It wasn’t too long ago that chain bookstores were putting smaller more independent bookstores out of business. For a while it was all Borders and Barnes & Noble, and the shuttering of mom and pops. But with the explosion of online retailers (that put the big guns out of biz), came a turn of the tide for the independent. People looking for ‘real’ bookstores, people who wanted to turn real pages, started to come around again (some never stopped).
The resurgence of the independent bookseller is now—and here’s a quick list of spots that deserve a visit.
New York: McNally Jackson
On Prince Street in Nolita this neighborhood favorite is a glowing example of the independent. There’s plenty space to read. The staff makes spot-on suggestions and provides well-thought out blurbs to help the fence-sitting decide. And there are often readings, just in case you’re more in the listening mood.
Los Angeles: The Last Bookstore
Located on the ground floor of the Spring Arts Tower downtown, the Last Bookstore is a mix of old and new covers. At their Buy Counter your can sell and trade your own lightly thumbed pages 7 days a week. The layout is sprawling (it’s in an old bank), with cozy couches and dim lighting. And hundred of fresh books are put into circulation each day.
San Francisco: Green Apple Books
City Lights, which first opened its doors in 1953 and famously hosted the onslaught of Beat Poets, is probably the most well known of SF indies. It’s totally worth a mention, but Green Apple Books on Clement St. in the Inner Richmond is one the last great bookstores still thriving. It’s been around for almost 4 decades, and with it’s massive selection and knowledgeable staff you are bound to find just want you need.