Step into the enchanting world of books in the city that never sleeps. Finding Cozy Bookstores for Autumn Days in New York City is one of the fabulous ways to enjoy Autumn in the City. Despite the digital age dominating our reading habits, there is an undeniable allure to the tangible charm of printed editions. This especially for the ardent book lovers among us. New York City, a literary giant in its own right. It boasts a staggering 79,384 titles dedicated to its bustling streets, surpassing even the literary haven of London by an incredible 4000 books.
Embark on a bookish adventure in the heart of the Big Apple, where cozy bookstores stand as oases for those seeking fair and square copies. Imagine the thrill of discovering hidden literary gems with the guidance of knowledgeable and passionate booksellers. From the captivating Drama Bookshop to the artistic haven of Dashwood Books. And the unapologetically feminist Cafe con Libros in Brooklyn, each bookstore is a unique chapter waiting to be explored.
These independent establishments not only survive but thrive amidst the shadows of industry giants like Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Join us, whether you are a seasoned bookaholic New Yorker or a literary explorer on a grand excursion. We unveil the best places in New York City to uncover independent, specialty, and used books. Get ready to dive into a world where each bookstore tells a story, and literary magic awaits at every turn.
My Love for Books
Rediscovering the joy of holding a book in my hands, reveling in the distinct smell and tactile experience, became a delightful journey for me after a few years of embracing the digital world of Kindle. About a year ago, I found myself backsliding into the enchanting realm of physical books. I was drawn to the irresistible to the allure of bookshops. This return to the tangible pleasures of reading marked a personal journey. A rediscovery of the magic that unfolds with each page turned, and the unique atmosphere that only a bookshop can provide.
So today, I invite you to join me as I share some of my Favorite Cozy Bookstores for Autumn Days in New York City.
Best Bookshops in Manhattan for Autumn Days in New York City
1. Argosy Book Store
Step into the time-honored embrace of literary history at Argosy Book Store. It is a haven that unfolded its doors in 1925, making it the city’s oldest and most cherished bookstore. Nestled within its warm confines is a treasure trove of out-of-print and used books. Each page whispering tales of various subjects and interests. Picture this. A family-owned sanctuary spanning six floors. Adorned with the timeless charm of classic floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves and bathed in the soft glow of green bowl pendant lamps.
At Argosy Book Store, the ambiance is not just cozy. It is a nostalgic journey through literary epochs. This haven is not merely a bookstore. It is a collector’s dream. The shelves hold more than just books. They cradle rare antique maps, prints, autographs, and antiquarian objects, each telling a story of its own. Proudly standing as a founding member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America [ABAA] and in affiliation with the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers [ILAB]. Argosy Book Store is not just a destination. It is an institution that echoes with the whispers of literary enthusiasts across generations. Step inside, and let the warmth of history embrace you as you wander through the living pages of a bygone era.
116 East 59th Street—Midtown
In the literary embrace of Albertine, a rare gem nestled within the historic Payne Whitney mansion on 5th Avenue. This one-of-a-kind bookshop spans two floors within the elegant French Embassy. It is a haven for bibliophiles. It boasts a curated collection of fourteen thousand titles in both French and English, hailing from thirty Francophonic countries.
Immerse yourself in the magic that began in 2014, a testament to the elemental exchange of French-American culture and academia. The visual journey is nothing short of a masterpiece, thanks to the artistic touch of renowned French designer Jacques Garcia. As you explore the ornate interiors, discover a cozy reading nook on the second floor. It is where a plush sofa invites you to lose yourself in the pages of a good book.
This is not just a bookstore. It is a sanctuary of cross-cultural literary exploration. Picture yourself surrounded by the whimsy of a hand-painted constellation-themed ceiling and bask in the soft glow of sizeable drum pendant lighting. Albertine invites you to experience literature in a setting that transcends the ordinary. It is a literary escape where history, culture, and design seamlessly intertwine. So, let the pages come alive as you find solace in the warmth of a unique reading spot that feels like a literary embrace within the heart of a historic mansion.
972 5th Avenue—Upper East Side
3. 192 Books
Step into the warm embrace of literary passion at 192 Books, a literary haven co-founded by the dynamic duo of Henry Holt, the editor, and Paula Cooper, the art dealer, in 2003. This cozy gem in Chelsea beckons readers of all tastes with its extensive collection that spans art tomes, children’s books, fiction and non-fiction wonders, captivating games, and mind-bending puzzles.
As you step inside, the shelves unfold like chapters, offering a delightful journey for every book lover. But 192 Books is more than a bookstore. It is a cultural hub, a place where stories come to life in a kaleidoscope of genres. Nestled within its inviting walls, you will discover a special spot dedicated to Young Adult books. And a literary celebration that echoes through the fall during Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month.
From the vibrant pages of artist books showcased in Paula Cooper’s gallery to the timeless allure of all-time bestsellers, every corner holds the promise of a new literary adventure. Picture yourself cozying up in a nook with a stack of books, surrounded by the inviting scent of printed pages. 192 Books is not just a store. It is a retreat for the soul, a place where the art of reading is celebrated in all its forms. So, come on in, and let the pages of discovery unfold in this cozy literary sanctuary in the heart of Chelsea.
192 10th Avenue—Chelsea
4. Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore
Dive into the vibrant world of ideas at Bluestockings Cooperative Bookstore, a collectively-owned haven nestled in the heart of the Lower East Side. Rooted in the spirit of intellectual exploration, Bluestockings began as a feminist bookshop, drawing inspiration from the historical Bluestocking Society in England. It was dedicated to fostering intellectual and educated women.
This is not your ordinary bookstore. It is a cozy refuge for reading groups passionate about delving into discussions on social oppression, intersectional feminism, the anti-globalization movement, and other critical issues. The shelves here are a curated collection of voices that challenge, inspire, and ignite the imagination.
And when hunger pangs strike, surrender to the culinary delights at their vegan café. It is where organic gourmet dishes become a feast for both the palate and the mind. The space itself is a warm embrace of community, designed for socializing, gatherings, enriching discussions, author readings, and an array of free events that echo the spirit of inclusivity.
Step inside Bluestockings, and you are not just entering a bookstore. You are entering a living, breathing hub of ideas. Let the cozy atmosphere envelop you as you explore the pages of books that spark conversations and linger over thought-provoking discussions. This is not merely a space. It is a celebration of curiosity and community, where every corner invites you to curl up, connect, and engage in the warmth of shared knowledge.
116 Suffolk Street—Lower East Side
5. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
This delightful culinary time capsule is Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks. This spacious vintage store is not just a haven for gourmets, chefs, and hands-on cooks. It is a cozy retreat where the past’s long-lost recipes come alive. Bonnie herself, a culinary storyteller, invites visitors on a nostalgic journey through family culinary tales spanning the globe.
Wander through the roomy aisles, and you will find shelves stacked with hand-selected classic cookery books, each a culinary gem waiting to be discovered. These are more than just books. They are portals to bygone eras, offering a taste of the food history that shaped New York and beyond.
But the feast for the senses does not stop there. Bonnie Slotnick’s store is a treasure trove of vintage accouterments featuring casseroles from the 1950s, quaint cookware, and an array of charming kitchen tools. All are waiting to be part of your culinary adventures.
Imagine yourself browsing through the pages of a weathered cookbook, surrounded by the comforting scent of history and the promise of delectable dishes. Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks is not just a store. It is a cozy corner where every item tells a story. And every recipe carries the warmth of shared memories. So, come in, explore, and let the charm of vintage culinary treasures enchant you in this welcoming haven for food enthusiasts and history lovers alike.
28 E 2nd Street—East Village
6. BOOKOFF New York
Experience the vibrant allure of BOOKOFF New York. It is a multimedia haven nestled in the heart of Times Square that captures the essence of Japanese culture and offers a delightful array of books at unbeatable discounts. Amid the usual crowd seeking affordable used books, this cozy space holds treasures beyond your expectations.
Descend to the lower level and immerse yourself in a world of Japanese titles and an impressive manga collection. Beyond books, this multimedia shop boasts a diverse selection. From noir classic movie and music DVDs to toys, video games, and a rich assortment of fiction and non-fiction English language books.
The abundance of choices spans varying price ranges, from budget-friendly dollar carts to shelves housing coveted one-hundred-dollar copies of rare finds. The excitement peaks during the annual Black Friday sale. It draws crowds in pursuit of significant discounts and transforms the bookstore into a bustling hub of literary enthusiasm.
Envision yourself in this inviting space, surrounded by the buzz of fellow readers and the cultural richness of the offerings. BOOKOFF New York is not just a bookstore. It is a cultural odyssey, where diverse voices converge, and the joy of discovery is woven into the very fabric of the place. So, explore and let the magic of Japanese culture and incredible book finds transport you to a cozy literary haven in the heart of the city.
49 West 45th Street—Midtown West
7. Housing Works Bookstore
Cozy up in the warm embrace of Housing Works Bookstore, a literary haven intertwined with philanthropy. It offers support to those affected by HIV/AIDS through life-sustaining services. Amidst the noble cause, the retail space exudes a snug ambiance. It is adorned with dark wood helix stairs, panels, shelves, and inviting seating arrangements—all contributing to a cozy atmosphere.
This bookstore, adorned with a heart of gold, curates a collection of used books, each in splendid condition, alongside thrift goods sourced from generous donations. It is more than just a place to shop. But it is a sanctuary for group readings, engaging events, and discussions. And a haven for bibliophiles and their companions.
Savor the moments with friends, either fueling up with a delightful visit to the café or indulging in good wine when the cravings for a cozy atmosphere hit high. Housing Works Bookstore is not just about books. It is a community hub where connections are forged, and stories come to life in the warmth of shared experiences.
Feeling inspired to give back? Bring new life to your old treasures by donating clothes, shoes, accessories, décor pieces, housewares, and more. Every contribution here is not just a donation. It is a gesture of warmth that resonates within the heart of this cozy literary haven. So, come, immerse yourself in the spirit of generosity, and let the pages of philanthropy and literature unfold in this welcoming space.
126 Crosby Street—Soho
8. The Mysterious Book Shop
Embark on a thrilling literary adventure at The Mysterious Book Shop, the planet’s oldest and largest specialty store dedicated to crime, thriller, and mystery fiction. Your quest for the finest in suspenseful storytelling concludes within these walls, where a bountiful collection awaits. From timeless classics to autographed first editions by award-winning authors.
As you step inside, the atmosphere itself is a nod to the great Sherlock Holmes, with enthusiasts wandering through the dedicated zone, uncovering classics from the iconic series. Yet, the true gem lies in the bibliomysteries section, a haven where detective magazines and crime manuscripts beckon you into a world of intrigue.
Whether you drop in for a spontaneous visit or become part of the exclusive crime clubs’ subscription, The Mysterious Book Shop offers more than just books. It is an invitation to immerse yourself in a literary realm. Where floor-to-ceiling racks house captivating stories that can keep you spellbound for hours.
Wander through the spine-chilling ambience. It is adorned with skull décor pieces and the enigmatic yellow tape-designed office room door of Otto Penzler, the owner. Every corner whispers tales of dreary crime elements, creating an atmosphere that is not just a bookstore. It is a thrilling escape into the heart of mystery and suspense. So, come, explore, and let the cozy shadows of crime fiction envelop you in a world where every page holds the key to an intriguing mystery.
58 Warren Street—TriBeCa
9. Strand Book Store
No bookish expedition in New York City is complete without a visit to the legendary Strand Book Store. This iconic haven stands tall as the lone survivor among the 48 book retailers that once graced the historic “Book Row” along Fourth Avenue. With an impressive collection boasting over 2.5 million titles, including secondhand gems and fresh releases showcased on the ledges. The Strand is a literary paradise.
Do not miss the allure of the dollar carts lining the sidewalks. Here an enchanting treasure trove of used books awaiting discovery. With a bit of time and a discerning eye, you can unearth literary gems without breaking the bank. The Strand is not just a bookstore. It is a cozy sanctuary where the rich aroma of aged pages mingles with the excitement of finding that perfect, budget-friendly literary companion.
Picture yourself meandering through the stacks, surrounded by the whispers of countless stories waiting to be explored. Each corner holds the promise of a literary adventure. This makes The Strand not just a bookstore but a haven for bibliophiles seeking a warm, inviting escape. So, dive into the pages of this literary wonderland. And let the cozy ambiance of The Strand wrap you in the comforting embrace of books and stories.
828 Broadway—East Village
10. Rizzoli Bookstore
Nestled in the vibrant NoMad neighborhood of the Flatiron District since its relocation in 2015, Rizzoli Bookstore has swiftly become a must-visit haven for literary enthusiasts seeking a chic and cozy escape in the heart of New York. This specialty store, spanning a generous 5000 sqft, unfolds across three rooms. It showcase an extensive collection of French, Italian, and Spanish literature. The shelves also boast a rich selection of European magazines and publications, with a catalog that proudly features multilingual books in applied and fine arts, interior design, architecture, fashion, and photography.
The journey into this scenic literary paradise commences at the red mullioned pivot entrance door, a gateway to an eighteen-foot tall and thirty-four-foot wide arched glass façade that beckons you into a world of wonder. The interior is a visual delight. It features gorgeous cloud mural walls, checkered floors, and elegant cast-iron chandeliers. The dark mahogany shelves, adorned with golden-lettered titles, make the quest for a specific book a delightful and inviting endeavor.
Imagine yourself wandering through this refined yet cozy space, surrounded by the comforting scent of well-loved books and the visual feast of artistic interiors. Rizzoli Bookstore is not just a place to find books. It is an immersive experience that seamlessly combines literature, art, and design. So, step inside and let the cozy charm of Rizzoli embrace you as you explore the pages of this literary sanctuary in the heart of NoMad.
11. Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
Nestled in the heart of Washington Heights, Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria was born as a pop-up shop in June 2011. It was initiated by Veronica Santiago Liu, the executive director of Seven Stories Institute. What started as a temporary venture has blossomed into a cherished permanent establishment, lovingly regulated by more than sixty uptown residents.
This is not just a bookstore. It is a cozy literary haven and art space with a mission. Word Up is dedicated to fostering cooperative and cross-cultural connections through communication, education, and literary initiatives. The shelves tell stories not just through the pages of books but through the rich tapestry of community events, speaking engagements, and engaging workshops that echo within its walls.
Word Up extends its embrace beyond the store, partnering with local schools to organize education fairs and after-school programs. The community gatherings hosted here are vibrant and diverse. It focuses on studies and discussions ranging from Afrofuturism to Uptown reads, creating an atmosphere where every voice is heard and celebrated.
Envision yourself in this warm, community-driven space, surrounded by the hum of discussions and the shared love for literature. Word Up is more than a bookstore. It is a collective effort, a cozy corner where stories are not only read but lived and shared. So, come, be part of this literary community, and let the pages of Word Up unfold a story of unity, culture, and celebration in the heart of Washington Heights.
2113 Amsterdam Avenue—Washington Heights
12. Shakespeare & Co.
Discover the charm of Shakespeare & Co., an enchanting bookstore with not one but two branches nestled in the welcoming neighborhoods of the Upper East Side and Upper West Side in Manhattan. The allure of the full-length glass windows, offering tantalizing glimpses of the bookish treasures within. It never fails to beckon bibliophiles inside for a delightful exploration of recent editions and timeless classics.
Beyond the shelves adorned with celebrated authors, Shakespeare & Co. on the Upper East Side boasts a diverse collection, including textbooks, school stationery, kids’ books, and a delightful array of audiobooks. Here, the love for literature extends to every corner. It creates a cozy haven where readers of all ages can find something to spark their imagination.
What sets this bookstore apart is the innovative Espresso Book Machine [EBM]. A patented wonder that can generate paperback copies from a staggering 7,000,000 titles, both from the public domain and in-copyright, in just a matter of minutes. And when your energy levels dip, take a break at their onsite cafeteria. At the cafeteria you can savor a bite and a comforting latte, ensuring your literary journey is not just a feast for the mind but a treat for the senses.
Imagine yourself in this warm, book-filled space, surrounded by the hum of conversations and the scent of freshly brewed coffee. Shakespeare & Co. is not just a bookstore. It is a literary retreat where every visit promises new discoveries and a cozy escape into the world of books. So, come, linger a while, and let the pages of Shakespeare & Co. unfold a story of literary joy in the heart of Manhattan.
939 Lexington Avenue—Upper East Side
2020 Broadway—Upper West Side
13. Book Culture
Enter the welcoming world of Book Culture. Book Culture originally christened as Labyrinth Books in 1997 but taking on its current label in 2007 as a proud independent bookstore. With another cherished location on Broadway, established in 2009 and supported by both the Columbia University administration and the vibrant community of Morningside Heights. Book Culture has become a literary haven with a story woven into its very fabric.
Within these thriving walls, books unfold on shelves, covering English literature, history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and various captivating subjects. It is a haven where you are unlikely to spot foreign visitors. Instead, the heart and soul of this store belong to the students and locals who call it their own.
Behind this literary haven is Chris Doeblin, the founder. Who, with an insightful gaze on evolving customer interests and behaviors, has transformed Book Culture into more than just a bookstore. It is a remarkable community center where the narrative extends beyond the pages of books. Here, events come alive, and breakfasts are shared in a cozy atmosphere that beckons you to linger.
Picture yourself immersed in the thriving energy of this cultural hub, surrounded by not just books but an array of stationery merchandise and more. Book Culture is more than a bookstore. It is a vibrant space where stories unfold not only on paper but in the shared experiences of its community. So, come, be part of this literary tapestry, and let the cozy charm of Book Culture become a part of your own bookish journey.
536 W 112th Street—Morningside Heights
14. Sister’s Uptown Bookstore
Step into the heartwarming embrace of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore. It is a cherished family-owned haven in Washington Heights founded on New Year’s Day in Y2K by Janifer P. Wilson, guided by the motto “Knowledge is key.” Today, this cozy space is not just a bookstore but a community resource center, fostering information exchange, gatherings, and enriching discussions.
This institution is more than a mere purveyor of books. It Is a dedicated advocate for African-American writers, weaving their narratives into the vibrant tapestry of literary exploration. From engaging periodic storytelling programs to fostering the love of reading through separate book clubs for both children and adults. Sister’s Uptown Bookstore offers a literary feast that nourishes minds of all ages.
Immerse yourself in the heartening ambiance, where the pursuit of knowledge is encouraged and celebrated. A standout initiative is the weekly P.R.E.P. Program [Promoting Responsible Enthusiastic Pupils], a noteworthy endeavor dedicated to enhancing skills in youth and inspiring them to reach for the stars in higher education.
Envision yourself surrounded by the warmth of shared stories and the gentle hum of literary discussions. Sister’s Uptown Bookstore is not just a bookstore; it’s a cozy haven where knowledge is not only valued but cherished as a key to unlocking the potential within each individual. So, come, be part of this literary community, and let the pages of Sister’s Uptown Bookstore be the catalyst for inspiring minds and kindling a love for lifelong learning.
1942 Amsterdam Avenue—Washington Heights
15. Sweet Pickle Books
Step into the enchanting world of Sweet Pickle Books. A place where the charm of the 1988 rom-com Crossing Delancey seamlessly blends with the vibrant reality of Orchard Street. This distinctive variety shop is not just a place to find books. It is a cozy haven brought to life by the creative spirit of its owner, Leigh Altshuler.
Altshuler, a former Strand Bookstore employee who found herself jobless during the pandemic, did not let adversity dim her dreams. Instead, she transformed the traditional bookshop concept into something extraordinary. At Sweet Pickle Books, the currency for your used books is not just cash. It is a jar of zesty, mouthwatering pickles, adding a flavorful twist to the literary exchange.
Amid the compact floor area, Sweet Pickle Books thrives. It boasts quirky interiors that invite you to linger and explore. The shelves are filled with more than just books. They hold various utility goods, from dilled pickles to swanky tote bags, tees, caps, and more. A delightful assortment that adds to the cozy and eclectic charm of the space.
Picture yourself in this unique haven, surrounded by the whimsy of quirky interiors and the aroma of tantalizing pickles. Sweet Pickle Books is not just a bookstore. It is a testament to resilience, creativity, and the joy of unconventional literary exchanges. So, come, be part of this cozy literary adventure, and let the pages of Sweet Pickle Books unfold a story of innovation, community, and a dash of pickle-infused delight.
47 Orchard Street—Lower East Side
Must-Visit Cozy Bookstores in Brooklyn for Autumn Days in New York City
16. Dear Friend Books
Discover the inviting charm of Dear Friend Books—a hidden gem nestled in Bedford Stuyvesant,. It is where the quest for curated books meets a warm and friendly ambiance, complete with delectable food offerings. From the moment you step into the clutter-free haven, the knowledgeable staff extends superb support. They guide you in your search for the perfect book and offering thoughtful buying suggestions.
Amidst the peaceful surroundings, you are invited to lose yourself in the rich collection of books, each one carefully curated to engage readers for hours. The cozy atmosphere beckons you to browse, explore, and uncover literary treasures in the tranquil embrace of the store.
And when it is time to unwind, the options are as delightful as the books themselves. Picture yourself relaxing in their backyard or indoor bar, savoring delectable bites, enjoying a cup of tea, and immersing yourself in the pages of a good book. Dear Friend Books is not just a bookstore. It is a haven where every element, from the curated collection to the inviting ambiance, contributes to a cozy literary experience.
So, be a part of this warm and welcoming literary escape. It is where the pages of Dear Friend Books unfold stories not just on paper but in shared moments of tranquility, good food, and the joy of reading.
343A Tompkins Ave—Bedford Stuyvesant
17. Books Are Magic
Embark on a literary journey where every end becomes a new beginning at Books Are Magic, a tale woven in the words of V.E. Schwab’s Sci-fi Fantasy fiction “Vengeful.” This charming story unfolds in the heart of Cobble Hill, where two bookshops shape the narrative of a community.
When BookCourt bid farewell, the literary void was transformed into a vibrant chapter by the renowned author Emma Straub. In 2017, she opened the flagship Books Are Magic, not just as a store but as a haven with two welcoming locations in Brooklyn. Step inside, and you will be greeted by the warmth of a cordial welcome, inviting book lovers into a friendly and peaceful reading space.
Beyond being a bookstore, Books Are Magic is a literary hub. It welcomes both amateur and celebrated writers to share their new releases, indulge in book reading sessions, and participate in free/low-cost literary events. The cozy atmosphere encourages the exchange of ideas, making every visit an enriching experience.
Do not miss their cool and funky merchandise—a vibrant array of tees, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, and accessories that add a touch of literary flair to your wardrobe. Books Are Magic is not just a store. It is a community, a space where stories are read, lived, celebrated, and shared.
So, come, be part of this cozy literary haven, where every page turns into a new adventure, and the magic of books unfolds in the heart of Brooklyn.
225 Smith Street—Gowanus
122 Montague Street—Brooklyn Heights
18. Greenlight Bookstore
Enter the captivating world of Greenlight Bookstore, an independent literary haven nestled in the heart of Fort Greene, the vibrant soul of Brooklyn. Greenlight Bookstore was founded in 2009 by Jessica Stockton Bagnulo and Rebecca Fitting. This is not just a store. It is a cozy refuge where literature intertwines with the cultural fabric of the city, driven by ethical values and a futuristic vision.
As you approach the storefront, the wide-reaching bright reading chambers beckon you inside. It is a warm invitation to explore the wealth of literary gems carefully curated for the neighborhood. Greenlight Bookstore extends its reach beyond the physical space, with kiosks at reputable cultural organizations meeting the ever-growing demand from readers afar, creating a literary connection that transcends distances.
Within its walls, Greenlight is more than a bookstore. It is a treasure trove of assorted rare finds, new fiction paperbacks, digital audiobooks, and the timeless allure of secondhand books. The venue comes alive with community-centric sessions, readings, and book-signing events throughout the year, turning each visit into an engaging and enriching experience.
Envision yourself in this cozy literary sanctuary, surrounded by the hum of passionate readers and the scent of well-loved books. Greenlight Bookstore is not just a place to find books. It is a cultural hub, a meeting ground for minds eager to explore, discuss, and celebrate the magic of literature. So, come, be part of this vibrant community, and let the pages of Greenlight Bookstore unfold stories of connection, discovery, and the enduring love for all things literary.
686 Fulton Street—Fort Greene
19. PowerHouse Arena
Step into the vibrant realm of PowerHouse Arena. Powerhouse is not just an independent publisher but a beacon of creativity in the fine arts, creative design, and photography. Founded by Daniel Power, this retail chain spans three prominent locations in the borough, with a zestful indie storefront in Dumbo that outshines many others in the city.
As you enter, you are welcomed into a beautiful book boutique and gallery adorned with wacky graphics and ornate crystal chandeliers. The ambiance is cozy, inviting, and oh-so-stylish. The expansive gridded glass windows frame scenic views of the East River, with iconic landmarks like the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, and Empire-Fulton Ferry Warehouse forming a breathtaking backdrop.
This is more than a bookstore. It is a community hub where ardent bookaholics and newbie readers alike are greeted with a warm welcome to attend exhibitions, gatherings, discussions, and more at the in-store event space. PowerHouse Arena has been the stage for prestigious book launch parties, conferences, and author readings by literary luminaries such as Pulitzer Prize-honored poet Tracy K. Smith, Salman Rushdie, T.C. Boyle, Paul Auster, Jennifer Egan, Julia Glass, and many others.
Picture yourself in this cozy literary haven, surrounded by the buzz of creative energy and the panoramic beauty of the Brooklyn waterfront. PowerHouse Arena is not just a place to find books. It is a cultural haven where stories come alive through art, discussions, and shared experiences. So, come, be part of this dynamic community, and let the pages of PowerHouse Arena unfold a story of creativity, connection, and the joy of exploring the arts.
28 Adams Street—Dumbo
20. Community Bookstore
Welcome to the heartwarming story of Community Bookstore, a literary haven founded in 1971 in the charming neighborhood of Park Slope by Susan and John Scioli. Their journey began with early success, fueled by the sale of The Whole Earth Catalogue, the iconic American counterculture magazine and product catalog created by Stewart Brand. Today, their legacy endures as they continue to thrive by offering the latest literary journals.
Step through the green awning and glass door entrance, and you will discover more than just books at Community Bookstore. It is a haven for pet lovers. The store embraces the exceptional by hosting cuddly animals within its premises, including cats, dogs, a bearded dragon lizard, and a rabbit. There is a unique joy in witnessing a cute cat perched on the new editions, adding a touch of coziness to the browsing experience.
Yet, beyond the furry companions and the inviting atmosphere, lies a tale of resilience. Community Bookstore, the oldest operating bookshop in Brooklyn, has weathered the storms of struggle, tasted the sweetness of success, faced moments of downfall, and experienced the spirit of regeneration. Initially, it stood as the sole literary treasure in the area, and in 1974, the Sciolis expanded their legacy with a new location on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights. Despite the challenges that led to the closure of the second location in 2016, Susan continued to nurture the Park Slope division, ensuring that the spirit of Community Bookstore lives on.
Envision yourself amidst the shelves, surrounded by books and the rich tapestry of history and perseverance. Community Bookstore is more than just a place to find literature. It is a living testament to the power of stories and the enduring spirit of a community-driven haven.
143 7th Avenue—Park Slope
21. Unnameable Books
Step into the literary oasis that is Unnamable Books. This bookstore is a haven founded in 2006 by Adam Tobin at 600 Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. Originally under a different name, a rebranding followed a friendly warning from Adams Book Company, leading to the birth of the Unnamable Books we know today.
Located at 615 Vanderbilt Avenue, this independent bookstore is a treasure trove, with piles of like-new used editions gracing the dollar cart and enticing new releases awaiting discovery. The shelves boast a splendid collection of poetry titles and releases from small local presses, creating a niche haven for literary enthusiasts.
What sets Unnamable Books apart is the monthly reading event, Feral Voices. This gathering is a superb platform for amateur writers and emerging talents to share their thoughts and creations. It is a welcoming space where new voices yet to be associated with leading publishing firms can showcase their work and be celebrated by the community.
Imagine yourself surrounded by the scent of well-loved books, browsing through hidden literary gems, and soaking in the vibrant energy of Feral Voices. Unnamable Books is not just a bookstore. It is a literary sanctuary where every page holds the potential for discovery, and every event unfolds a new chapter in the shared love for words.
So, come, be part of this cozy literary escape, where the pages of Unnamable Books transform into a canvas for creativity, community, and the joy of unearthing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
615 Vanderbilt Avenue—Prospect Heights
22. Freebird Books & Goods
Welcome to the charming world of Freebird Books & Goods, a hidden gem nestled on the picturesque Brooklyn waterfront. Founded in 2004 by Samantha Citrin and Rachel London. This cozy bookshop became a local treasure when it was acquired by Peter Miller in 2007. Miller, a dedicated local resident with a full-time job at a publishing firm, transforms this small haven into a weekend retreat for book lovers, open from 11 AM. to 8 PM.
Step inside, and you will discover more than just books; Freebird Books & Goods holds a special collection of science and technology books and boasts a notable array of literature delving into the rich history and culture of New York City. The shelves proudly showcase works by local authors and publishing houses, creating a haven for those who appreciate the literary heartbeat of the city, including gems from Archipelago and Ugly Duckling Presse, among others.
But Freebird Books is more than a bookstore. It is a community-driven institution with a heart for giving back. Its association with the non-profit initiative Books Through Bars extends a literary lifeline to prisoners across the country, offering them quality reading material.
As you explore the cozy nooks of Freebird Books, do not miss the homely café in the backyard. The café is a delightful space used for regular reading events and workshops. Imagine yourself sipping on a warm beverage, surrounded by the comforting embrace of books and the shared love for literature.
So, come, be part of this literary retreat, where every book has a story, and every reader finds a cozy corner to explore the pages of the extraordinary. Freebird Books & Goods is not just a store. It is a haven where the love for books transforms into a shared experience that lingers in the heart.
123 Columbia Street—Columbia Street Waterfront
23. McNally Jackson Books
McNally bookshops with in-house cafes were founded and owned by Sarah McNally, an ex-book editor at Basic Books, for the passion of offering curating reading material. Sarah is the daughter of Holly and Paul McNally, the founders of McNally Robinson Booksellers, the largest Canadian independent bookstore chain.
Sarah opened her first store in 2004 as another branch of McNally Robinson. After marrying Christopher Jackson [senior editor at Spiegel and Grau Publishing], she changed the shop name to McNally Jackson Books.
As of now, McNally Jackson has stores in five charming locations in New York. These stores depict versatility, driving book shoppers across multiple genres, from novels to non-fiction to children’s literature. For out-of-print works, reach out to their publishing imprint equipped with Espresso Book Machines to create paperback copies of previous editions.
This bookstore chain regularly holds book signings, author talkbacks, workshops, and virtual events for remote attendees. When long hours of reading on the lush sofa leave you yearning, enjoy their made-to-order sandwiches, luscious pastries, and coffee for refreshment.
445 Albee Square—Downtown Brooklyn
The Best Specialty Bookstore in The Bronx for Autumn Days in New York City
24. The Lit. Bar
Step into the warm embrace of The Lit. Bar, a beacon of literary and community revival in the Boogie Down Bronx. Noëlle Santos, a proud Bronx resident and Puerto Rican activist, took matters into her own hands, rescuing the community from the woeful closures of multiple bookstores. On April 27, 2019, she opened The Lit Bar, a haven commemorating National Indie Bookstore Day. It is a celebration of literature, community, and resilience.
True to its name, The Lit Bar is not just a bookstore. It is a cozy haven with an on-site wine bar, creating a unique blend of literary and social experiences. The ambiance is a graceful interplay of sparkling surroundings, bright chandeliers, and psychedelic decor that invites you to linger and explore.
Amidst the charm of clutter-free bookshelves, the show stealer is the assortment of themed titles that cater to diverse interests. Whether you are a fiction enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of poetry, The Lit Bar welcomes you with a curated collection that beckons frequent visits from local readers.
The Lit Bar is not just a place to find books. It is a poised venue where literature comes alive, and readers connect over shared stories. As you peruse the shelves, imagine spending time with fellow book enthusiasts, sipping on their specialty wine—a perfect blend of literary and sensory pleasures.
So, come, be part of this literary and social revival, where every book on the shelf holds a story, and the joy of shared conversations accompanies every sip of wine. The Lit Bar is more than a bookstore. It is a vibrant community center where the love for literature and the spirit of camaraderie intertwine in a cozy setting that feels like home.
131 Alexander Avenue—Bronx
Independent Bookstore in Queens for Autumn Days in New York City
25. Astoria Bookshop
Step into the welcoming embrace of Astoria Bookshop. It is an oasis of literary charm located at Lexi Beach in Western Queens. This solo indie bookstore, founded in 2013, is a testament to the diverse interests and age groups that gather under its roof, making it a cherished recommendation for readers of all kinds.
As you explore the aisles, you will find a wall-to-wall stock that spans different genres, cleverly organized into themed collections for the discerning lit geeks among us. Whether you are searching for children’s books, engaging puzzles, or thought-provoking non-fiction, Astoria Bookshop offers an enticing array that beckons returning guests with each visit.
The expert staff, fueled by boundless energy, is always delighted to assist enthusiasts in discovering the next literary gem. Their valued suggestions not only guide your choices but also transform each visit into a personalized literary journey. And do not forget the goodies. They make thoughtful gifts that add an extra touch of warmth to your reading experience.
Astoria Bookshop goes beyond being a bookstore. It is a community hub where like-minded readers connect through book clubs. Where they harness their literary skills and shared interests, it is also a vibrant platform for local writers to showcase their talent through reading sessions, discussions, and events.
For those at a distance, Astoria Bookshop extends its literary reach through online events and the convenience of ordering books on its official website. So, whether you step through its doors or join virtually, Astoria Bookshop invites you to be part of a cozy literary community. It is where every page turned is a shared experience and every event is an opportunity to celebrate the magic of books.
36-19 30th Street—Queens [Astoria]
On a Final Note,
For me embracing the warmth of a good print book is not just a pastime. It is like unlocking a treasure chest of wisdom, nurturing my well-being, and fostering personal growth. With each page turned, I absorb knowledge, unwind, and embark on adventures. All while enjoying the cozy embrace of a good book. The best part? It is a pastime that spans generations, from the youngest bookworms to the seasoned enthusiasts.
No matter where you are on your reading journey, the charming book nooks of New York City beckon. And the highly knowledgeable sellers at these cozy bookstores are there to guide you with a sweet smile and a friendly gesture. They transform the process of buying a book into a delightful experience. Ensuring you find the perfect companion for your reading adventures.
So, whether you are a seasoned bookworm or just starting, age is no barrier to the joy of reading. Let the pages of a good book transport you to new worlds, and may your reading journey be filled with warmth, joy, and the companionship of wonderful stories.
So, here is to the joy of reading, the comfort of well-loved pages, and the enduring allure of cozy bookstores. Cheers, and may your reading adventures be as enriching as they are delightful! Happy reading!