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A Few Great Independent Bookstores


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All of these stores are located in New York City.


Rizzoli Bookstore: The Most Beautiful Bookstore in New York” this is their tag line, but you know what—I agree.  The store is spectacular.  It is located at 31 West 57th Street, between 5th and 6th Avenues, in New York City.  After looking at the books in this store you truly understand why physical books can never go away.  One of the joys of being in NYC is that I can walk there in under an hour, walking virtually the entire way through central park.  The video, by the way, does not do the store justice.



Strand Book Store, New York City's legendary home of 18 Miles of new, used and rare books. Since 1927.  I'm often in this store—usually selling books nowadays but I often went to this store as a kid as there used book prices books I would not normally by accessible.  This is one of those humongous bookstore that you can wander around it for hours.  There was an article in the in my local paper which said this store made more money on December 23rd that any other day in it's 80 year history!  They did not say how much.  But trust me, I'm sure  the figure was more than many other independent bookstores make in an entire year.



McNally Jackson Books, 52 Prince Street, New York City.  McNally Jackson is the newest of the three stores mentioned and is less than 10 years old.  Being relatively new it does not have the character of the first two stores I mentioned, but it is a solid bookstore with all the trappings of a modern store, a cafe, Wifi, etc. “Jackson,” is a Brother, who used to live across the street from me.  It does no appear he is still associated with the store


I could not find an official promotional video for McNally Jackson, like the other stores, so instead of using using someone else's video, I used one I shot during a reading Victor LaValle gave from his novel Big Machine back in 2009




I'm sure someone is wondering why I'm “Big Upping” these stores since they are not Black owned.  Well I need a respite from griping about all the Black owned independent closing and struggling.  Plus I feel like I'm the only one complaining and I need to talk about some positive things—it is good for the soul.


This site is about books and each of these stores are all terrific in their own, unique ways.  Besides as majority owned stores prosper I have to believe that bodes well for a well run Black owned store in the near future...right?


I could have very easily did this for Washington D.C., one of my other favorite book cities in the country. 

What is your favorite bookstore?  If it is Black owned please check to see if it is in my database -- if not I will add it.

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Richard, while fiscal management is always important, every bookstore's situation is different.  From my observations poor fiscal management does not explain the entire story when looking at the relative success of a bookstores in general and the demise of Black owned indie stores in particular.


For example McNally Jackson was started by Sarah McNally who parents ran the largest book store chain in Canada, McNally Robinson (a photo of the inside of the one of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan stored is pictured below).  As a result, New York City's McNally Jackson started with experience, resources, connections and expertise few other bookstores start with.  As a result, the have room to experiment and take chances that others stores can not afford.  The can also withstand deeper shocks the the economy that most other bookstores can't matter how well they are run.


Rizzoli Bookstore is housed in an expensive piece of real estate, in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country. It is beyond me how a bookstore can cover the overhead of even the physical plant.  I see from their website they also run a publishing company so that may explain it but clearly.  But clearly something else is going on to keep that bookstore running.




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