Book Nerd: McNally Jackson Bookstore

My last stop in New York.

A writing desk... McNally Jakcson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015.
A writing desk… McNally Jakcson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015.

The McNally Jackson bookstore is probably one of the most interesting set ups I’ve seen and, I for one, have fallen in love with the store.

While it may not have the volume of a book catacomb seen at the The Strand, this small independent really stands out as a place to explore and get a little lost in the world of literature—in some ways literally. On the top floor, most of the store’s collection is organized by country of the origin rather than by subject and author—a truly unique notion. (There’s a reason other bookshop listings mention asking for help if looking for a specific title!)

This set up speaks to the kind of books that can be found housed on the shelves and tables around the store as well. Most titles and covers I hadn’t seen in my explorations elsewhere and each book I picked up covered a new range of topics which seemed to come back to the independent identity.

This isn’t to say that the store ignores popular books and publications, but by walking into McNally Jackson’s and wandering through the titles, you get access to much more of the world and all its great variety.

Books everywhere! McNally Jackson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015
Books everywhere! McNally Jackson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015

The top floor also houses the café with the fantastic book ceiling décor, as well as other great aesthetic features which gives the place an easy yet quirky energy that will make me want to drop back in.

The lower level houses the sections that are more common in every bookstore—young adult, poetry, fiction, ect—but even here there is an interesting twist to your browsing. This floor seemed set up to effortlessly move you from genre to genre; moving from mystery and thriller to science fiction and political writings to historic works to mythology, winding you throughout the level without you really having to wonder how any one piece fit. It was unlike any set up I’ve seen in pretty much any of my previous wanderings.

McNally Jackson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015.
McNally Jackson, Manhattan, New York. April 2015.

This shop is more than just your run of the mill bookshop and café duos, however. It’s also a working book press totaling 50,004 prints as of my visit. The website has more information of this aspect of the store if anyone is interested, but for simple browsers it’s one more interesting quirk of this truly remarkable shop, thriving in Manhattan.

One thing I will mention, however. If you want to visit—like this is a must on your list (which I completely understand)—don’t leave this to your last day. This was actually our second trip to the store front because the first time we went the store was closed for the day. I’m not sure why this was the case but if you are worried—as with all things—you can always call the store before heading down.

Anyway, if you are interested in exploring titles that you’d otherwise never see, by authors from around the world, talking about topics that others aren’t writing about, and from perspectives as unique as you’ll ever see—this is the shop you should definitely not miss out on.

This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.

Book Nerd: McNally Jackson Bookstore

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