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Literature lover? Lose yourself between the stacks and shelves of New York’s best bookshops. Featuring iconic emporiums and gem-like stores, our ultimate guide lets you in on where to indulge in the latest fiction or source that niche title you’ve been hankering after.

Strand Bookstore

A book lover’s mecca, the Strand has to top any New York bookshop list worth the (virtual) ink with which it’s written. Reputed for containing 18 miles of books, it sells rare and collectible volumes, as well as out-of-print editions – think Tolkien and Homer – for die-hard readers. Beyond the limited editions, the Strand has books on virtually every topic, and hosts books readings and signings regularly. “Books by the Foot” is a Strand specialty, in which the store curates your dream collection based on theme, colour and format.

McNally Jackson

McNally is a cult favourite among New York City’s cool crowd. With fashion and art books galore, hard-to-find magazines and gorgeously bound French classics (as well as its own printing press), the shop is a bookworm’s dream come true. The best part? Its three locations are scattered across prime real estate, including Nolita (which has a café), Williamsburg and LaGuardia Airport for when you forgot to buy reading materials for your flight.

Idlewild Books

Nestled on a quintessentially West Village corner, Idlewild is one of the SUITCASE team’s favourites, given that its sole focus is travel. Selling city guides, language tomes and travel-based novels, it’s a must for keen globetrotters and armchair travellers alike – and the perfect spot to pick up your next aeroplane companion. In addition to bookselling, the shop offers language classes, so you can brush up on your French, Spanish or Brazilian Portuguese before your next trip.

Dashwood Books

This specialty photography bookshop is on one of the city’s most photogenic streets. Stop in to check out tomes on Peter Lindbergh, Jonathan Becker and Slim Aarons – you won’t be able to stop yourself from stocking up on a pile of them, even if they’re not the easiest to lug around during a day of exploring. Once you’re finished in the store, cross cobbled Bond Street to The Smile and order an oat milk cappuccino to sip on as you flip through your new purchases on the bench outside.

Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks

Neighbouring stores that sell homewares, cake platters and dainty teacups, this cookbook shop is in the right locale for budding master chefs and home cooks. Dip into this pocket-sized downstairs store to flip through recipes for all manner of events and cuisines.. Many are secondhand and special editions, giving them a pre-loved feeling (sometimes with handwritten notes jotted in the corners of pages) that will make even the most barren twenty-something’s apartment feel more homely.

Assouline at The Four Seasons

Assouline – the authority on coffee table books – has several New York City locations, but our favourite has got to be their brand-new location in the Four Seasons on the Upper East Side. Not only does it feature the brand’s wide-ranging collection of travel, fashion and sport-related titles, but the sleek shop also serves up some serious inspiration for curating your own library. Chock-full of objets d’art including candles and bookends, it’s a great spot for sourcing gifts (whether they’re for yourself or others). Assouline also does custom library design, making it a go-to for homeowners and interior decorators.

The Mysterious Bookshop

For readers hooked on thriller and crime genres, The Mysterious Bookshop is your poison. With floor-to-ceiling stacks reminiscent of Ollivanders wand shop in Harry Potter, the store’s decor is perfectly suited to its hair-raising stock. The Tribeca institution is also the oldest mystery bookshop in America, making it a fascinating spot to check out in and of itself (even for those who prefer chick lit to murder scenes).

Bluestockings

A collectively owned, self-declared radical bookshop, Bluestockings is a one-of-a-kind Lower East side treasure. Taking its name from the 18th-century Blue Stockings Society – a social and educational movement pioneered by women – this shop is run by volunteers and carries activist literature topics ranging from feminism to the environment. The in-store fair-trade café is fantastic, offering organic, vegan dishes and a lovely environment in which to dive into your new purchases.

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