Sunday, November 30, 2008

18 Miles of Books

Strand Bookstore is the mother of all bookstores - 18 miles of new, used, rare, and out-of-print books on three and a half floors (spanning the entire space of the red awning shown below). It's that freakin huge and makes Barnes and Nobles and Borders look like a joke.

Strand Bookstore was founded in 1927 on what was known as Book Row (the street had 48 book stores at that time and Strand was the last one standing). Today, the Strand remains an independent bookstore owned and operated by the founder's son. The Strand is also the world's largest used bookstore and they have the largest rare books collection in New York City, containing first and signed editions. Among Strand's rare books include a 1632 William Shakespeare Second Folio that was sold for $100,000, and hiding away in their safe is a $40,000 copy of James Joyce's Ulysses signed by Joyce and Matisse (who did the illustration). Wow!

There are good book bargains here if you have the time to look. They sell new titles at 50% off cover price. And they sell $1 and $0.85 books on the sidewalks. We picked up a book on price guide for alternative records for $1.

You can easily spend a whole day in this place, probably even on just one floor. We wanted to take photos inside the bookstore but there were too many employees that were playing the part of security guards.