I have seen many bookstores all over the world but none of them comes close to The Strand Bookstore. I usually make it my goal wherever I am in this beautiful world to find the bookstores in town and just browse along. When I just moved to Manhattan I walked the city which I think is the best way to discover new things in town. Cab and subway is okay but walking beats it all. And I walked Manhattan, believe me it was the best. I discovered so many awesome restaurants, stores, thrift/vintage stores, café’s you name it. I wrote the addresses down as I walked by or checked the location out right then and there. Sometimes I came back a couple of days later. It was a great adventure and somewhat challenge. I lived in New Jersey before duh! So back to Manhattan: One Saturday morning I packed my bag and started walking downtown to explore the East and West Village. I ended up in front of The Strand Bookstore because I got somewhat lost after taking some wrong turns.
As soon as you get there you see many books placed nicely on bookshelves around the store. These are mostly very cheap, used and some even for free. Browsing through all those was taking me forever and I found a bunch of books that interested me right there and then. I decided to go in to see these 18 miles of books as they advertise on their logo.
As soon as you walk in you find a multitude of books in diverse topics that are nicely placed on large tables right at the entrance. One table for example was labeled “The best of the best” – or “New Fiction and New Non-fiction”. At the entrance are the cashiers and this is also where you pick up your pre-ordered books. Next to the register they have all sort of stationary and gifts with the Strand bookstore logo printed on. Cups, pens, pencils, stickers, t-shirts, bags you name it. And yes, I always purchase something from this section of the store as well – usually pens or a little notebook. Guilty as charged. As you walk further all you see is bookshelves from floor to ceiling. You can only reach the books on top with a ladder.
You do have to have patience sometimes because there are a lot of people in it. It does not even matter when you go there. I have been there last on a Friday afternoon and it was packed. However, I was there on a Monday afternoon and it was quite the same. People are just walking through the isles and then suddenly stop and stare in awe at some books. Sometimes I just do the same – sucking in this atmosphere of awesomeness. If you are a book lover you know what I mean. 😉
There is an information desk all the way down the isle and they are very helpful. I never experienced any rudeness or attitude and believe me, Strand bookstore could have been my second address. Some of my friends suggested I put my mailbox at the entrance of the store.
Usually browsing along is just great if you have a lot of time and you will find what you are looking for on your own. There are stairs and an elevator to access the three floors. (One floor in the basement and two upper floors).
I love that you can find pretty much everything you are seeking, used and new and also a good selection of discounted books. The bookstore is great to visit with kids! On the top floor is the kids-section with many possibilities to sit down and read or discover new books with them. The restrooms are also on the top floor.
So if you are a book nerd like me you have to check out this bookstore whenever you are in New York. Their selection is amazing. Definitely a New York must-see! If you are loaded with bags once you come in make sure to use their “free bag-check in” at the entrance. This way you can enjoy the bookstore without additional weight.
Enjoy book nerds!
(My title picture shows what I purchased on Friday!)