New York City's Independent Booksellers

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday December 27, 2023


The giving season continues with Kwanza, New Year’s, last-minute finds for holiday visits and necessary down time in quiet spots. The final update to this year’s report on indie bookstores will make you want to swear to more analog experiences for the coming year. 

Bungee Space[(above], just around the corner from the New Museum, probably epitomizes what it is to be hybrid. With two seats for sipping an exceptional cup coffee, it’s a café. With a selection of vintage [think Comme des Garcons, Vivienne Westwood] and bespoke clothing [from the UK and elsewhere], it’s a boutique. With book bags of every possible description and price, it’s a utilitarian shop for carting away a selection of self-published books, zines and other printed matter, so it’s a bookstore. If the offerings are at first a bit overwhelming, check out the staff picks table, or ask anyone on duty.

Bungee Space, 13 Stanton Street, New York, NY Info:   



Another hybrid that specializes in self-published artist’s books is Miriam Gallery, in Williamsburg. According to the website, “We prioritize publishing projects that demonstrate an interrogation of the book as a creative form, made by artists of diverse backgrounds, perspectives and practices. Together, thse titles weave cultural narratives through the interdependence of content an form, and speak to Miriam’s commitment to democratic practices in the arts. For inquiries, email

Miriam Gallery and Bookstore, 319 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY Info

Last, not least, subscriber Jami Giovanopoulos, Vice President of Theispot,  emailed us to update the relocation of MacNally Jackson’s SoHo flagship—but just a few blocks over—to 134 Prince Street, New York, NY Info

Reading art visually and reading about art are some of life’s greatest pleasures for people in creative fields. Top ten lists and best books picks are not my cup of tea; I’d much rather browse in an environment packed with visual treats and choose my own eye candy. And New York’s independent booksellers offer shelter from the storm of holiday shopping—with plenty of goodies in the form of art books, illustrated books, prints and objects. 

While the COVID shutdown wreaked havoc in the city, it proved to be a boon for indie booksellers: suddenly empty retail spaces offered lower rents and the field has expanded. Topping this year’s list are some new locations in Manhattan. Cheers to NYC booklovers for their support of this growing list of indepvendent and museum/gallery bookshops. This section includes several new locations that recenty opened:

Photografiska, 281 Park Avenue, New York, NY. A photo museum in a registered landmark built in 1894 and originally named “The Church Mission House”. This iconic building has been renovated to be a new experience of world-class art, cultural events, with a bookstore/cafe. Special: Posters and framing service

The Book Cellar, a stuffed-to-the-gills used book store in the basement of the Webster Library, one of the oldest public libraries in the city. Staffed by knowledgeable volunteers, its hours don't overlap entirely with those of the library upstairs, so check before you go.1465 York Avenue, New York, NY. Facebook 

Pillow-Cat Books (above), 328 East 9th Street, New York, NY. The first animal themed bookshop in New York is located in the East Village. It is small, green, and filled with used, new, vintage and antique books of all types and in all languages. The only common denominator: an animal or animal character must be present. Special: Cool T-shirts and bags, here

Sweet Pickle Books, 47 Orchard Street, New York, NY.  A sliver of a space crammed with a random assortment of used books—mostly travel and art—AND their own brand of pickles. Special: Used books and records can be swapped for pickles.

New in Brooklyn and Queens

The Word Is Change, 368 Tompkins Avenue is a neighborhood bookstore in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, selling used and new books, hosting readings and meetings, buying books for resale, and supporting visual artists. Special: How to form a book club

Topos Too, 59-22 Myrtle Avenue, Queens, NY is a small (mostly) used + and (some) new bookstore and cafe (serving Variety Coffee). Special: Sell your books

Taylor & Company, 1021 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn , NY is a black-owned, family-run shop for new and used books, comics, and gifts. All are welcome to this Ditmas Park place where your literary needs and intellectual curiosity are fed. Special: Self-publishing 

Leaves Bookstore, 140 Nassau Avenue, Brooklyn, NY.  This independent, second-hand community-oriented bookstore is committed to sustainability and affordability, selling and buying all genres of books ranging in price from one dollar to many thousands. Special:  how to sell your books here


Above: Gagosian Shop, 976 Madison Avenue

Hauser & Wirth Publishers, 548 West 22nd Street, NY NY. Housed in the former DIA building, the gallery's current location includes their bookstore, which, together with the Roth Bar serves as a hub for artists, students and the local community, presenting a range of public programs conceived by Hauser & Wirth Publishers with curators, writers and other collaborators.

McNally Jackson Books, 4 Fulton Street at South Street Seaport, 52 Prince Street, and 76 N. 4th Street, Williamsburg. Many author events. Also in the lobby at The Shed, 545 West 30th Street. 

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

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

The ICP Bookstore, 79 Essex Street, NY, NY

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

Yu & Me Books, bookstore/café/bar at 44 Mulberry Street. Here you will find fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, and works sourced from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, as well as a rotating selection of local art for sale.

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.

Codex, 1 Bleecker Street, NY, NY. Used books bought and sold, sxspecializing in literary fiction and art books; live music, and poetry readings.

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.

Perrotin Store, 130 Orchard Street, NY, NY. Ed. Note: In my Pantheon of beautiful artbook stores. Art books, limited editions and artists multiples.

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

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

Karma Gallery Bookstore, 136 East 3rd Street, NY, NY Artists books, art periodicals and catalogues

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.

Above: Artbook at MoMA PS1; photo Isabelle Baldwin

Whitney Museum Bookstore, 99 Gansevoort Street, NY, NY. Modern and contemporary American art, gifts.Left Bank Bookshop, 41 Perry Street, New York, NY. 

Left Bank Books 41 Perry Street, New York, NY. Special: Cool hats, Ts, bookbags here

McNally Jackson Books (above), 52 Prince Street. Regular author events. Also in the lobby at The Shed, 545 West 30th Street. 

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

David Zwirner Books, in the gallery at 537 West 20th Street, NY, NY. The powerhouse gallery is the only art gallery publisher with major worldwide distribution; the online store is here.

Harper/s Books/Harper/s Chelsea, 534 West 22nd Street, NY, NY. Rare contemporary works.

Printed Matter, Inc., 231 Eleventh Avenue, NY, NY. Artist books, prints, and limited editions; also at The Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, NY, NY. Printed Matter, Inc. at The Swiss Institute, 38 St. Marks Place, NY, NY. Main branch at 231 Eleventh Avenue, NY, NY. Artist books, prints, and limited editios; many events, workshops.

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

Three Lives & Company, 238 West 10th Street, NY, NY. “A haven for people who read,” and a “neighborhood touchstone.” Still going strong in a new location.

Above: Lin Manuel Miranda signing at Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street

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.

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.

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

Books of Wonder, 18 West 18th Street, and 217 West 84th Street NY, NY. Beginning readers through YA; regular schedule of author events.

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

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, and still one of NYCs most beautiful bookstores, with regular schedule of author events.

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.

McNally Jackson at The Shed, 545West 30th Street, NY, NY 

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

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


Assouline Luxury Books and Gifts at the D&D, 979 Third Avenue, #101; at the Plaza Hoeel, 768 Fifth Avenue; at the Mark Hotel, 25 East 77th Street, NY, NY.

The Drama Book Shop, 250 West 40th Street, NY, NY.  New York’s longest-running source for everything on drama, now has an expresso bar to fuel creative pursuits.

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

Bookoff, 49 West 45th Street, NY, NY. Also for Japanophiles: Used books, DVDs, records, collectibles, "for people who don't waste."

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

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

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.

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.

Gagosian Shop (above), 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.

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

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

Logos Bookstore, 1575 York Ave, New York, NY

Books of Wonder, 217 West 84th Street NY, NY. Beginning readers through YA; events.

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

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

Strand Books, a new branch at the former Book Culture location at 450 Columbus Avenue, 81-82 Streets, New York, NY

Book Culture, 53 West 112th Street; 2915 Broadway at 114th Street; 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 & Bronx

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

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

powerHouse Arena, 28 Adams Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY;1111 8th Street, Park Slope; 220 36th Street, Industry City. 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.

Above: Artbook@ MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Avenue

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

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

Idlewild Books, 249 Warren Street, Brooklyn, NY. Specializing in travel guides, world literature, foreign language books, and language courses. Also in Manhattan at 617 Hudson Street.

McNally Jackson Books, 76 N. 4th Street, Williamsburg; 4 Fulton Street at South Street Seaport, and 52 Prince Street. Many author events. Also in the lobby at The Shed

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

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

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

Community Bookstore143 Seventh Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY Community mainstay.

The Lit.Bar, the only brick and mortar bookstore serving the 1.4 million people and 10 colleges and universities of the Bronx. 131 Alexander Avenue, Mott Haven, The Bronx

Molasses Books / Café / Bar, 770 Hart Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY

Standartds Manual, 212 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY, archiving and preserving artifacts of design history and making them available to future generations. 

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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