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Taking a "Strand" Against Corporate Bookstores

By Natalie Grant, USA, June 2011

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18 miles of books, wrapped up into one beloved bookshop.

New Yorkers know that Broadway and 12th Street is the best place to find the perfect literary gift, distraction, or obsession. Since 1927, the Strand Book Store has been one of the most valued independent and family-owned businesses in Manhattan. Now with hundreds of employees – most with helpful, friendly, and uniquely un-New York dispositions – and over two and a half million books (used, new, and rare), the corner shop hosts exactly the sort of bestselling author events that make lit nerds and book worms drool equally with anticipation.

If you have books in good condition, or CDs/DVDs in their original packaging, that you wish to sell, the buying counter is open from 9:30am to 6pm Monday through Saturday (no textbooks – that means you, financially-depleted former students!).

Upcoming author events include Restaurant Girl blogger Danyelle Freeman’s Try This: Traveling the Globe Without Leaving the Table (June 30th 7-8pm) and New York Times bestselling author Ben Mezrich’s Sex on the Moon (July 13th 7-8pm), among others.

Beginning Saturday, July 9, a six-week series of painting classes for children ages 2-8 (10:30-11:15am, $25 per participant; $30 for walk-ins, space permitting) will be hosted by Private Picassos.

The bookstore was also featured in movies such as Remember Me (where Robert Pattinson played a Strand employee), Julie & Julia, and Unfaithful. Even cooler, The Strand also loans books to set designers so they can decorate their bookshelves with realism – such as in the latest Indiana Jones installment.

Recent contests include “Share the Love” (short story) and “The New Yorker Contest,” where the winning representation of Eustace Tilley gets to be printed on a Strand tote bag – and gets a $1000 shopping spree. Of the six hundred entries this year, the top twelve can be viewed here.

Can’t make it to the main location just south of Union Square? The Strand also runs a kiosk in Central Park (E. 60th St and 5th Ave) which is open from 10am to dusk, weather permitting, from April to December. Opening hours at the main location are Mon-Sat 9:30am-10:30pm and Sun 11am-10:30pm. The rare book room closes at 6:15pm daily.

Can’t make it to New York? Browse the shelves of The Strand’s website and order some literary goodies for yourself online!

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