12 Best Bookstores (And Then Some)

If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.

Host of author readings, air-conditioned refuge from the sweltering streets, even a place to buy a book (what a novel idea), the bookstores of New York are deeply engrained in our city’s gritty culture. But what do New Yorkers love more than anything else? Claiming they’ve got the inside tip on the “best in the city” (burger, salon, shoeshine, etc.). Often it’s not about being the best at all, but simply an excuse to share your exclusive knowledge of the city’s obscure hotspots.

Perhaps that’s what left me awestruck when I saw the Paris Review’s post about Brazenhead Books, one of the city’s best kept secrets. Or perhaps it was because the video (below) was stunning. Or perhaps because the proprietor claimed if he wanted to run a successful business, he’d be peddling crack instead.

This week, PopSugar posted a list of New York’s 11 best bookstores. The list featured some of my favorites (Greenlight, St. Marks, powerHouse, Housing Works, and McNally Jackson), but plenty were missing. Where’s Word? How about Three Lives? Or the quaint Unnameable Books?

Not to encourage competition or favoritism, but instead in the spirit of supporting New York’s famous or reclusive indie booksellers, let us know which bookstore tops your list in the comments section.

Update: take a look at this list of 10 Unconventional Bookstores from Flavorpill

More Like This

The Acknowledgments Are My Favorite Part of a Book

I read them before anything else because they tell the story behind the story

Jul 20 - Ayden LeRoux

What “The Virgin Suicides” Tells Us About White Flight From Detroit

Reading Jeffrey Eugenides's 1993 novel as an allegory for the self-destruction of white exodus

Jul 6 - Arvind Dilawar

How 10 Book Covers Evolved, from Rejected Drafts to Final Design

Book designers explain how the covers you love came to be

Jun 3 - Christopher Louis Romaguera
Thank You!