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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

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New York has long been considered the center of all things creative, including literature. Writers come to the city to create lives for themselves, hoping to absorb its energy into their work, and many often pay visits to the variety of independent bookstores that dot its streets.

The United States has a long tradition of excellent, passionately supported independent bookstores—Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi; Prairie Lights in Iowa City, Iowa; and the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, Washington, to name a few. But while towns like these can accommodate a few key stores at most, New York is large enough to foster a massive assortment catering to different tastes and interests.

Beyond the search for the latest best seller or sought-after first edition, these enclaves offer an opportunity for locals to create communities within an expansive and often anonymous city. And, much like New York itself, they are clever and diverse, possessing something for nearly everyone.

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