Not just for collectors. Situated in the heart of the West Village, Left Bank Books specializes in modern first editions, rare books, and special editions in art and photography.
* While ZTrend strives to write fact-based pieces about New York City's small boutiques, "splash visit" profiles may contain inaccuracies, as "splash visits" are merely the interpretation of the writer's first-hand experience and should not to be relied upon as fact.
Cash, Master Card, Visa
Established in: January 2005
Sunday through Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Specializes in modern first editions in fiction, poetry, drama and literary non-fiction; rare books and special editions in art and photography; most notably known for their distinctions in literature; important titles and remarkable editions.
Purchase modern first editions and quality used books.
L, 1, 2 & 3
subway walking directions
1, 2 & 3 trains at 14th Street & 7th Avenue: walk 2 blocks west across West 12th Street to 8th Avenue; walk 1/2 block north (right) up 8th Avenue.
L train at 14th Street & 8th Avenue: walk 4 1/2 blocks south down 8th Avenue (pass Greenwich Avenue and continue walking down past Jane Street); 1/2 block past Jane Street before West 12th Street.
If you love literature, and the idea of holding a copy with the original author’s signature thrills you, then West Village’s independent bookstore Left Bank Books is full of gems. Crammed from floor to ceiling are thousands of books, books, books, in every genre one can think of: from fiction to architecture, drama to philosophy. Specializing in modern first editions, rare books, and special editions, Left Bank Books is most notably known for their distinctions in literature. Spend an afternoon browsing, and if you have a little change to spare, leave lovingly with a priceless first edition in your pocket.
Written by Shaakira Nobles | Edited by Bonnie Chan
Get a heady whiff of history by visiting Left Bank Books, a small and fiercely independent bookshop that hosts an impressive collection of literary first editions--many of them signed by their authors—in a variety of genres. Appropriately, Left Bank Books is located in Greenwich Village, a neighborhood which has been a gathering place for writers, artists, and musicians since the 20th Century’s teens. Even its name conjures up the image of Paris's Left Bank, which for centuries has been a center for artistic and bohemian life.
With its white-painted brick walls and well-worn wooden shelves crammed with thousands of rare books and novels, the bookshop is a bibliophile’s heaven. The shop's shelves are packed with a large selection of post WWI first editions, but you will find interesting books in pretty much any area. The store is arranged both by genre and kind of edition, and boasts interesting and rare books in poetry, drama, fiction, non-fiction, the fine arts and photography, as well as in fashion, design, dance, architecture, film, philosophy, psychology, history, the social sciences, travel, and New York City and local Village lore. While carrying books and editions of all kinds (not all of them rare—there is something for everyone here) in all fields, Left Bank Books is most notable for its important titles and remarkable editions of literary works.
Left Bank Books’ substantial collection stems from owner Kim Herzinger’s devoted work. A former university professor in Mississippi and a lover of literature, he bought Bookleaves, Arthur Farrier’s charming used book store on West 4th Street, in 2005, and remodeled the shop’s focus towards rare first editions. In an artistic hotbed like Greenwich Village, the store was a success, drawing many patrons who were seriously passionate about purchasing and selling great books.
In 2009, Left Bank Books faced closure, a fate that befell so many of New York's book (and other independent) shops. Luckily, thanks to a friend's lead, Herzinger was able to move the shop virtually around the corner, where it has continued to flourish to this day.
Left Bank Books is a must-visit for passionate readers: the cost of a first edition may sometimes be higher than the price of non-first editions (within the wide range of fifteen to a thousand or more dollars), but the joy of handling and owning a creation straight from its era is priceless.
The staff at the bookstore is friendly and eager to discuss literature and help customers out with browsing. For those determined to keep up with the flow of new treasures, lists of recent arrivals are consistently updated and sold through the website at leftbankbooksny.com.