This article introduces 10 top indie bookstores in Brooklyn and the surrounding area. Read on to learn about them!
Opened in 1971 by John Scioli, the Community Bookstore (and its sister store, Terrace Books) provides a sense of adventure in discovering your next new book. Since Stephanie Valdez and Ezra Goldstein bought the store in 2010, Community Bookstore has become known for its large volume of books on nearly every topic imaginable, but also for its famous cat, Tiny, who has been featured on the cover of magazines in Japan.
Community Bookstore is also known for their author events and book discussions focusing on local interests. They also have a monthly subscription club for both adults and children. Contact them at either of their locations to see what new or new-to-them books they have in stock!
The Bookmark Shoppe, opened in 2002 and now located in the Bay Ridge area of Brooklyn, stocks a plethora of books and book-related merchandise for bibliophiles and book loving novices alike. They carry independent best-sellers and new releases, from both the adult and children’s genres.
The Bookmark Shoppe is also known for their eclectic events as they host more than just book signings and author meet-and-greets; they also host multicultural demonstrations and community events. Contact them to see how to stop by next time you’re in the Bay Ridge area.
Opened in 2004 by Samantha Citrin and Rachel London and located on the Brooklyn waterfront, Freebird Books focuses on books related to the history and unique culture of New York. Since Peter Miller took over in 2007, the shop is only open on weekends but provides the local community with a space to meet and discuss whatever is on their minds.
Even with their limited opening hours, Freebird Books also stays involved in the community through their events, which include author signings, book launches, poetry readings, and social justice discussions. Contact them for more information on when they are open and what is next on their social calendar.
Opened in 2009 by Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore has been providing the Brooklyn community with a place to not only purchase carefully selected books but also non-book merchandise such as stationary, toys, journals, and other gifts.
Greenlight Bookstore is also known for the events they host at their two locations on Fulton Street and Flatbush Avenue: among the normal author discussions and book signings, Greenlight Bookstore also hosts community activism talks, lecture series, and children’s literacy clubs. Contact them if you want to find out how to check them out next time you’re in Brooklyn.
Located in Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 1999, Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers are known for their new, used, and rare collections of books on or about the arts, such as contemporary art, literature and literary criticism, philosophical concepts, and design. They also carry books for the general public, although not nearly as many titles.
Spoonbill & Sugartown, Booksellers also provides the Williamsburg area with events for local and national authors alike. Contact them to see if they have what you’re looking for or learn how to donate your own secondhand books to their store.
Unnameable Books opened in the Prospect Heights area of Brooklyn in 2006 and has been providing the local area with the more lesser-known authors and titles than might be found in other bookstores. Unnameable Books prides itself on its vast selection of texts about social justice issues such as gender fluidity and critical race theory, as well as the more popular fiction and nonfiction texts.
Events at Unnameable Books follow the same topics as the books on the shelves. While there are the occasional author signings and book launches, many events are lectures or panel discussions about social justice issues relevant to the local community. You can contact Unnameable Books to find out more information about what they have in stock and how they can order what you’re looking for, if they don’t.
Emma Straub and Michael Fusco-Straub opened Books are Magic in 2017 in the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn. From the beginning, Books are Magic have operated under the exact premise of their name: the act of reading and disappearing into a literary world is an act of magic. For that reason, much of their collection caters to the more popular fiction and nonfiction, as well as classic children’s books and young adult novels.
Books are Magic hosts events nearly every other day, including author talks and book signings, panel discussions and book clubs, and even a weekend story hour for children. Contact them to find out what event is on next and how you can attend!
Here’s a Book Store has been Sheepshead Bay’s independent bookstore since Sylvia Levy opened the doors in 1975. A truly ‘small, local, independent,’ they stock thousands of new and used books on all categories and offer deliveries to local residents who can’t get through the doors.
Here’s a Book Store isn’t big enough to host events or a café, but that hasn’t stopped it from being voted ‘Best Independent Bookstore in New York City’ by the Sunday Daily News. Contact them via their social media to find out more.
Voted ‘Best Used Bookstore 2013’ by the Village Voice, New York Magazine, and Time Out New York, Molasses Books is the Bushwick area’s place for drinks and books. Opened in 2012 by Matthew Winn, Molasses Books is designed more as a meeting space of likeminded individuals than simply a bookshop. Patrons can even trade books for just about anything the shop offers for sale: other books, coffee, tea, wine, or beer. Otherwise, the common price range is $8-$12, much lower than the rare bookshops in the area.
This ‘for the people, by the people’ atmosphere is perfect for the type of events hosted at Molasses Books: local writer and poet book launches, author discussions, book signings, and community events. Contact them via their social media to see what else they have going on at this truly independent bookstore.
As the second location of the powerHouse publishing company based in Brooklyn, Powerhouse on 8th opened in 2012 to provide the South Slope area of Brooklyn a place to buy carefully selected titles of fiction, nonfiction, lifestyle, young adult, and children’s books.
Events at the Powerhouse on 8th location are just as plentiful as other independent bookshops, with book launches and author signings, story hours and book club meetings. If it’s not happening at Powerhouse on 8th, then it’s likely happening at the Powerhouse Arena. Contact them to see what event is next on their list and how you can join.