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The Drama Bookshop| © The Drama Bookshop
The Drama Bookshop| © The Drama Bookshop

10 Specialty Bookstores In NYC

Picture of Nicole Saraniero
Updated: 4 November 2016
Whip up a soufflé, cast a spell, or start a revolution! Books have the power to teach and transport us, and these ten one-of-a-kind bookstores in New York City will give you the tools to complete any task or adventure you choose. We profile ten must-visit specialty bookstores in NYC.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

Looking for a recipe that is sure to impress guests at your next dinner party or just something new to spice up your culinary repertoire? Check out the selection of out-of-print and antiquarian books at Bonnie Slotnick’s Cookbooks. Ms. Slotnick has been selling books for 18 years and recently moved her collection from its original West Side residence to a larger location on the East Side. This bookshop is dog-friendly and features comfy seating amongst decorative vintage kitchen supplies and a backyard garden to enjoy as you flip through pages of recipes, housekeeping tips, and rules of etiquette. Not a cook? Visit for the welcoming, homey atmosphere and truly unique collection of rare books Ms. Slotnick has cultivated. Ms. Slotnick’s love of books is apparent in her dedication to her collection and support of other local bookstores, which she lists on her website.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks, 28 East Second Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 989 8962

Image Courtsey of Bonnie Slotnick CookBooks

Image Courtsey of Bonnie Slotnick CookBooks

Singularity & Co.

‘Save the sci-fi!’ That’s the mission statement of Brooklyn-based bookstore Singularity & Co. Stemming from a campaign to save vintage sci-fi books by turning them into e-books, this store sells vintage sci-fi, fantasy, and pulp ‘awesomeness,’ including books, t-shirts, tote bags, jewelry and more in store and online. If you can’t decide which book to buy, or if you want an introduction to the vintage sci-fi and pulp world, try a ‘book bomb.’ Singularity Co.’s ‘book bombs’ are hand-picked groupings of books ranging in topics from ‘how to be a super secret agent’ to ‘demonic pets,’ and each ‘bomb’ is aimed at exposing readers to something new. The store is open from noon to 7pm, Wednesday through Sunday.

Singularity & Co., 18 Bridge Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 347 460 7724



Bluestockings is perhaps New York City’s most-socially conscious bookshop. Founded in 1999 as a feminist bookstore and event space for women, Bluestockings has expanded its political scope over the past 16 years. This collectively owned LES shop and activist center is run by volunteers and features a fair-trade café, which serves organic and vegan foods and some ‘darn good’ coffee. The shop website states that its mission is to ’empower all people…in creating a society which is equitable, cooperative, and free.’ The book selection caters to this mission by focusing on books ‘about oppression, intersectionality, community organizing, and activism.’ This wheel-chair accessible safe space also hosts readings, workshops, performances, and other events posted on the shop’s events calendar. Wholly dedicated to serving the community, Bluestockings also offers resources for finding help with everything, from domestic abuse to budget grocery shopping.

Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 777 6028

Bluestockings| © Maria Herron

Bluestockings| © Maria Herron

Catland Books

If you are looking to tap into your magical powers, stop by Catland Books to stock up on metaphysical wares. Catering to mystics of all sorts, this Buschwick bookstore and event space specializes in ‘high-quality talismanic texts both new and old’ as well as supplies such as candles, crystals, oils, and tarot cards. If you need assistance crafting that perfect spell, set up an appointment with one of Catland’s in-house magicians. They also have a roster of readers available, for some psychic guidance. Catland hosts a variety of events, ranging from seminars on archetypes in astrology to open mic nights for mystic poets. The bookshop is open Sunday through Thursday from noon to 8pm, and Friday and Saturday noon to 9pm.

Catland Books, 987 Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 418 9393

Image Courtesy of Catland Books

Image Courtesy of Catland Books

Printed Matter

Founded in 1976, Printed Matter is a non-profit organization that offers a diverse array of artists the opportunity to have their books distributed. With hundreds of new titles flowing into this Chelsea storefront each month, Printed Matter offers a large selection of books, zines, posters, audio-works and out of print material from contemporary artists. This shop, at home among galleries and other arts non-profits, also host exhibitions, book launches, talks and performances, as well as other events that support the arts community. Stop by Monday through Wednesday or Saturday from 11am to 7pm, or Thursday through Friday 11am to 8pm.

Printed Matter 231, 11th Avenue, New York, NY, USA +1 212 925 0325

Printed Matter| © Azikiwe Mohammed

Printed Matter| © Azikiwe Mohammed

Drama Bookshop

Next year will mark a major milestone for The Drama Bookshop. In 2017, this theater district store will celebrate 100 years of serving the textual needs of thespians and theater enthusiasts alike. The Drama Bookshop offers an extensive selection of plays, biographies, and other theatre industry-related texts. Recently, the store received a lot of attention thanks to a shout-out from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award-winning writer and star of Broadway’s musical hip-hop hit, Hamilton. After a burst pipe caused damage to the storefront and part of the inventory, Miranda showed his support for the shop (where he says he wrote most of his Tony Award-winning play, In the Heights) on Twitter. In 2011, the theatre community expressed its love and appreciation to The Drama Bookshop by awarding the store a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre.

 The Drama Bookshop, 250 West 40th Street #1, New York, NY, USA +1 212 944 0595

Image Courtsey of Drama Bookshop

Image Courtesy of Drama Bookshop

Berl’s Poetry Shop

As Berl’s Poetry Shop evolved from a booth at the Brooklyn Flea Market to a brick storefront in DUMBO, the mission of husband and wife team Jared White and Farrah Field has remained the same — to create a space where art and creativity are celebrated and customers are exposed to the wonderful world of poetry. As New York City’s only all-poetry bookstore, Berl’s covers the whole field, offering selections in chapbooks, illustrated children’s poetry, conceptual, small press anthologies, and more. At Berl’s, customers can find handmade books, meet poets, and hear readings. The store is open Wednesday through Saturday from 2pm to 7pm.

Berl’s Poetry Shop, 126A Front Street, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 347 687 2375

Berl's Poetry Shop |© Jefffrey Brandsted

Berl’s Poetry Shop | © Jefffrey Brandsted

Revolution Books

At its new home in Harlem, Revolution Books serves as a center of ‘discovery and engagement.’ The inventory of Revolution Books urges customers to look at the world from a new perspective through thousands of works of literature and texts about history, science, art, philosophy, and revolutionary theory. The store hosts over 100 events a year, including author readings, panels, film screenings, open mics, concerts, and discussions aimed at inspiring attendees to take action. Start a revolution daily from noon to 9pm.

Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY, USA +1 212 691 3345

Image Courtesy of Revolution Books

Image Courtesy of Revolution Books

Namaste Bookshop

It’s easy to find your center at Namaste Bookshop. With a book selection that includes texts on Buddhism, yoga, and meditation alongside items such as aromatherapy oils and bath salts and music, this store has all the supplies you need for a night of self-discovery and relaxation. Above the bookstore is the Healing Center, where book signings, classes, and workshops such as ‘Awakening Your Inner Fire’ are held. To maintain an ongoing connection with your inner self, join Namaste’s Spiritual Book Club, which meets every month to discuss a new book.

Namaste Bookshop, 2 West 14th Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 645 0141


Chartwell Booksellers

Chartwell Booksellers shares the name Chartwell with Winston Churchill’s home in England’s Kent countryside – a nod to this Midtown bookstore’s subject matter. Chartwell Booksellers sells books by and about Churchill, his speeches, biographies, rare books, paintings, and texts signed by the man himself. Churchill, who won a Nobel Prize in literature, was a prolific writer, and Chartwell’s carries first editions of all 42 of his books, as well as an original copy of the world’s most expensive book by Churchill. While the Churchill collection is the main attraction here, the store also offers rare books on jazz, photography, fiction, and the military, and exhibitions are held in an adjoining gallery. Store hours are Monday through Friday 10am to 6pm.

Chartwell Booksellers, 55 East 52nd Street, New York, NY, USA +1 212 308 0643