The Strand Bookstore

New York / Oct. 22, 2012 / by Amy
The Strand Bookstore

A few days ago, we made it safely into NYC, a journey that was surprisingly a lot less chaotic than it could have been, or certainly, than I was expecting. We’re actually staying out on Long Island but it’s a close to the heart of the city as we could get with the bus while not paying an extortionate amount. 

While I’ve not been the picture of perfect health this past week, I made it into the city yesterday when we went in to film some of our b-roll for a story and I had the chance to go to The Strand Bookshop. 

For years, I’ve heard great things about this almost mythical bookshop, including the very proudly advertised fact that it has 18 miles of bookshelves, so I was very glad to get to visit.

I didn’t spend nearly as long as the shop deserves but I did get the sense of the place. One of the first things I wondered was how the floors were able to stay up under all the weight of books. There are bookcases everywhere, each connected to the other by pieces of metal. 

I had the distinct impression that one was leaning somewhat like the Tower of Pisa, but that might have been caused by my general astonishment at the number of books everywhere. 

There is a section for every genre you could wish for, including a large collection of rare books. They sell an assortment of new and used books, and have tables everywhere that display everything from books about NYC to books that are cheaper to buy in physical book form than ebook format. 

I can tell you, it was very difficult to be in there knowing that I couldn’t buy any books. I made sure I kept moving at a steady speed through the maze of bookshelves.

This is not really the place to go with a bulging backpack - it makes navigating the tiny alcoves of books rather difficult, especially with a collection of sometimes oblivious and sometimes impatient people around - but it’s a great bookshop to browse in. 

I was very impressed to see several people walking around with baskets - some empty, some containing books - all, it seemed, determined to buy enough books to warrant carrying a basket. 

The Strand also has a very tempting collection of literary gifts, everything from a sleeve that will make your iPad looks like a book from a 19th century library to a mug sporting an image of the Cheshire cat which, when filled with hot liquid, will disappear, leaving only the famous grin. 

And I’m not forgetting the large collection of Strand branded bags and other such lovely gifts, several of which I was very tempted to purchase. They even have a range of the very awesome Out Of Print t-shirts, a range of t-shirts with book titles on the front. 

If I make it down to that area of town again, I’ll definitely try to pop in again but I know that if I lived nearby, it would definitely be a regular haunt if ever I needed any new reading material.