, gender-bending titles, café, and events.

The Drawing Center Bookstore, 35 Wooster Street, NY, NY. Small, highly eclectic.

LMAKgallery / Second Floor Books and Design; photo © Peggy Roalf

Taschen Books, 107 Greene Street, NY, NY. Coffee table art, design, fashion, celebrity, and sex.

Clic Bookstore & Gallery, 255 Centre Street, NY, NY. Photography, art, fashion, and celebrities; author events.

New Museum, 235 Bowery, opposite Prince Street, NY, NY. Books, objects, gift items.

Right: Perrotin Store; photo © Peggy Roalf

Dashwood Books, 33 Bond Street, between Bowery and Lafayette, NY, NY (below). Photography, including rare editions; author events, Dashwood Books imprint. (below)

Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby Street, NY, NY. Used books, movies, music, special events; great coffee and sweets.

Mercer Street Books & Records, 206 Mercer Street, NY, NY. Out-of-print art books and vinyl LPs.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, 28 East Second Street, NY, NY. Cookbooks, memoirs, and the occasional tasting.

East Village Books and Records, 99 St. Marks Place, NY, NY. Neighborhood staple for used books & CDs, oddities.

Mast Books, 66 Avenue A, NY, NY. Bright and clean neighborhood bookstore, with affordable used paperbacks along with high-priced out-of-print art books.

Whitney Museum Bookstore, 99 Gansevoort Street, NY, NY. Modern and contemporary American art, gifts.

Strand Books, 828 Broadway, NY, NY. The mother of them all.

Printed Matter, Inc., 231 Eleventh Avenue, NY, NY. Artist books, prints, and limited editions.

192 Books, 192 10th Avenue at 21st Street, NY, NY. Serious reading, art and photography, author events.

Bookbook, 266 Bleecker Street, NY, NY. Small and personal, formerly Biography Bookstore.

Bookmarc, 400 Bleecker Street, at 11th Street, NY, NY. Coffeetable fashion, art, photography; author events.

St. Marks Comics, 11 St. Marks Place, NY, NY. Flagship for current and vintage comics and toys. Locations downtown and in Brooklyn.


Taschen in Soho, with cushy Philippe Stark seating

Three Lives & Co., 154 West 10th Street, NY, NY. “A haven for people who read,” and a “neighborhood touchstone.”

Alabaster Bookshop, 122 4th Avenue, NY, NY. Used and rare, well-chosen art, antiques, and photography.

Bookdummypress pop-up shop, 34A Cooper Square, rare and self-published photobooks. Check website for hours and info

McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince Street, between Lafayette and Mulberry Streets, NY, NY. Literary bookstore, great magazine rack, café and Expresso Book Machine for print on demand titles; author events. Also Picture Room, 236 Mulberry Street; prints, limited editions.

Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, 126 Crosby Street, NY, NY Mainstream and rarities; great coffee' homemade baked goods; events.

Carmine Street Comics, 34 Carmine Street, NY, NY. Superheroes, manga, open mic, artist-in-residence, events.

The Strand Book Store, 828 Broadway and 12th Streets, NY, NY. “Eighteen miles of books” – all kinds, new, used, graphic novels, art, design, architecture, celebrities, and 1 buck items on the street; author events.

Rizzoli, on Broadway in the Flatiron District. Photo © Peggy Roalf

Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway, NY, NY. Cult sci-fi, comics, collectibles.

Idlewild Books, 12 West 19th Street, NY, NY. Specializing in travel guides, world literature, foreign language books, and language courses. Also in Williamsburg.

Books of Wonder, 18 West 18th Street, NY, NY. Beginning readers through YA; events.

Forbidden Planet, 832 Broadway, at 13th Street, NY, NY. One stop shopping for avatars and comics freaks.

Posman Books at Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue, NY, NY. Newest of 3 locations, with special children’s section, gifts. Also at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

Rizzoli Bookstore, 1133 Broadway, NY, NY. The other mother of them all. 

Aperture Book Store and Gallery, 547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor, NY, NY. Photography; photography; photography; limited edition prints; Aperture magazine; gallery.

The Old Print Shop, 150 Lexington Avenue, between 28-29th Streets, NY, NY. An art gallery and bookstore specializing in American graphic arts, antiquarian maps, atlases, and contemporary and modern artists books.

JHU Comic Books, 32 East 32nd Street, NY, NY.

Midtown Comics Grand Central, 459 Lexington, 2nd floor, NY, NY.

Lin Manuel Miranda signing at Drama Book Shop


The Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, NY, NY.  New York’s longest-running source for everything on drama. Events.

Kinokuniya New York, 1073 Sixth Avenue, NY, NY. Japanese and American huge selection, all categories; superb stationery, craft, school supplies.

MoMA Store, 11 West 53rd Street, NY, NY. Art, design, photography, furnishing, gifts; without doubt, the mother of all museum stores, with two locations inside and a third across the way. 

The New York Public Library Shop, Fifth Avenue between 40-42nd Streets. "Penguin orange" kiosks featuring deluxe paperback literature with fantastic cover art. Located adjacent to the Library Shop.

The Store at Museum of Arts and Design, 2 Columbus Circle, NY, NY. Art, design, jewelry, furnishing, and books on these subjects.

Argosy Book Store, 116 East 59th Street, NY, NY. Rare and used books, prints, maps, and autographs. 

Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers, 939 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY. Literary bookstore, newly renovated UES location has Expresso self-publishing service, book club and scheduled events. Textbook buy-and-sell.

Ursus Books & Prints, 699 Madison Avenue, 3rd Floor, NY, NY. Art books, rare items, prints.

Harper/s Books/Harper/s Apartment, 51 East 74th Street, NY, NY Check website for hours and info.

Assouline Book Store, Mark Hotel 25 East 77th Street, NY, NY. Deluxe editions.

Gagosian Shop, 976 Madison Avenue, NY, NY. Limited editions, multiples, contemporary artists books, printed matter, objects, gifts. Rare, refined, intriguing.

Archivia Books, 993 Lexington Avenue, NY, NY. Architecture, art, design, decorative arts, gardens, interiors.

Crawford Doyle Booksellers, 1082 Madison Avenue, NY, NY. Biography, classics, history, literary fiction.

Westsider Rare & Used Books, 2246 Broadway, near 80th Street, NY, NY. Used, rare, and contemporary fiction, crime, pulp fiction, vinyl LPs, toys, novelties.

Left: The Albertine, at the French Embassy; photo © Peggy Roalf

Albertine Books, 972 Fifth Avenue, NY, NY. Books in French and English, within the French Embassy; events, children’s programs. My UES favorite, partout.

The Corner Bookstore, 131 Madison Avenue, NY, NY. Neighborhood mainstay; readings; children's program

Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Ave, New York, NY

Museum of the City of New York Store, Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, NY, NY. “All things New York City.” Books, photographic prints, gifts.

Book Culture, 53 West 112th Street; 2915 Broadway at 114th Street; 450 Columbus Avenue, NY, NY, and 2 more; please check website. Old school and forward-looking, catering to the academic community and everyone in the neighborhood. 

Word Up Community Bookshop, 2113 Amsterdam Avenue, NY, NY. A multi-language general-interest neighborhood bookshop and art space in Washington Heights; literary readings, music concerts, film screenings workshops etc. for kids and adults.

Brooklyn & Queens

Astoria Bookshop, 31-29 31st Street, Queens, NY. 

Artbook@ MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City, NY. Bleeding edge art and design. Another mother...all.

powerHouse Arena, 28 Adams Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY. Regular book launch events.

Spoonbill & Sugartown, 218 Bedford Avenue, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.

Word, 126 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Books, gifts, stationery, kids’ stuff, events—including workshops for both writers and readers.

Archestratus, 160 Huron Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY. Foodies' paradise, classes, tastings, bookclubs and more on the Fact and Fiction of Food.

Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street (at S. Portland), Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NY.

Desert Island, 540 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Books, graphic novels, comics, prints, novelties.

Idlewild Books, 249 Warren Street, Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in travel guides, world literature, foreign language books, and language courses. Also in Manhattan.

Book Thug Nation, 100 N 3rd Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Used literary fiction, film, philosophy, graphic novels and more, and events.


Bookbook, on Bleecker Street

Topos Bookstore Cafe, 788 Woodward Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens, NY. Used books in many languages.

NEW:Topos Bookstore Cafe, 788 Woodward Avenue, Ridgewood, Queens. “We buy and trade used books for $$ or store credit.”

Books Are Magic, 225 Smith Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Owned and operated by former employee of BookCourt; many events, open 7 days.

NEW:Cafe Con Libros, 724 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY. “Explicitly feminist, with hand-pick titles for kids and adults that focus on female narratives.”

Community Bookstore, 143 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY Community mainstay.

Terrace Books, 242 Prospect Park West, Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, NY Bookend of Community Bookstore

Unnameable Books, 600 Vanderbilt Avenue between Dean & St. Mark's, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, NY. New, used, events.

The BookMark Shoppe, 8415 3rd Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY. Events, including knit/crochet Club, customer reviews.

Galaxy Comics Inc, 6823 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY [Bay Ridge]


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