New York City’s Best Used Bookshops

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New York has a wonderful selection of bookshops (new, used and specialty). Since it is the publishing capital of the United States, there are often incredible deals on remainders. The best of all these stores is the Strand Book Store at 828 Broadway at 12th Street. They have other locations at 95 Fulton Street and the Strand Kiosk in Central Park (5th Avenue at 60th Street), but the Broadway store is the best one. The Strand claims to have eighteen miles of books (millions of new, used, rare and books that are hard to find). They will also buy your used books at a good price. The staff is extremely helpful. Since this shop is by Union Square, it is accessible by many subway lines that stop at 14th Street (the L, N, Q. R, W, 4,5,6 trains to Union Square). They are open 9:30am to 10:30pm Monday through Saturday and 11am to 10:30PM on Sundays.

Housing Works Used Book Café (126 Crosby Street, between Houston and Prince) is where many New Yorkers donate their used books to charity. All proceeds go to homeless people living with HIV/AIDS. It stocks every type of book and they also have a café, so it’s a nice place to relax while you browse their huge selection. It’s a bit harder to find than the Strand, but many subway lines stop in this area. Check a subway map and look for stops at Broadway-Lafayette Street (B, D, F, V trains) or Prince Street (N, R, W) or Bleecker Street (the number 6 train). They are open 10am to 9pm, Monday through Friday, noon to 9pm on Saturday and noon to 7pm on Sunday.

Labyrinth Books is close to Columbia University and there’s more of an academic crowd there. It’s at 536 West 112 Street, between Amsterdam and Broadway. Take the number 1 train to 110th Street-Cathedral Parkway. They are open from 9am to 8pm, Monday through Friday, 10am to 8pm on Saturday and 11am to 7pm on Sunday.

Other shops worth visiting are the 12th Street Books (11 East 12th Street), which has a good selection of used books. (The subway stop is 8th Street-Astor Place on the number 6 line or 8th Street-NYC on the N, R lines.) Gotham Book Shop has hundreds of out of print books and limited editions. They are located at 16 East 46th Street, which is reached by any of the subways that stop at Times Square and that’s almost all lines. Gryphon Books at 2246 Broadway (take the number 1 train to the West 79th Street stop) is a friendly neighborhood shop that has a good selection of used books and records. It’s best to call for hours on these shops before visiting.

Big chain stores, like Barnes and Noble and Border, have run many of the smaller bookshops out of business. However, even the chair stores have good deals-look in the “bargains” section. You can also get coupons for Barnes and Noble online, usually 15% off most items in the store. The other place to look for used books is at Flea Markets and in a lot of neighborhoods people simply set up tables on the street. There are several people selling books at good prices outside of Zabar’s (a food store that is legendary and well worth visiting) on Broadway. Again, this is at the 79th Street stop on the number 1 line. One Sunday market that has used books is Greenflea on Columbus Avenue at 77th Street. There are many items for sale here (from antiques to food). The booksellers are usually inside-it’s a school and they set up their tables in the cafeteria. This market can be reached via the 79th Street subway stop on the number 1 line or you can take the C train to 81st Street (the Museum of Natural History) station. Columbus Avenue is one block west of the C station, which is on Central Park West. It is two blocks east of Broadway if you take the number 1 line. Greenflea is open on Sundays from 10am to 5pm.

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