Every indie bookstore has a personality and every individual can find one whose character suits him. Not just the books themselves and the authors, but the very bookstore itself. It is, in a sense, finding oneself in a place where one can discover a community. Books provide bridges between people. These booksellers’ portraits are a reflection of their customers and ultimately of their neighborhoods, and collectively make a portrait of New York City.

Historically the City has had a wealth of indie bookstores, but the recent past has seen a serious decline in those numbers, in part due to bargain megastores, internet retailers, the ascension of the e-book, not to mention the spectacular rise of their monthly rents.

Today there is a revival in indie bookstores, mostly in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Their diversity is extraordinary, specializing in biography, travel, mystery fiction, stories for children, gender, poetry, collectible, academic, African-American literature, Hispanic culture, cooking and much more. And their spaces too are so different, from a container in Bushwick to a prestigious building in midtown Manhattan. Nevertheless, the booksellers are all looking for one thing--sharing their passion for books; new, used, bargained or rare.

Franck Bohbot and I, both expats from France, love New York and we love books. We have portrayed these booksellers to better understand their stories, their visions of their job and their involvement in the New York culture.


Philippe Ungar

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