A guide to the city's remaining independent bookstores

Bookstores are a dying breed in NYC. While a great new one pops up every so often, independent bookstores like the formerly beloved St. Mark's Bookshop have been forced to shutter thanks to rising rents and the popularity of things like e-readers and online mega retailers.

While ordering your next good read from a major rainforest-dot com with overnight shipping may be easy, nothing replaces the experience of picking out a book from a physical shelf.

Check out some of NYC's thriving independent bookstores for reading recommendations, literary events and awesome community spaces.

This small West Village bookstore lures in pedestrians off Bleecker Street with its outside table of discount books, often including former bestsellers, cookbooks and children's books. Inside, more big sales including 20 percent off hardcovers and Moleskine notebooks are almost a Greenwich Village anomaly. The shop's small size makes finding a book manageable and knowledgeable staff can certainly help with recommendations. (266 Bleecker St., 212-807-8655, bookbooknyc.com) (Credit: Bookbook via Facebook)

This bilevel SoHo bookstore is home to countless books, both popular fiction and nonfiction titles and more obscure literature. An attached cafe offers fresh salads, sandwiches, pastries and coffee in a literary, WiFi-free ambiance. McNally Jackson hosts events almost every night on the lower level, from book talks to author discussions and signings. The bookstore also prints indie books on its own printing press, with titles available for browsing or purchase. (52 Prince St., 212-274-1160, mcnallyjackson.com) (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

New to ever-popularizing Ridgewood in 2015, Topos Bookstore Cafe has a quaint feel, packed with used copies of popular novels, out-of-print editions and plenty of books in French, Spanish, German and more languages. The cash-only cafe is also without WiFi, to keep you reading and snacking on pastries or actually engaging in conversation. (788 Woodward Ave., Ridgewood, 347-927-5680, toposbookstore.com) (Credit: Topos Bookstore Cafe via Facebook)



After closing its original West Village location in late 2014 -- yes, rising rents are to blame -- Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks relocated to the East Village, where the shop continues to display and sell an impressive variety of vintage, rare and international cookbooks. Even if you're not in the market for a new cookbook, you're pretty much destined to want to buy something here. (28 E. Second St., 212-989-8962, bonnieslotnickcookbooks.com) (Credit: Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks )

This small Greenpoint bookstore becomes a destination almost every night of the week, when they host author readings, book clubs, writing workshops, comedy events and more. You'll find mostly contemporary fiction, nonfiction and cookbooks here, along with a nice selection of handmade cards and NYC gifts. In 2014, WORD launched a second location in Jersey City, so maybe they're onto something we're not quite up to yet. (126 Franklin St., Brooklyn, 718-383-0096, wordbookstores.com) (Credit: WORD Brooklyn via Facebook)

Staffed entirely by volunteers, this collectively owned and run bookstore specializes in feminist, queer and activist materials, in fiction, poetry, academic texts and self-published zines. Bluestockings' fair trade cafe sells locally made bagels and pastries along with coffee drinks and offers a seating area for quiet reading or weekly events including book clubs, community-sourced lessons and a knitting circle. (172 Allen St., 212-777-6028, bluestockings.com) (Credit: Bluestockings Bookstore, Café, & Activist Center via Facebook)

Often referred to as The Strand by local and visiting book lovers alike, this may be New York's most famous bookstore. The tri-level shop offers new, used and rare books, with many popular titles at a discount. The venue also hosts frequent author nights, children's events and even literary speed dating! And yes, we have some Secrets of The Strand for you too. (828 Broadway, 212-473-1452, strandbooks.com) (Credit: Strand Books)

This much-beloved West Village bookstore has been dubbed, "One of the greatest bookstores on the face of the Earth," by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham and countless New Yorkers would agree. This community reading room is much more than a bookshop, though you'll find everything from contemporary fiction to obscure artsy books in this iconic corner bookshop. (154 W. 10th St., 212-741-2069, threelives.com) (Credit: arwcheek1 via Flickr (CC BY-SA) )



Buyer's remorse is pretty much impossible at this SoHo bookstore: all book are donated to this volunteer-run venue and profits benefit the organization's efforts to provide lifesaving services to New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Funds help provide housing, healthcare, job training, counseling, advocacy and other crucial services to New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS, who are homeless or struggling to become stable in their health, a store spokesperson explained. Find a selection of mainstream books along with rare materials. In back, a cafe serves coffee, light fare as well as wine and beer and WiFi is free. Nightly events including readings, screenings, performances and more. (126 Crosby St., 212-334-3324, housingworks.org/bookstore) (Credit: Housing Works Bookstore Cafe via Facebook)

This Brooklyn neighborhood bookstore is home to an excellent selection of contemporary fiction, cookbooks, children's books and more, just browsing here can take up an afternoon. BookCourt has been selling bestsellers since 1981, but it will close at the end of this year, the owners announced in early December. (163 Court St., 718-875-3677, bookcourt.com) (Credit: BookCourt via Facebook)

Open since October 2009, Greenlight was the product of Brooklyn book lovers who wanted to bring a great literary business to Fort Greene. In addition to carrying a wide variety of books, Greenlight has a first editions club for subscribers to enjoy new books, produces a twice monthly podcast, hosts daily events and organizes book fairs in the neighborhood. (686 Fulton St., 718-246-0200, greenlightbookstore.com) (Credit: Greenlight Bookstore via Facebook)

One of Queens' only independent bookstores, The Astoria Bookshop sells mainstream titles and some quirkier books. A neighborhood staple to avoid buying new books from an online mega-seller, the 31st St. store also has an e-commerce website, for special orders or shipping. Events including book clubs, writing workshops and author talks. (31-29 31st St., Queens, 718-278-2665, astoriabookshop.com) (Credit: The Astoria Bookshop )

Once adjacent to the literary and writer-packed Verb cafe, this bookstore on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg is a reminder of the neighborhood pre-2015. Selling a wide selection of literary magazines, popular news novels and plenty of used books at good prices, Spoonbill is easy to navigate and a pretty sure spot to find your next good read. The shop also has plenty of independently published titles and rare editions. (218 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, 718-387-7322, spoonbillbooks.com) (Credit: Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers via Facebook)



Open since 1978, this Carnegie Hill bookshop is a neighborhood staple. Children's and young adult books are prominent here, with children's "expense accounts" being a notable tenant of the store. Young readers can also sign up to read and review advance copies from publishers and contribute their literary criticism to the The Corner Bookstore's newsletter. Contemporary adult reads as well as classics are also available here, with readings and author events several nights a week. (131 Madison Ave., Manhattan, 212-831-3554, cornerbookstorenyc.com) (Credit: The Corner Bookstore )

Wanderlust can be fulfilled at this international bookshop focusing on world travel and languages. Find books for adults and children in a variety of different translations and languages as well as travel guides to help you find wherever you'd like to go. To prepare you for your upcoming trip, Idlewild also offers 8-week sessions of French, Spanish, German, Italian and Arabic classes for all levels. 12 W. 19th St. and 249 Warren St., Brooklyn, 212-414-8888, idlewildbooks.com (Credit: Idlewild Bookshop via Facebook)

For academic textbooks and plenty of leisurely reading materials, Book Culture is a book lover's ideal destination. Vendors (and buyers!) of new and used books, gifts for the literary obsessed and plenty of ephemera evocative of the culture of books, spending hours in one of Book Culture's stores is not difficult. A $49 per year membership gets shoppers 10 percent off every purchase. 536 West 112th St., 2915 Broadway and 450 Columbus Ave., bookculture.com (Credit: Book Culture via Facebook)

One of New York's newest bookstores is dedicated to all things delicious and literary. Archestratus, named for the ancient Greek poet and food lovers, carries cookbooks, food memoirs, vintage culinary collections and more. In addition to functioning as a new and used bookstore, Archestratus also has a cafe in the back and hosts events, cookbook clubs and more. 160 Huron St., Greenpoint, archestrat.us (Credit: Archestratus Books & Foods)

Identified as a bookstore and community space, this Williamsburg shop is backed with used books! Boasting the best collection of used literary fiction in the city, here you'll find plenty of classic and contemporary novels to enjoy and perhaps even sell back. Reading, screenings and more take place in the literature-focused space. 100 N. 3rd St., Brooklyn, bookthugnation.com (Credit: garrettziegler via Flickr (CC BY-SA))




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