Ten bookshops to visit while in America

Posted July 17, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature / 0 Comments

I’m going away on holidays to America and my main concern was making sure that I research which bookshops to visit while over there. I am away for a few weeks and while I don’t really plan to weigh down my bags with too many books, I still like looking at books. I have been looking around for which stores to visit and I thought I might list them here and possibly open it up to some suggestions. I’m going to be visiting San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Boston, Toronto and Las Vegas, so please recommend some stores and I will try to visit them.

The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles

This is a scary thought, I would hate to think that there is only one bookstore left on earth and it was all the way in LA. The Paris Review once wrote that this store was “an almost 20,000-square-foot cathedral of books”.

Skylight Books, Los Angeles

This is often voted as one of the greatest bookshops in America (along with Powell’s but I’m not going to Portland). It could almost be considered a literary landmark, but when I think of LA I think Raymond Chandler and that landmark would be Musso and Frank Grill (which I plan to visit as well).

City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco

This was one of my biggest highlights when I was in San Francisco last time, and I plan to go back. Last I was there a picked up a portable collection of Romantic poetry which I adore; still think Keats is my favourite. This is not only an iconic bookshop, it is a literary landmark.

Green Apple Books, San Francisco

This is a well-known bookshop that has been around for a very long time. I missed it last time I was in San Francisco; I don’t want to miss it again.

WORD, Brooklyn

Located in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, this is one store where their reputation precedes them. This may simply be because the Bookrageous podcast links every book to this store but I’m still very interested in checking it out.

McNally Jackson, Manhattan

I have heard good things about this store; mainly that it has ‘everything’. I plan to challenge this view and see if it has books on my wishlist that are normally very hard to find. If I wrote a book, I could even get it printed here.

Strand Books, New York

This one was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter. Eighteen miles of books, this is something I have to see. The store opened in 1927 so there is a bit of history there as well.

Library Hotel, New York

Not a book store but since I’m in New York, I’m going to stay in bookish class and felt the need to rub it in. Library Hotel not only offers you a great place to stay but you won’t be short of books to read.

Commonwealth Books, Boston

This used bookshop comes with leather chairs and a fireplace, what more do you want from a store? I would like to go, grab an old classic and spend the day reading. I’m not sure if it is a good strategy for selling books but it is one way to attract booklovers.

Brattle Book Shop, Boston

When I was researching book shops to visit while in America I came across this one in Boston; it looks awesome. One of America’s oldest and largest used book stores, it has to go to the streets.

There you have it, ten bookshops (sort of) that I plan to visit when I’m over in America. I know I will find more along the way and I could have mentioned a few others but I need to save room for museums and eating. Feel free to mention some more in the comments and I might see if I can make it there as well.

0 responses to “Ten bookshops to visit while in America

      • Mish

        I posted a comment the other day but it looks like it didn’t work. Anyhow, I agree with Shannon, The Strand is amazing and not to be missed. It’s like a department store of books; new and old.

        The others look fabulous Michael, I especially like the last 2 as I’m really fond of second-hand bookstores

  1. You’ve got nothing listed for Toronto yet and this is where I come in handy. The Monkey’s Paw is a little out of the way, but it has a biblio-mat book vending machine. Kind of cool. Check out it’s website. And there is also Ben McNally’s on Bay street. Very centrally located, it is both beautiful and well curated. Type Books on Queen street has long been my favorite and is centrally located as well. Good luck and have fun.

  2. kayleigh M

    I stayed just down from McNally’s and while I don’t think it’ll be quite as extensive as you expect, it’s pretty great. Even better is just staring and happy sighing at the printing press. There’s also an amazing pizza joint about one block down.

    In San Francisco you should go to the Beat Museum. The museum itself can be skipped (some interesting stuff but the entry is a little high) but lots of first edition Kerouac and Ginsburg and more affordable fare in the store out front.

    And if you don’t plan to weigh your bag down with books, give yourself a time limit for Strand. Otherwise you will walk out with more books than should legally be allowed to be sold to a single person. Trust me.

  3. thomasatmyporch

    McNally is a nice bookstore, but I wouldn’t call its stock exhaustive by any means. You are more likely to have success at The Strand which certainly has a lot of books. The basement room filled with remainders can be quite good. My favorite bookstore in NYC is Three Lives and Co. in Greenwich Village. It is small but very well curated by people who love to read books.
    I loved Green Apple in SF but was disappointed by Brattle Books in Boston.

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