Midtown Manhattan Bookstores
There are thousands of small bookstores in New York, each with their
own special character. At smaller stores, the employees are usually
familiar with the merchandise and capable of giving intelligent
advice. We encourage you to support small businesses; to them, each
Thanks to Evelyn C. Leeper for some of this information.
116 E 59th btwn Park & Lexington Aves, 212-753-4455, email@example.com
- They are very strong in used hardcover fiction (no SF though),
particularly older things from say circa 1920, like James Branch
Cabell. They also sell old prints, Americana, antique and used
books, maps, and prints. People have noted that the owners are
knowledgeable about the value of their books and you'll have to
hunt for bargains. It is about five stories high and is one of
those books-stacked-up-the- walls-to-the-ceiling places; dim,
musty, dense, mysterious. You get the feeling that you could
find anything at all there if you only looked long enough.
- Arnold Joseph
1140 Broadway btwn 26th & 27th, 212-532-0019
- Coliseum Books
1771 Broadway at 57th, 212-581-5352
- A good stock of new books. An independent. "Coliseum is vast and
carries everything that is in somebody's mainstream; it is the only
place I know, for example, to purchase a copy of QUOTATIONS OF
CHAIRMAN MAO off the shelf." (But see below for a bookstore in
Chinatown that also has it.) "Coliseum is large, and has a wide
selection. I have not found the staff to be very helpful. I wanted
to special order a book, and was told I could only do it Mon-Fri
during daytime hours. Looking through the literature section, I
found that they had nearly every single Martin Amis book, but none
by Kingsley Amis--not even LUCKY JIM. They have a terrific poetry
section." There are remainders downstairs. The basement is also
where the posters and sports and arts etc. books are.
- Complete Traveller Bookstore
199 Madison Ave at 35th, 212-685-9007,
- Important collection of maps, guides and books. Very knowledgeable
staff composed largely of travel-addicts, as opposed to the younger
Rand-McNally staff. A lot of travel commentary books as well as
strict guide books. They also have a large room of old (and
expensive) travel and history books.
- Discount Bookshop
897 1st Ave btwn 50th & 51st, 212-751-3839
- Drama Book Shop
723 7th Ave at 48th, second floor, 212-944-0595
- Theater, film, and performing arts. One of the most complete
collection of plays I've seen, including British imports. Includes
both playscripts a la French's and books of plays, as well as
everything about drama et al. The one "gap" seemed to be in Yiddish
plays (in translation).
- Fil Caravan Inc.
240 E56th Suite 2E, 212-421-5972
- Books on Middle Eastern culture, philosophy, etc.
- General Medical Book Company
333 E29th, 212-532-0756
- Goldberg's Marine
12 W37th, 212-594-6065
- Boating and marine.
- Gotham Book Mart
41 W 47th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-719-4448
- New and used. Excellent poetry, literature, philosophy, etc.
Over a hundred years old. Practically unique in the world.
Arthur Miller once said, "The Gotham Book Mart & Gallery is
invaluable as a source of books for research of all kinds, and
perhaps above all for literature that is more than a few months old.
It is impossible to imagine New York City without it." The major
drawback is that it is closed on Sundays, which is when I'm usually
in the area.
- Gozlan's Sefer Israel Inc.
28 West 27th Street, Suite 402, 212-725-5890, FAX 212-689-6534.
- Jewish books and Judaica. "Importers of Israeli Books and Judaica.
I have had good experience with this importer, and have ordered the
*excellent* Rav Milon Hebrew-English dictionary from them at a good
price, with prompt service. They have a list of about 29 texts,
tapes, videos on Hebrew language instruction graded at six different
levels of instruction. This seems like a good place to look for
serious Hebrew educational materials.
- Hagstrom Map & Travel Center
57 W 43rd btwn Madison & Park Aves,
- Travel books (of course).
- Hotalings News Agency
624 W52nd, 212-840-1868
- Carries foreign-language periodicals and some books.
- Jewish Book Center of the Workmen's Circle
45 E 33rd btwn Park & Madison Aves, 212-889-6800 x285 or 800-922-2558
- Judaica and Jewish books in English and Yiddish.
- Jim Hanley's Universe
4 W33rd, 212-268-7088
- Comics. (Also has a downtown store.)
- J. Levine Jewish Books and Judaica
5 W 30th btwn 5th & 6th Aves,
212-695-6888, FAX 212-643-1044
- "World's largest Judaica selection," mail orders, etc. Over a
hundred years old, making it one of the oldest bookstores in New
- Kinokuniya Bookstore
10 W 49th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-765-7766
- Japanese books, origami paper, etc. Very large and usually very
busy. Japanese tour buses stop here because of its proximity to
Rockefeller Center. A bit expensive but much better than any other
Japanese bookstore in New York.
- Librarie De France/Liberia Hispanica
610 5th Ave, Rockefeller Center
- A small storefront on the Promenade, near the skating rink, opposite
the Teuscher's Chocolate shop. :-) The Promenade is located off of
5th Ave, between 49th and 50th streets, 212-581-8810). At first,
the store appears to be very small, but there is a downstairs
section with about five or six times the space as the upstairs. I
had been in the store several times before I discovered the
downstairs section. A very large selection of French novels, short
stories, non-fiction, etc. Some newspapers, magazines, and records.
They also have a reasonably large selection of dictionaries and
instruction books for other languages. Prices tend to be high,
though there are occasional sales in their basement. Staff is
usually fluent in French.
- McGraw-Hill Book Store
1221 6th Ave at 48th in the basement of the
McGraw-Hill building., 212-512-4100
- People used to say this was the best bet for technical books in the
city, especially computer books. Their finance section is also
good. However, an astronomer wrote, "The astronomy/earth science
section verges on pitiful," and someone else sais that the 'DOS for
Dummy's' books are displacing the texts. Some feel that the main
Barnes & Noble branch is now a better bet, as well as Book
Scientific. All publishers.
- Michelin Guides & Maps
610 5th Ave near 49th, 212-581-8810
- Librarie De France/Liberia Hispanica.
- Museum Books
583 Broadway, 212-343-0460
- New and out-of-print books on applied and decorative arts.
- The Mysterious Book Shop
129 W56th between 6th and 7th Aves, 212-765-0900
- Mystery books and so on. It also has its own publishing company so
they also have the latest copies of their own line of mysteries.
Book-signings by authors.
- New York Astrology Center
350 Lexington Ave, 212-947-3609
- A veridical association bookstore, as it is owned and managed by the
A.F.A (American Federation of Astrologers).
- New York Public Library Bookshop
5th Ave and 42nd, also at 40th St and 5th Ave, 212-930-0869
- Gift books.
- OAN-Oceanie Afrique Noire Books
15 W 39th btwn 5th & 6th Aves,
- New and used books on Africa and African issues, art, etc. Also
Native American books and French-language books.
- Patelson's House of Music
160 56th & 6th Ave, just behind Carnegie Hall,
- The best place in NYC for books about music. A huge selection
covering all genres. They also are NYC's most-popular source for
classical music scores. They can special-order *anything*
music-related and will ship.
- Penn Concessions Inc.
Penn Station, 34th and 7th Ave, L.I. Concourse, 212-868-0438 also at 1 Pennsylvania Plaza, 212-239-0311
- Pierpont Morgan Library Book Shop
Madison at 37th, 212-685-0008
- The Library is actually at 29 E 36th btwn Madison & Park Aves.
- Potala Publications
9 E36th, 212-251-0360
- Quest Book Shop
240 E 53rd btwn 3rd & 2nd Aves, 212-758-5521
- Theosophy, mysticism, healing, tarot, astrology, etc.
- Rand McNally
150 East 52nd St., 212-758-7488
- Lots of national and international maps, guide books, globes.
31 W 57th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-759-2424
- Italian bookstore chain. Probably the premier art, design, and
architecture book store in the city. Lots of fun stuff, also
foreign books and periodicals. A classy place. New books at list
prices. If you like glossy art books at full price try Rizzoli's.
- In Tibet House. Has a large selection of books on Buddhism and
Tibet. Open Mon-Fri.
- Russia House Ltd.
253 5th Ave btwn 28th & 29th, 212-685-1010
- Russian books, art, etc. "Russian House is the source for all
Russian-language literature. Its inventory is replete with
literary classics and modern fiction, as well as the finest
translations, biographies and non-fiction titles on contemporary
social and political topics. Russian House has a huge selection
of books for children and adolescents, including world-renown,
illustrated fairy tales, children's literature, and educational
material. Catalogues are issued quarterly and are available upon
828 Broadway, 212-473-1452
- A small, good weather outdoors stall. Strand and Albion have
similar displays at the NW corner of 5th Ave and 60th (near
Central Park entrance).
- The Traveller's Complete Bookstore
199 madison, 212-685-9007
- Guides, maps, and travel-related books--picture books, language
cassettes, airplane reading, history. Also carries a complete
line of travel products such as travel irons and money belts.
Free catalog available.
- United Nations Bookshop
General Assembly Building, E 45 & First Ave,room 32, 212-963-7680, 800-253-9646
- Has international affairs books, and UN publications. "The most
underappreciated specialty bookstore in NYC. Perhaps it is vastly
ignored because one needs to enter into the UN to greet its bevy of
bounty. This means that one must wait, often, en queue for the same
security check that is administered to all who arrive to visit the
more politically sensitive areas of the building. Even though this
line becomes visibly long, it does go rather quickly--especially at
mid-morning and earlyish mid-afternoon. This is truly a one-of-a-
kind resource in international affairs of all sorts, not only those
that are UN-sponsored. High quality works dealing with complex
international policies, economic systems, and fine basic references
are present alongside hard-to-find reports, surveys and studies
performed by the United Nations and any of its statutory affiliates.
There are some surprises, too. "
- Urban Center Books
457 Madison Ave btwn 50th & 51st, 212-935-3592
- Great place for architecture/planning/urban design books.
- Village Comics/Comic Art Gallery
214 Sullivan, 212-777-2770
- Comics. (Also has a downtown store.)