Downtown 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 customer matters.

Academy Bookstore
10 W 18th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-242-4848
Small, well-kept used book store. Has strong humanities, photography, and social science section. Also a large supply of used CDs, especially classical and opera!

Antiquarian Book Arcade
110 W 25th, 9th floor, 212-678-6011
"Home to 20,000 vintage, rare & antiquarian books. Seminars and special events." More than 64 dealers.

Architecture Books
48 W 22th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-463-0750
Architecture, I assume.

Bilingual Publications
270 Lafayette near Houston, Suite 705, 212-431-3500

Biography Bookshop
400 Bleecker at 12th, 212-807-8655
One poster says, "Nice store, but try the Strand first--this place is way overpriced." (Editorial note: this probably just means that new books are in general over-priced.)

Books & Binding
42 West 38th Street New York, NY 10018 Suite 202 Between 5th & 6th, 1-888-308-9654 1-212-252-0129
A large loft-like space with many departments, including psychology, science, computer books, sports, novels, poetry, encyclopedias, sculpture, and art.

304 W 4th at Bank, 212-924-5638
Small store, used books.

Book Scientific
10 W 19th btwn 5th and 6th Aves, 3rd floor, 212-206-1310, FAX +1 212-675-4230
Scientific and technical books; (good) selection consists of physics, chemistry, engineering, mathematics and computer texts (not books like "DOS for Dummies," but texts). Not a large place, but small occasional gems for those who look for them. 10% discount to faculty or university researchers, 5% discount to students. They'll order books, and ship them worldwide. Best stock in the city of scientific books. (But see also McGraw-Hill Book Store.) [Moved 2/96.]

Books of Wonder
16 W 18th, (800) 207-6968
Heavenly gift to adults who like children's books. Everything from first editions to the latest paperbacks. They do readings periodically. Periodic newsletter they'll send to customers announcing new books. "On Sunday mornings at eleven-thirty, Tim Hall, the assistant manager, reads stories to neighborhood kids. Publications include a monthly newsletter, an Oz newsletter, and a catalogue for collectors. Books of Wonder is a Barney-free zone, with limited parking for strollers." [-New Yorker] Open 7 days a week. (Recently [7/96] moved.)

Center for Book Arts
626 Broadway (fifth floor) btwn Houston & Bleeker, 212-460-9768
Limited edition art books, fine printing, sketch books and journals, small publishers, bookbinders, fine printers.

Chelsea Books and Records
11 E12th, 212-645-4340
Used books and records.

Chess Forum
Thompson btwn Bleecker & 3rd

Creative Visions
548 Hudson, 212-645-7573
Gay/lesbian/bisexual bookstore and coffeebar. Mail order available on any G/L/B-themed book or movie currently in print. Discounts for members/contributors to G/L/B, women's, or AIDS organizations. Also has performances, readings, and art showings.

East West Books
78 5th Ave btwn 13th & 14th, 212-243-5994
Stocks books on Buddhism, Taoism, Sufism, Indian Religions also New Age, self-improvement, health and healing. Cards, jewelry, audio tapes, incense. Good-sized stock.

Forbidden Planet
840 Broadway at 13th, 212-473-1576 or 212-475-6161
"The Science Fiction and Fantasy Flea Market." Books, comic books, posters, magazines--if you're at all into this stuff, it's worth it. (Editorial note: I prefer the Science Fiction Shop--it has a *much* better selection of books, while FP seems too involved in marketing peripheral stuff.) Recently [early 1996] moved to this new location one block up and across the street; the old location still has their big name sign. Open 7 days a week.

Fred Wilson Chess Books
80 E 11th btwn University Place & Broadway, 212-533-6381
Chess books, chess sets, etc. There are, amazingly, at least two other stores in the area devoted to chess, both on Thompson between Bleecker and West 3rd.

Hudson News
753 Broadway south of 8th, 212-674-6655
Carries foreeign-language periodicals.

Housing Works Used Book Cafe
126 Crosby btwn Houston & Prince, 334-3324
45,000 new and used books in a two level wooden library setting and a lovely cafe make this a great place to spend down time. The best part isn't the prices, the cushy loungable chairs, or the italian sodas; it's the fact that all the profits go to Housing Works, an organization which provides housing, health care and support services for homeless people living with HIV and AIDS.

Macondo Books, Inc.
221 W 14th, 212-741-3108
THE Spanish-language bookstore.

Manhattan Comics & Cards
228 W 23rd btwn 7th & 8th Aves, 212-243-9349

Mercer Street Books
206 Mercer,212- 505- 8615
Piles of used books, and (for a change) strong sections in math and science (although one poster says this section has diminished lately). They also have loads of used textbooks. (They used to be called the Art of Reading.)

The Mill Store at Dieu Donne Papermill
433 Broome btwn Broadway & Crosby, 212-226-0573, FAX 212-226-6088
Books on papermaking by hand, paper conservation, alternative photography on handmade paper, and bookmaking.

Murder Ink
1 Whitehall near Water.
A branch of the original. The usual suspects, plus a nice magazine selection.

New York Nautical Instrument and Service Corporation
200 Church Street New York, NY 10013,1 (212) 962-4522
I had said "Boating and marine." Someone wrote, "The description doesn't do it justice. It's like saying F.A.O. Schwartz is a toy store, or that Zabar's is a deli. You go to New York Nautical when you want serious books and publications (they also have a good selection of popular "boating and marine" books). By serious, I mean official government charts for the whole world, textbooks explaining how to load a container ship to maximize stability, almanacs, tide tables, etc, etc. Most of their trade is to the commercial shipping industry (or what's left of it)."

New York University Book Center
726 BroadwayNew York, NY 10003, (212) 998-4667 Fax (212) 995-4118
General and textbooks.

New York University Computer Store
242 Greene, 212-998-4659
General interest and some technical books. Software and hardware generally restricted to full-time NYU University students.

New York University Medical Center Bookstore
550 First Ave, in the basement of the Medical Sciences Building
Specializes in medical texbooks and paraphenalia for med students.

New York University Professional Bookstore
530 LaGuardia Pl btwn Bleeker & 3rd, 212-998-4680
Law/Business/Public Administration School texts and related paraphernalia. (Was NYU Law School Book Store)

Oriental Culture Enterprises Co, Inc
13-17 Elizabeth, second floor, 212-226-8461
"I got my five-volume SELECTIONS FROM MAO ZEDONG there. (They have it in English, too, by the way, along with Lenin, Marx, and others. But finding the books in English is not easy, particularly if you don't speak Chinese.) A great selection of books, most of which are in Chinese. They also sell things needed for Chinese calligraphy, Chinese musical instruments, recordings of Chinese music, Chinese-language periodicals, and many other things Chinese. An attached art gallery sells paintings. While browsing through the books, sit down and enjoy a cup of tea free of charge. Well worth a visit. Two complaints: it's more expensive than it should be, and too many of the books are damaged (by careless customers, or by thoughtless staff?). Unquestionably the best bookstore in all of Chinatown."

Oscar Wilde Bookstore
15 Christopher btwn Gay & Greenwich Ave, 212-255-8097
Gay/lesbian/bisexual books. This is a much older store than A Different Light, and was probably the first such in the city. (And, yes, it really is near Gay St!)

PO box 1081 New York, NY 10013, 212-674-5296
"There used to be a peculiar mishmash of unexpected gems buried in the dreck. But since they have less floor space in this location than in the old one on 9th Street, they have switched almost entirely over to prints rather than books. Now only a pale shadow of its former self, it's hardly worth a visit."

Partners & Crime
44 Greenwich Ave near W 10th, 212-243-0440
Mysteries. Much larger selection than Foul Play.

Pathfinder Bookstore
167 Charles, 212-366-1973
"Features books on the Cuban revolution, South Africa, union struggles, Black history, women's liberation, Russia and Eastern Europe. Books by Marx & Engels, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Rosa Luxemberg, Mother Jones, Lenin, Castro and many others." They also send out catalogs.

Posman Books
1 University Place, NE corner of Washington Square Park,also try New School University store, 70 5th Ave, 212-533-2665
Small bookstore near NYU with liberal arts slant. Limited selection of sale books, quite different from Barnes & Noble's or B. Dalton's remainders. 30% off NYT best-seller hardcovers; 10% off selected new releases.

Reborn Books
228 Ave B
Inexpensive used books, mainly paperback. .

Revolution Books
9 West 19th, 212-691-3345
Huge Marxist and otherwise left-wing inventory.

Richard Stoddard
3441 West Queen Lane Philadelphia, PA 19129. (212) 598-9421
Rare books in the field of drama.

454 West Broadway bwtn Prince & Houston,also at 31 W 57th, 212-674-1616
Italian Bookstore chain. Excellent art, design, and architecture sections; probably the premier art book store in the city. New books at list prices. Lots of fun stuff, also foreign books and periodicals. "A classy place, strong on art books." "Opulent bookstore specializing in art/architecture/design books." Has an espresso bar. (Also has an uptown and a WFC store.) (For out-of-towners, note that West Broadway is an entirely separate street from Broadway, running parallel to it and about four blocks west.)

Russica Book and Art Shop
799 Broadway at 11th (third floor), 212-473-7480
Russia and Russian art (in both English and Russian).

Samuel French bookstore and reading room
45 W 25th btwn Broadway & 6th Ave, 212-206-8990
The ad says "1000's of play titles; out-of-print archives for Samuel French plays; bookstore and reading room open to the public". "I've never been there; caveat tourist."

Science Fiction, Mysteries, and More
140 Chambers west of West Broadway, 212-385-8798
Opened June '92. Conveniently placed about 50 feet from a subway stop (1, 2, 3, 9 line). They have a used/half-price section with a much bigger selection than that in the SF Shop. The main SF section seemed smaller than that of the SF Shop, but my friend found four books he was looking for that he didn't find at the SF Shop earlier that afternoon. They also have readings and signings.

Science Fiction Shop
214 Sullivan btwn Bleeker & 3rd, second floor, 212-777-2770, FAX 212-475-9727
A better selection of new SF books than Forbidden Planet, and they have a used/half-price section. Ships worldwide. Recently [5/96] moved to this new location (its fourth). Hours may have changed.

S F Vanni
30 W 12th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-675-6336
Italian books. [ also has places to order Italian books.]

Shakespeare & Co.
716 Broadway just north of 4th,also 939 Lexington Ave and 1 Whitehall St, 212-529-1330
A good, large selection, they're good about getting in the new stuff quickly.

Skyline Bookstore
13 W 18th btwn 5th & 6th Aves, 212-675-4773
Another used book store, across the street from Academy and apparently owned by the same person. This one has a slightly different focus than Academy.

Soho Books
351 West Broadway, 1/2 block below Broome,also at 350 Bleecker and 80 Nassau, 212-226-3395
Opened May '92. Good assortment of used books in a wide variety of subject areas; biography section seemed especially diverse. Worth dropping into on your way to buy new books at Spring St. Books and Rizzoli.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Soho Museum
536 Broadway, 212-219-9939
A good art bookstore (big surprise, right?). There's absolutely no reason to visit Rizzoli's and not here, or vice versa. (For out-of-towners, note that West Broadway is an entirely separate street from Broadway, running parallel to it and about four blocks west.)

St. Marks Bookshop
31 3rd Ave near 9th, 212-260-7853
"A GREAT bookstore. Excellent selection of books for the downtown intellectual." Though they had some financial difficulties in the past, they are now in the black again. Smart, sometimes helpful, staff. Moved to this new location July 1992. "The new store is decorated in the style that used to be called 'High Tech': lots of fixtures you would expect in a factory instead of a bookstore. The place feels more like the hold of a spaceship in a Dr. Who episode than a bookstore. However, the selection is as good as ever. Large selection of fiction, philosophy, art books and magazines, small-press literary magazines, SF, etc., and they are open until midnight, which is always a plus." An aricle in the April 18, 1994 PUBLISHERS WEEKLY described their award-winning design.

St. Marks Comics
11 St. Mark's Place (8th) btwn 2nd & 3rd Aves,also 150 Chambers St and in brooklyn at 148 Montague St, 212-598-9439

22 Cortlandt Street 21 Fl., New York, NY 10007, (646) 462-4084
Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-8pm, Sun: Closed

Stevensbooks is one of the most established single book stores in the United States, serving its customers for over 50 years with half a million titles on various subjects.

Our store occupies a 39,000 sq ft space with all books of all kinds of subjects.

Titles can be browsed through our website or via phone (646) 462-4084 or e-mail ccare [at] with our friendly customer service representatives.

Strand Books
828 Broadway at 12th, 212-473-1452 or 800-366-3664
This place is huge. They specialize in reviewers' copies for half-price, used books, and the out of print. "The Strand is one of the world's largest bookstores, and yet the employees there, unlike those in many smaller bookstores, really do know what is on the shelves and can tell you immediately whether or not they have what you are looking for: 'Do you have "The Complete Encyclopedia of Illustration," by...' 'By Heck. No, sorry; we don't.' is a much better answer than : 'Uh, gee, I dunno...look around on the shelves.'" (And one more thing that makes the Strand unique--they have restrooms!) There's a muchsmaller branch at the South Street Seaport (95 Fulton St., 212-732-6070), and another on Second Ave between E 59 and 60 (at the Manhattan terminal of the aerial tramway to Roosevelt Island), and I've seen a mini-branch of a few portable bookracks on Fifth Ave along Central Park. The Strand has a separate store for antiquarian books next to the main store (not at ground level), accessible by escort or appointment. This store has a good selection of original editions and valuable books.

Sufi Books
245 West Broadway New York, NY 10013, 212 9669773
Like it says, books on Sufism.

Three Lives Book Store
154 W 10th east of 7th Ave, 212-741-2069
A wide variety of subject matter, but seeming to concentrate on women authors, reissues of 1920s and 1930s books. Very interesting place to browse.

Tompkins Square Books
111 E 7th at Avenue A, 212-979-8958
Used books and records. "A slight walk down from the street on the south side of the street. Has some great stuff and the prices are very good. The owner is an older woman who has been in the neighborhood a long time." Someone else says, "Better organized and more cheerful than similar side street used book shops in the Lower East Side, contains some tables with real collectibles as well as reasonably priced reading copies.

United Synagogue Book Service
155 Fifth Ave, 212-533-7800 x2003, FAX 212-353-9439
"In addition to books published by United Synagogue, the Rabbinical Assembly, and the Jewish Theological Seminary, they also carry a small selection of books from other publishers, including the Steinsaltz Talmud and the JPS Torah Commentaries. Nice catalog, and includes lots of good Hebrew story books geared towards children with 250-word vocabularies. These are among the least expensive childrens Hebrew story books I have found."

159 Prince west of West Broadway, 212-982-2088
Before art postcard shops became something to franchise, there were cramped stores like this jammed with an exquisite selection of cards. Another branch on West Broadway is more spacious and has an extensive art book selection, specializing in typography and design, but lacks the down-home feel of the original. The corporate name is Fine Art In Print, Inc.

Ursus Books Ltd.
Online books, 212-226-7858
New and out-of-print art books and catalogues. (Also has an uptown location.)

U.S. Government Bookstore
Room 110, Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza, (212-264-3825)
"Did you know that the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) operates 24 bookstores across the country? ...and that they have some of the most >ahem< unusual and interesting things you'll find anywhere?" However, someone reports, "There is now a security check on persons entering the building. It takes about half an hour to get through the checkpoint." (4/93)

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books
34 Carmine Street, 212-229-0079
Self described as the "Merchant for Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books in NYC since before you were born."

Viewpoint, Inc.
111 E 14th, Suite 125, 212-242-5478
Reliable and competent at book searching.

59 Broadway south of Wall St., 212-269-1139
Very strong on finance. Reasonably strong on everything else.

Witkin Gallery
415 West Broadway btwn Spring & Prince, 212-925-5510
Large selection of art and photography books. (For out-of-towners, note that West Broadway is an entirely separate street from Broadway, running parallel to it and about four blocks west.)
Thanks to Evelyn C. Leeper for some of this information.