Translation from English

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Strand Book Store in East Village

For many years, this was the "go-to" place for lovers of second hand books, art books, and "review copies" (half price copies of books that had been sent out to reviewers..I got some really beautiful books half price that way back when I went here).

Nobody ever really liked the owner of this place much though.

I wonder what has changed over the years...WELL, it gets Really Great Reviews with some people quibbling about this and that...more raves than I usually see, I can tell you that!

Strand Bookstore

4.5 star rating
819 reviews Rating Details
Category: Bookstores
828 Broadway
(between 12th St & 13th St)
New York, NY 10003
Neighborhoods: Greenwich Village, Union Square, East Village
(212) 473-1452
Nearest Transit Station:
Union Sq - 14 St (L)
14 St - Union Sq (4, 5, 6, 6X)
14 St - Union Sq (N, Q, R)
Mon-Sat 9:30 am - 10:30 pm
Sun 11 am - 10:30 pm
Price Range:
Accepts Credit Cards:
Wheelchair Accessible:

Review Highlights   What's this?

  • "Home of 18 miles of New, Used, Rare and Out of Print Books." In 30 reviews
  • "also, they have the cutest, sturdiest tote bags ever." In 27 reviews
  • "I can't wait to come back to NYC to kill many more hours in here." In 72 reviews
Show more review highlights
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817 reviews in English

  • Review from

    Strand to the rescue!
    I love a place with good prices. Amazing prices if you find a book on their outside rack.
    What I really loved about this place was when my crazy ex-CEO called me saying he would be in the US and I needed to find him a book that very day on how to help him help his marriage.  A specific book I couldn't find at the bigger bookstores I wasted my time going around to. So I called Strand- they said they actually had it in stock.  Too good to be true, I thought.  This was yet another nightmare assignment from a nightmare CEO.  Low and behold I went into the store, was directed right away where to pick up this hard-to-find relationship saver book and the sales guy had it ready to go for me.
    I was amazed by this efficient service with this hard-to-find book - 5 star experience all the way.

    After getting back to the office I joked to the CEO that I couldn't find the book anywhere in this city.  He told me he was upset, as the book costs more in the UK and would be cheaper here.  I mean seriously, this guy is worth 800 million dollars!!  (no joke)
    So I took the book out of my bag, handed it to him and told him he owes me 14 bucks.   "It cost that much?", he said.    So I handed him the receipt.     You can't make the crazy stuff up I went through at that job.

    Thank God I am out of that crazy place.   Now more time to read Strand books!
  • Review from

    7/29/2013 1 check-in here
    Strand is a nice place to visit, but if we are to be totally honest, it's a really mediocre book store. If you confine yourself to the price-slashed bestsellers and gift books on the tables, out-of-print/rate titles, or the very nice art book section, you will come away happy. However, if you need something from their stacks, you might as well call in sick and take the day off.

    I've shopped at Strand for over a decade, though I rarely visit these days. They have spruced up their store a bit, but it's still very cramped (the agoraphobic need not apply) and the hipster staff often seems disinterested. They do have some nice author events, but you have to RSVP for these ahead of time or wait in line outside for an hour hoping to get lucky.

    At least half the time I cannot find what I'm looking for, which drives me back into the arms of Amazon and B&N.
  • Review from

    • 62 friends
    • 66 reviews
    I brought a fellow bibliophile and out-of-towner to this New York landmark during Pride Week. After looking over the giddying array of books in the Underground and main floors, we ended up moseying our way up to the Rare Books section. There my friend managed to find a complete second edition printing of Les Miserables for $60. Seriously.

    The service at this gem was incredible. After noticing that ink from the binding was rubbing off on his hands, my friend spoke to an expert on the floor who put special chemicals on it to preserve the book, wrapped it beautifully, and gave him advice on how to safely transport it on the bus ride back. While the expert was helping my friend, I was chatting with the incredibly wonderful cashier (and prospective grad student) about the political situation in Syria.

    This bookstore is everything I love about New York City. I cannot stop gushing.
  • Review from

    7/29/2013 3 check-ins here
    Magical. I can pretty much always find a new book (or 10) for myself and a friend within 2 minutes of walking in and i love their totes.
  • Review from

    I've been wanting to stop by Strand ever since I moved to NYC, and actually stumbled upon it accidentally today. I'm a sucker for cheap books, and the outside racks advertising prices as low as 48 cents called my name. I ended up grabbing three books on those clearance racks for a total of $2.13! Most of those outside are used, but many are in great condition. You can find antiques as well, and my friend even found a book signed by the author. I'll definitely be stopping by to browse more often!

    As far as the inside of the store, it is a mystical land. It's a bit hard to find your way through the tables and shelves, and skinny aisles, but if you have the time, get lost in the stacks. I would necessarily suggest Strand if you're looking for something in particular, but if you like to browse for books this is the place. Oh, and it's also multiple floors. Basically book heaven. I cannot wait to go back!
  • Review from

    This is more of a no frills bookstore compared to Barnes and Noble. Very large store, tons of books, for real book lovers!

    The cost of the book is usually a little less than list price.
  • Review from

    • 7 friends
    • 4 reviews
    7/26/2013 1 photo
    Absolutely amazing selection of books, from classic works to the rare books you can find it all. Just be prepared to spend hours if not days in this store.
    • This is a part of the leather bound section where you can f…
  • Review from

    Strand is BY FAR the best bookstore that I've come across in NYC. I'm a huge Barnes & Noble fan, but this place just has so much character. Not only do they have every book imaginable, but the staff is very friendly and also well read. You can tell that everybody who works there is just as big of a book fanatic as you are.

    One of the funnest things to do if you are with a friend (or even just on your own) is to look through their discount shelves outside and see who can find the weirdest book.

    The only complaint is that its super expensive. I only buy something here maybe every third of fourth time I go in. Then again, as long as it pays for the awesome staff, location, and inventory, then I'm ok with it.
  • Review from

    • 26 friends
    • 48 reviews
    7/25/2013 1 check-in here
    This place is huge! Three stories, one of which entirely devoted to rare, old, and collectible books. You could feel the love for being here from the staff and customers. This isn't a bookstore. It's an experience.
  • Review from

    • 32 friends
    • 10 reviews
    This place is absolutely amazing! A perfect place to go on a rainy day or actually, any type of day. There are so many different selections at an affordable price. I think almost all of the books had some sort of discount and many of them were 50% off!

    Also, what's awesome is the store also carry quite a few cute/vintage stationary products such as pencil cases, tote bags, notebooks, pens, magnets, etc. And they are SO SO ADORABLE AND CHIC!!! I am a huge fan of stationary products and this their stationary section definitely got me pretty excited.

    The store does get a little crowded but only on the first floor where the new releases are. The basement had a good collection of social sciences related books and the 2nd floor has a wonderful collection of photography, fashion, design related picture books.

    I had a very relaxing afternoon there and would definitely go again soon! Love it!!!
    Listed in: NYC Favorites
  • Review from

    I'm very stingy with my 5 stars, and I have no problem giving it to this MASSIVE bookstore. Definitely competitive pricing, great location, massive selection, and lots to love about this. This bookstore is a mix of new books, as well as used books that are in good condition. I got a new, paperback version of my favorite book (Count of Monte Cristo) for only about $5 which is AMAZING.

    This bookstore is so much fun just to wander around--I believe it is about 3-4 floors, of just books! They have some beautifully bound classics (which are crazy $$$, but fun to look at), and a great variety of all kinds of books you can imagine.

    Great customer service--very friendly staff who have no problem trying to navigate through the maze of shelves and stacks to help you find you what you need.

    Downsides: very crowded, hard to find some of the books you want w/the price you want (i.e. you might find the very expensive hardback of a book, but you want to find a used version--good luck), stacks on stacks of books, so it may be hard to find/reach some real gems.
  • Review from

    Such a beautiful place - my favorite thing to do during college on weekends, aside from weeping over the decrepit state of my senior thesis, was to buy a few out-of-prints and stroll on over to Union Square park and spend an afternoon catching up on books that I actually enjoyed reading over a nice cuppa of bubble tea. Now that I'm a glorified paper-pusher and Kindle and its brethren have cornered the market, I don't get to come down here as often as I'd like. Sad face.

    First off, this isn't Barnes & Noble (thank God). There's no roomy couches or little nooks where you can put your feet up and read: the place is stacked floor to ceiling with books and the customers/staff running around are just jetsam. It'll help if you're relatively spry and agile and can quickly maneuver around the sheer number of people - basically, if you can get from one end of Times Square to the other without wanting to gouge out your eyeballs, you should be good here.

    Second, the staff here represent the very best and very worst of living and breathing books. Each one I've talked to has been incredibly knowledgeable about genres (I think having a Ph.D or at least being an English major is a prerequisite for working here. Or being able to differentiate between Joan Didion and Junot Diaz) and books that I would like if I've already plowed through most of Author X. The downside is that some can be aloof or downright snobby. We get it, you're well-read, but that doesn't mean you're entitled to give me sideface when I ask, like any fanny-pack-toting plebe, where you keep the paperbacks of Game of Thrones. I want to know what happens next, dammit.

    At the end of the day, though, the pros hugely outweigh the cons, and I have found some awesome rare books, so do stop by!
  • Review from

    • 58 friends
    • 111 reviews
    One of the great bookstores of the world. Don't go with a non-bibiliophile or they will be pulling your sleave the whole time asking to go.

    The staff are true book nerds and they get all hot under the collar when you start pulling all the books off the shelf and build a little fort with them.

    Other than that, we cool.

    Personally, I prefer Powell's in Portland (which takes Klingon money) and Acres of Books in Long Beach (now defunct) but if you want to pray at the alter of the written word, this place is a very very good bet!
  • Review from

    • 8 friends
    • 24 reviews
    Oh, I just adore this place. Every time I come here I don't give myself enough time-- a couple hours is NOT enough for the Strand! Plan to spend half a day here! Bring a list of what you're looking for. It's overwhelming, and more than once I've left with nothing simply because there was SO much I wanted that I couldn't make up my mind!

    And the staff is ridiculously helpful. I spent 8+ years working in bookstore management (Borders), so I know good help when I get it. They are more than happy to look up titles, and walk you right to the sections (good, because I always get turned around in the basement!). And I always get some fantastic, spot-on recommendations for other similar books I would like.

    Knowledgeable, passionate staff who clearly know and love books. Sort of what Borders had before they started corporatizing everything and going downhill. The Strand knows the secret to selling books in the age of Amazon and ereaders.
  • Review from

    • 34 friends
    • 59 reviews
    7/2/2013 2 check-ins here
    I'm very anal (ugh, that scene from (500) Days of Summer), and I like being able to walk into a bookstore and browse, but also like finding a particular book I'm looking for based on the bookstore section I'm in. If I'm in the literature section near a shelf that contains books written by authors whose last names start with the letter M, I expect to find Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" there on the shelf (actually, I still find his writing daunting, but I wanted to use a real life example). That doesn't necessarily happen at the Strand. Sometimes books are stacked on tables in places that you wouldn't expect. Yet, I'm not so bothered by it. This bookstore is enormous, and navigating through the narrow walking spaces, reaching for books above people's heads, "excuse me"'-ing behind other customers, and roaming from floor to floor is part of its charm. I think the haphazard placement of books in stacks around several tables and floors makes the store that much more exciting, and that much more of an adventure.

    The Strand boasts 18 miles of books and counting. Eighteen miles. I can't even wrap my head around that number. They also sell books by the foot, presumably to folks who want to decorate their lofts with books. When everything is quantified by distance rather than by number, you know that the Strand is in a league of its own.*

    Dollar carts are placed outside of the store luring customers in, and books on every topic imaginable quietly wait their turn to be picked up and purchased inside. New, used, and rare books are in abundance here and all are offered at a relatively cheap price. The Strand also sells bags, clothing, and stationery. You also have the option of selling back books here , but you won't really make a dime so you're better off just donating them or going elsewhere for some dough.

    If, though, you're on a tight schedule, ask the staff for help. During the application process, all staff members will have had to pass a short quiz asking to match authors with their most notable titles. I can say that the staff members most likely know their stuff and can offer recommendations as well. If the particular book you're looking for happens to be on another floor, they'll print out a little sticker with the necessary details that will guide you to your book.

    Likelihood of another visit:
    I like the feeling of crossing things off checklists and accomplishing things, but I somehow get nervous when my stack of to-read books starts to dwindle in size. I think that means I need to buy more books. Strand, here I come.
    *Well, in a league with Powell's in Portland. Which I have yet to go to.
    Listed in: Book Nooks
  • Review from

  • Review from

    6/10/2013 1 check-in here
    Can't believe it took me this long to review Strand. Love love love the "cheaper than on Kindle" section, as well as the non-books section (with board games, calendars, etc.).

    Pretty good section of comic books/graphic novels upstairs, though it's sometimes hard to find something. Staff is super friendly though.

    Another favorite was the food/cooking section, and the graphic design/typography books.

    Only minor complaint is that it was super hot in the store! Don't know that I'd want people thumbing through books with sweaty hands!