Brooklyn's Best Independent Bookstores

Bibliophile's guide to Brooklyn

Brooklyn is still mourning the loss of beloved BookCourt in Cobble Hill, but despite this closure, Brooklyn is still home to many independent bookstores. While chains like Barnes and Noble are slowly transforming into a hybrid book/toy stores,  Brooklyn is one of those odd parts of the world where many independent bookstores seem to thrive. In fact novelist Emma Straub recently announced that she's planning on opening a bookstore in the same neighborhood that housed BookCourt. But you don't have to wait for a new bookstore to open, you can check out these six fantastic bookstores around Brooklyn.

Brooklyn's literary scene is still growing and is home to many famous writers. Many of these bookstores host readings with both local and writers from around the globe, offer various book clubs, and partake in the annual Brooklyn Book Festival. They are rare gems in an increasingly digital world and all are worth a visit. If you want to look like an authentic Brooklyn hipster, don’t...MORE forget to score a tote bag from one of these shops.

​If you'd rather shop for used books, Brooklyn also has many notable used bookstores. 

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    ••• Greenlight Bookstore. Greenlight Bookstore, Facebook

    Rebecca Fitting and Jessica Stockton Bagnulo opened this beloved Fort Greene bookstore in the fall of 2009. It’s located on Fort Greene’s main drag and just a short walk from BAM. The spacious shop has an extensive collection of books. Bookish folks will love the store's bi-monthly podcast, The Greenlight Bookstore Radio Hour, with author conversations and staff reviews. Greenlight Bookstore has in store readings and also partners with both St. Josephs College and BAM, hosting an off-site literary series. Past writers in these series include Elizabeth Gilbert, John Cleese and Lena Dunham. 

    In December 2016, they opened a new location on Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.

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    ••• Word Bookstore. Word Bookstore, Facebook

    Located in Greenpoint, this cozy indie isn’t just a bookshop it’s a community. The bookstore has a basketball league that raised money for the Greenpoint Food Pantry. The shop has a notable collection of both kid and adult reads. Reading might be a solitary activity, but if you like to talk about books, Word hosts thematic book groups ranging from romance to music indie writing.  Although their Jersey City outpost has a café, the Brooklyn shop does not. Don’t fret, because Word Bookstore is just a few blocks from the Brooklyn legendary Peter Pan Donuts and Pastry.

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    ••• Community Bookstore. Community Bookstore, Facebook

     

    This Park Slope staple has been open since 1971 and is Brooklyn’s oldest independent bookstore. The shop has a small garden in the back where you can relax and read. The children’s section is epic, filled with classics and new fiction. The store's casual vibe gives the shop a small town feel rather than a city bookstore, evoking the feel of old school Park Slope. Be sure to follow the shop’s cat Tiny’s Twitter feed to read his posts about the luxurious life of a cat living amongst literature. 

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    ••• PowerHouse Arena. PowerHouse Arena, Facebook

    This Dumbo bookstore and art book publisher is also a gallery and performance space.  The store houses a wide collection of art and kid’s books. The shop also hosts many literary readings and gallery exhibitions. Its amphitheater seating gives it the feel of a theatrical venue than a bookstore. Located near the Brooklyn Bridge, it's a must-visit for anyone who has made the trek over the bridge and is exploring Dumbo.

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    BookMark Shoppe
    ••• BookMark Shoppe

    The BookMark Shoppe located in Bay Ridge has a selection of new books and hosts various events including a popular book club, which takes place the last Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. All book club selections are 10% off. They also have many events for kids. The shop has been around for years and is neighborhood favorite. 

     

     

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    Idelwild Books
    ••• Idelwild Books

    This travel themed bookstore named after the original name fir JFK airport has a great selection of travel books and also doubles as a language school. If you're just an armchair traveler or are planning a trip around the world, Idlewild is the ideal spot. They also have a location in Manhattan.