Sunday, August 19, 2018





Strand Book Store
828, Broadway (At 12th Street)   Downtown ,Manhattan.
( Near Regal Cinema)

While in New York, If you don't visit this book store, you miss something serious.

Set up in1927,the Strand Book Store  survived during the Great Depression, two world wars,  ebooks and online behemoths.It is  the last of the 48 bookstores still standing from 4th Avenue’s famous 'Book Row'. With over 250 employees and 2.5 million used, new, and rare books, the Strand Store  contains some of the most diverse literary collections in the World.You get too much  to see over here. Any and every international author. Magazines ; new and old. Books;new and old. Sell your old books and magazines.  You can literally spend the entire day here. The ambiance inside  is  super cool and welcoming . You also find a  wonderful selection of stationery , souvenirs and gifts like caps, mugs, bags and water  bottles etc.If  you visit  dollar one section, you are sure to  get  many   books of your choice .This dollar one section is also spread on the L shaped  footpath surrounding the store. I too spent almost one full day over here to buy three Books. To locate your favourite author, you need to make a search that almost exhausts you . On the footpath,  you have a stand  where books  are sold for 48 cents. There is a separate section with separate entrance that buys old books.

If you love rare books, go to the top floor and check for  your  selection over  there. And keep watch  ; the man close to you with heavy perfume on his body  could   be a celebrity . A Hollywood actor  or somebody from the fashion industry .

Founded in 1927, Strand Books  is perhaps the most frequented book store in New York , with more than 2.5 million new, used and rare books.  The store says "18 MILES OF BOOKS"—cramming the shelves. Many new titles are sold well below the  list price.  Classic novels, poetry  , non fiction, history, art, children books and so many varieties.
Visit third floor for  early editions and rare signed copies of books.
The carry bag provided by the store has names of so many  world famous authors/ writers and poets printed on it. Something like a  souvenir to carry and  preserve.

The Strand  Book Store has been featured in  many Hollywood films (  movies  like  Six Degrees  of  Separation, Julie and Julia and Remember Me ) and  many TV serials.  

Over here, some precious books are kept under  safe locks. They have first edition copy of 'Alice in Wonderland' for US Dollars  15000  .  First edition of a shakespeare  drama for US Dollars 100000  .I  was told by an employee that  the first edition of  'The Hound of the Baskervilles Another Adventure Of Sherlock Holmes' by Sir  Arthur Conan Doyle is in safe lock at the store and  is  available for US Dollars 4,500 . So are many first editions of some rare books available for sale.

It is a real privilege to  join some book reading session or  book promotion event at Strands . Interaction  with  authors,  intellectuals and thinkers in the event room  over here  could be enriching, rewarding and   heartwarming, .   This book store  has hosted  senator Bernie Sanders,  Salman Rushdie, David Sedaris, James Franco, Robert Caro and Marina Abramovic. You can ask questions, take photographs and  or simply take a back seat and enjoy the event .

Should you visit  Strands with children,    better go to  the   Children's Corner on the second floor  for 'Story Time' . Here children can meet their favourite characters, hear new and old classic stories, and participate in arts and crafts and other fun activities.

Spread in many  floors and a basement, this shop has survived in the not so rosy  business  of book selling post arrival of internet .
Book Kiosks have also been opened at various locations in Manhattan. I  saw a small outlet of this store in  Times Square  just opposite to' Old Navy'  ready to wear  garment store. Although it is  a fraction of the size of the Union Square Strand, yet it  offers a wide selection of books to tourists .A very small outlet but very much visible to thousands of tourists who keep strolling in this area. 

The  Covid -19 has come down heavily on the book business . Customers have dwindled . New arrivals and business has shown a rapid decline during 2020 and 2021. In an interview to "The Guardian " published on 24th October, 2020, Bass Wyden ,the current proprietor said this:-

"Because of the impact of Covid-19, we cannot survive the huge decline in foot traffic, a near-complete loss of tourism and zero in-store events. Our revenue was down nearly 70% from 2019. Though a government loan and cash reserves saw the store through the first eight months of the pandemic, she said, we are now at a turning point where our business is unsustainable.
I don't  believe my father and grandfather would  want me to give up without a fight. I am asking  readers to come to the shop or buy from Strand online. I’m going to pull out all the stops to keep sharing our mutual love of the printed word. But for the first time in the Strand’s 93-year history, we need to mobilise the community to buy from us so we can keep our doors open."

(Avtar Mota)


The write up  was updated in August 2021 

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
Based on a work at http:\\\.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.