We Are New York Indie Booksellers

New York, 2017-2018

A shared project by Franck Bohbot (Photographs) and Philippe Ungar (Interviews)

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. Text by Philippe Ungar.


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