“When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus.
New York City has plenty of bookstores to satisfy a bibliophile. As I explore and continue to explore my city, these are the bookstores I’ve come across and recommend to all my friends with similar interests. As a bibliophile myself, I’m happy to share this as a guide to the best bookstores in NYC.
Plus, I’ve included nearby attractions and things to do after finding a book (or more!) in each store.
Read More: 11 Travel Books Actually Worth Buying
Bookstores By Neighborhood
Upper West Side
Westsider Books is a used book heaven with narrow aisles, floor to ceiling shelves and a staircase lined with stacks of books. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this bookstore has rare and used books – everything from fiction to history, cooking and children’s books and records of various music genres. You can trade in your used books in exchange for store credit. And if you’re visiting New York City, Westsider Books is only an 8 minute walk away from the American Museum of Natural History.
Nearby Attraction: The American Museum of Natural History
Address: 2246 Broadway, New York, NY 10024 (between 80th and 81st St)
The Shops at Columbus Circle is home to retail shops and restaurants, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Amazon Books. This bookstore reflects prices for books found on Amazon’s website with selections based on customer ratings and popularity on the site from all genres ranging from self-help and children’s to new fiction and New York City related books. There’s also an area for Amazon Echos, Kindle e-readers and other Amazon devices.
Nearby Attraction: Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center for performing arts
Address: 10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019 (third floor)
Upper East Side
Sort of hidden inside the Payne Whitney mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan is Albertine Books. The mansion is a historic building home to the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. You’ll need to go through a small security scan to get in. And once you’re in, browse through books of all genres in French. Don’t speak French? No worries, there’s a small selection of books in English. Plus it’s worth a visit for the architecture alone, especially the second floor’s hand painted ceiling. Make your way here if you’re headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – it’s just around the corner.
Nearby Attraction: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Address: 972 5th Ave, New York, NY 10075 (between 78th and 79th St)
The Corner Bookstore: Carnegie Hill
A neighborhood bookstore serving the Carnegie Hill neighborhood on the Upper East Side, this cozy shop has a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, plus a great children’s section. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, you can request a special order from knowledgeable staff. (Fun fact – as a collector of Penguin Books, this is the only shop in the whole city that I’ve seen a book from the Penguin Clothbound Classic collection in stock!) Combine a visit with one of the museums on Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile including the Cooper Hewitt, Guggenheim or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Nearby Attraction: Museum Mile (Cooper Hewitt, Guggenheim, the MET)
Address: 1313 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10128 (on 93rd St)
Neue Galerie Book Store
The Neue Galerie is a museum on the Upper East Side for German and Austrian art and home to the famous The Woman in Gold painting by Gustav Klimt. Their museum gift shop is a book store specializing in books about decorative arts, architecture and art from Germany and Austria, in addition to a selection of posters of works displayed in the museum. Don’t miss The Metropolitan Museum of Art just down the road (they also have a large selection of books specific to the exhibitions and art found in the museum.)
Nearby Attraction: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Address: 1048 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Assouline Books: The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel isn’t just an iconic New York City hotel. It’s home to a spa, food hall and several stores, including a bookstore. Assouline Books publishes luxury coffee table books and each of their boutiques around the world has a variety of books relating to architecture, art, design, fashion, travel, food and more. The Plaza boutique is a cozy area overlooking the check-in desks of the hotel. Have afternoon tea at the Palm Court, or check out the food hall during your visit.
Nearby Attraction: The Palm Court and Central Park
Address: 768 5th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (on 59th St)
Three Lives & Company
You’ll know you’ve reached Three Lives & Company when you see the facade with a red door and word Books when facing it from the Waverly Place corner of this neighborhood bookstore. Open since 1968, you can find a wide selection of new releases, classics and travel books in the cozy and small yet well organized store. After your visit, head across the street for classic and vegan flavored ice cream.
Nearby Attraction: Van Leeuwen ice cream
Address: 154 W 10th St, New York, NY 10014 (on Waverly Pl)
Books of Wonder
Books of Wonder is the largest independent children’s bookstore in New York City. Founded in 1980, there are now two locations in the city – one on the Upper West Side and one in Chelsea. Find children’s literature for children of all ages and interests from new releases to classics and storytime events during the weekends. Plus, check out their old and rare books section for collectors and bookish merchandise for all book lovers. The store is a short walk to the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.
Nearby Attraction: Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park
Address: 18 W 18th St, New York, NY 10011 (between 5th and 6th Ave)
McNally Jackson Books
McNally Jackson Books is a bookstore in Soho with locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and downtown in the Seaport District. There’s a wide range of books at the original location in Soho with two floors of books ranging from cookbooks to literature from all over the world. Don’t miss the cafe serving beverages and food from local suppliers and look up – there’s beautiful decor of lights and hanging books.
Nearby Attraction: Explore Little Italy
Address: 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
Housing Works Bookstore
Housing Works is a non-profit organization with a mission to end homelessness and AIDS. All the proceeds from their Bookstore Cafe & Bar goes to the organization. Browse through this used books gem where all books are donated and is staffed by volunteers. Head to the cafe for coffee and a sandwich after finding a book. This bookstore is surrounded by several stores in Soho, so take time to continue your shopping in the neighborhood.
Nearby Attraction: Soho shopping
Address: 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
There’s a bookstore in Koreatown called Koryo Books for all kinds of books and all written in Korean. Some books are translated from English and there’s also a section of Korean-English dictionaries if you’re interested in learning the language. It’s also a store for gifts that people interested in the Korean culture will appreciate – from Korean stationery to K-pop merchandise. Combine a visit with lunch or dinner at BCD Tofu House just a couple doors down for classic Korean food like bibimbap and bulgogi.
Nearby Attraction: Korean restaurants
Address: 35 W 32nd St, New York, NY 10001 (between 5th and 6th Ave)
Rizzoli’s history began in 1964 when its original store opened on Fifth Avenue. The brand also branched out to publishing in 1974 and today, the store has moved to the Nomad neighborhood, specializing in books on photography, architecture, culinary, design and art, but also has a large set of fiction and new releases. Take note of the beautiful walls, shelves and chandeliers as you browse for a book. Afterwards, take a walk around Madison Square Park just next door or stop by Eataly for high-quality Italian food.
Nearby Attraction: Madison Square Park and Eataly
Address: 1133 Broadway, New York, NY 10010 (on 26th St)
Barnes and Noble Union Square
The historic Century Building in Union Square was once home to a publishing company, so it’s fitting that it’s now home to a Barnes & Nobles. The bookstore has everything you’d expect in a Barnes & Noble across four floors. There’s a floor dedicated to children’s books and another with a coffee shop and magazines, a section for Nook readers, books of all genres and toys, gifts and stationery sections. The bookstore’s beautiful facade faces Union Square Park where a Greenmarket is held on certain days throughout the year for fresh produce from local farmers.
Nearby Attraction: Union Square Market
Address: 33 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003 (between Park Ave and Broadway)
Strand Bookstore: Union Square (two streets from the park)
The Strand Bookstore is a must visit bookstore when in NYC. This independent bookstore has 18 miles of new, used and rare books – that’s 2.5 million books. It’s a book lover’s dream with not only plenty of books, but bookish gifts from tote bags, pins and cards to notebooks, bookmarks and socks. The Strand has expanded to two kiosks around the city in Central Park and Times Square (see Outdoor Markets.)
Nearby Attractions: East Village restaurants
Address: 828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (on 12th St)
The Mysterious Bookshop
The Mysterious Bookshop opened in 1979 and is known as the World’s Oldest and Greatest Mystery Fiction Specialty Store. This is a store just for the mystery genre, from hardcovers, paperbacks, first editions and collectibles to everything Sherlock Holmes. Visit World Trade Center and see the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial, both nearby.
Nearby Attraction: World Trade Center, Freedom Tower, 9/11 Memorial
Address: 58 Warren St, New York, NY 10007
Whitney Museum of American Art Bookstore
The Whitney is a museum all about American art with a focus on 20th century and contemporary art from living artists. Their gift shop on the main floor features an array of coffee table books about art and some just about New York City. After a visit to the museum, take a walk on the High Line, an elevated park built on what used to be a railroad line or check out Chelsea Market.
Nearby Attraction: The High Line and Chelsea Market
Address: 99 Gansevoort St, New York, NY 10014
During summer, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has several vendors right outside the entrance selling art and souvenirs and you may run into one seller with a table of used books. Other places you can find books outside are at the Strand Bookstore’s Times Square Kiosk and Central Park Kiosk. These are several tables with small, yet varied selection of books and souvenirs.
Nearby Attractions: Depending on which location, Times Square and Central Park are both attractions not to be missed.
Address: Times Square Kiosk – 43rd bet. Broadway & 7th Ave. Manhattan, NY
Central Park Kiosk – E. 60th St & 5th Ave Manhattan, NY 10065
WORD Brooklyn: Greenpoint
In the northernmost neighborhood of Brooklyn is an independent neighborhood bookstore named WORD. With a location in Greenpoint that opened in 2007 and a location in Jersey City, this is a shop to stop by for a large assortment of books from fiction, classics, self-help, children’s books and fun gifts, cards and stationery. Combine your visit to the bookstore with one of Greenpoint’s instagrammable cafes.
Address: 126 Franklin St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Read More: 15 Instagrammable Cafes in NYC
The Powerhouse Arena: DUMBO
Part of a space for galleries, performances and literary events, this bookstore in Brooklyn is right in the center of Brooklyn’s attractions like the Brooklyn Bridge, the iconic view of the Manhattan Bridge between two streets and Time Out Market New York, a food hall for a taste of food from around the city. The bookstore has a selection of fiction, non-fiction, New York related books and a large section for children’s books and toys.
Nearby Attraction: Brooklyn Bridge and Time Out Market New York
Address: 37 Main St, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Book Culture: Long Island City
Book Culture has a few locations around the city – including one in Queens! Started in 1997, this independent bookstore has four locations and has since branched out to Long Island City, it’s newest location. It’s a large bookstore compared to others you’ll find in the city with high ceilings. You’ll find a wide range of new arrivals and fiction, gifts and children’s books downstairs. A little bit of a walk from the store, about 20 minutes, is Gantry Plaza State Park where you can see a view of Manhattan from Queens.
Nearby Attraction: Gantry Plaza State Park
Address: 26-09 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101
BONUS: Beyond NYC
Burton’s Book Store
Some New Yorkers just need a break away from the fast paced city lifestyle or some like to spend summer weekends on Long Island. If you ever find yourself out in Long Island, there’s a bookstore all the way out at the end of the island at the north fork called Greenport. Burton’s Book Store is the village’s bookstore for all sorts of fiction and non-fiction books, including a whole wall for classic books. Greenport is about a three hour ride on the Long Island Railroad starting at Penn Station or a 2 hour drive from Penn Station.
Address: 43 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
BONUS: NYC Libraries
New York Public Library: Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
The main branch of the New York Public Library system, the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building is a beautiful example of Beaux-Arts architecture. With free exhibitions, guided tours, a cafe, the New York Public Library Shop for souvenirs and several reading and research rooms, you’ll need to dedicate a few hours to take in this bookish landmark. You won’t be able to leave without taking a picture of the two marble lions, named Patience and Fortitude, which have been there since 1911 and to see the Rose Main Reading Room’s stunning ceilings.
Address: 476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Morgan Library was the private library of J.P. Morgan and is now open to the public as a museum for visitors to view his incredible collection of rare books and manuscripts, plus well curated exhibitions on literature and art. There’s also a casual cafe and Morgan Dining Room for sit down meals and a shop for books and products related to the Morgan’s exhibitions.
Address: 225 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016