New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Indie Bookstores Rising

Against all odds, a small army of neighborhood bookshops has arrived.

ShareThis

New York’s independent bookshops were supposed to be long gone by now. After a decade of slow financial strangulation at the hands of the big-box stores, the web, the Kindle, and, finally, the recession, the fact that there are still Strands and McNally Jacksons standing seems positively miraculous. And while recent years have seen the shuttering of such well-loved stores as Gotham Book Mart and Madison Avenue Bookshop, we are suddenly, unexpectedly in the midst of an indie-bookstore renaissance. The past year alone has seen the arrival of Fort Greene’s instantly beloved Greenlight Bookstore, Williamsburg’s Book Thug Nation, Dyker Heights’s Boulevard Books, and Mast on the Lower East Side, among others (see the full lineup here).

Contributing to the resurgence is the local-is-better ethos, which has bled over from the culinary and fashion worlds, causing readers to crave a more human-scale shopping experience. And the specter of a world without indie bookshops has inspired a new, perhaps quixotic generation of entrepreneurs to jump in. The new booksellers bring a modern approach to the business: In place of the dusty riots of yore are more curated, well-lit shops that emphasize personal service and community—book clubs, readings, charity projects, and even the occasional lit-geek basketball league.

Life Swap-O-MaticCover to Cover
The new (and renewed) guard of indie bookstores.
Life Swap-O-MaticBook-o-nomics
So how is the bookshop business, really?
Cubicle LoftsWhere the Pros Go
New York authors’ favorite indies.
Cubicle LoftsGot Any Buddhist Police Procedurals?
A bookshop for every taste.
Life Swap-O-MaticBound for Your Bedstand
Booksellers recommend their most anticipated titles.
Cubicle LoftsSeller’s Market
What you'll get for previously loved titles.


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising