Strand Bookstore is the soul survivor of 19th Century’s Book Row in Greenwich Village. This personalized, modern bookstore creates a distinct ambiance than the generic Books-a-Million, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon e-books. Strand Bookstore represents the strength and power of independent stores in New York City and throughout the rest of the country.
“So many books, so little time” illustrates Strand Bookstore perfectly. They have over 2.5 million books that reach over “18 miles in books”. From the outside of the store, the books spill into the streets and are placed on carts that have used and discounted books. With a prime location on Broadway and close to Union Square, Strand is always busy with foot traffic. Upon entering the store, the customer first finds little trinkets, buttons galore, stickers, postcards, bags, mugs, and many other touristic items that celebrate NYC, political/cultural icons. The shorter tables in the entrance contain the “Strand 80” where on Strand’s 80th birthday the customers requested their favorite books. On every floor there are many help and information desks with eager workers. Within the 4 floors of books and collections, there are 50 different classifications. There is an area for special guests and speakers to promote their books and have events. Wall to Wall, ceiling to floor, Strand Bookstore contains the largest collection of books for an independent bookstore in the whole country.
Strand Bookstore’s independent attributes is different than the top store competitors. Strand Bookstore is always evolving by having an ear to the ground but still holds on to their independent mission. The accessibility at Amazon is easier than ever. The customer can order a paperback, audio version, or e-book. Whereas, in Strand’s 50 different sections with information desks around every corner creates a treasure hunt of finding a hidden gem to read. With the creaky wood flooring, the tall glass windows, and monstrous bookshelves, this bookstore contains it’s independent description as well as challenging with the top dog competitors. The deepening message of independent stores rather than the big named brands is echoed throughout the bookshelves at Strand’s. When a customer buys a book at Strand, they are participating in the future of their local community.
Bookstores and libraries are becoming less popular in the digital age. But with the rejuvenation of books, Strand shows how independent stores create and flourish the future opportunities for local communities.