Strand Kiosks

Reminiscent of the green wooden bouquinist stands that line the Left Bank in Paris, the Strand Kiosks at Central Park offer a nice selection of used & reduced-price new books to take strolling down the leafy colonnade of Poet's Lane, or on your rowboat in The Lake. The kiosks are open May through October, weather permitting. Plus: They even take credit cards, thanks to hand held machines also reminiscent of Paris restaurants.

Barnes & Noble- Union Square

In many parts of the country, a big chain store like Barnes & Noble seems like a bland, monolithic mall store, stomping out the charming little guys with overblown, cookie-cutter architecture and ever-changing, minimally book-wise staff. But here in New York, it's nice to be able to do a little one-stop shopping sometimes. B&N started in New York & it kinda feels like the hometown spot; it suits the scale and demands of New York, offers free same day delivery in Manhattan, and, with locations going out of business all over the city, it almost feels like an underdog these days. For those who turn their noses up at huge chain stores like Barnes and Noble, read this. Those who can see the value will enjoy the massive cast iron columns, 4 floors of books (not a matter of a narrow space, each floor is sprawling), and generous "sit down anywhere on the floor" policy that gives it a distinctly casual air. Plus: Some of the biggest author readings anywhere.

Urban Center Books

Located in the leafy courtyard premises of the Villard Houses (the storied, long-time home of publishers Random House), Urban Center Books is a jewel box of books and journals on architecture and design. Stacked to the ceilings with nearly impossible to find titles, this airy, be-laddered shop turns browsing into a visual education. Plus: Urban Center events will put you at the center of discussion on architectural matters in the city.

Mid-Manhattan Library Book Sale

If you show up to the Mid-Manhattan branch of the NYPL about ten minutes to 11 on a weekday, you'll notice a long line of people waiting to get into the Book Sale section of the library. If you come back the next day at the same time, you'll see the same people. In a word: dealers. And why not? Hardcovers are $2.00, paperbacks 75 cents and the selection is pretty quality. These aren't ex-library books either (for the most part), they are almost entirely donated. This was found there recently for $4, to give you an idea. There, the cat's out of the bag. Let's just hope the dealers aren't too angry now. Plus: The volunteer staff are always a treat!

*another one bites the dust...

Skyline Books

While their massive neighbor has shuttered its windows, Skyline continues toward the 20 year mark, "offering the book-buying public everything from inexpensive, second-hand reading copies of their favorite classics to high-end, rare, signed, and out-of-print titles."
If you're looking an atmosphere and inventory strong on Beat lit., this is your place.
Plus: Looking for some hard-to-find jazz vinyl to go with your Kerouac first edition? Academy Records & CDs is across the street, where you can chat with grade A music nerds about the strengths and weaknesses of various 50's sound engineers.

Street Vendors- 72nd St.

The section of Broadway between 72nd and 73rd Streets is one long stretch of street book vendors. The abolishment of categories at vendor tables always makes for some interesting juxtapositions of books, like a library set to "Shuffle". Plus: Who knows? you might even find a Barbra Streisand record. What could feel more New York than that?

Books of Wonder

Books of Wonder
is New York City's oldest and largest independent children's bookstore, as well as the city's leading specialist in children's literature both new and old. They feature a gallery of rare and original prints and illustrations from classic children's books in the back of the store, along with a beautiful assortment of vintage kid's books. Plus: The in-house Cupcake Cafe provides the preferred stimulants for all ages: caffeine for parents and frosting for the kids!

Twelfth Street Books

Descend the few steps from the pavement into the nearly underground heaven of Twelfth Street Books, and you, you lucky person, will find a selection that is chosen with an eye for quality, unashamedly scholarly and (even more rare) well-priced. Those with a special fondness for bookstores so full that the books lay in rows and stacks on the floor (we know who we are) are in for a special treat here, where a lovely overflow spills out all over the place. Plus: 12th St. now has bags!