As any budding bibliophile knows: get thee to a used bookstore. Freed of the necessity of shilling the best-selling and the just-released, a used bookstore feels almost like an artistic statement, a carefully-curated selection that speaks both to the tastes of its owner and the surprise of what arrives in the moment. Browsing results in moments of serendipity, when novels you’ve spent years looking for jump into your grasp, but might be superseded by a work you’ve never seen before. And it’s possible to take this chance on an unknown philosopher or a poet you’ve heard plenty about when their books are marked at a third or even a half below the suggested price.
The Hudson Valley has an incredible selection of used bookstores, fairly priced and run by readers with excellent taste. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the best:
This local mainstay is hidden away, just a couple blocks from the capitol, with deals on sets and hardcovers. It’s closed on Mondays and the first 7 days of every month.
296 Hudson Ave, Albany
Any bibliophile’s dream, this hidden jewel crams thousands of books on every imaginable subject (poetry, sports history, folklore, mycology) in an honest-to-goodness barn, tucked on a dirt road among fields and trees. It’s a trek, but absolutely worth it.
467 Rodman Rd, Hillsdale
The store offers an expertly curated selection of 20th century world literature, with a particular focus on mid-century modernists. It’s on the pricier side, but the books are high-quality and typically in great shape.
321 Main St, Beacon
Photo by Karen Cinquemani of H.A.S Beane Bookshop
Hidden right in the center of town, this shop is open blink-and-you’ll-miss-it hours, but it’s worth the visit for a substantial collection of cut-price hardcovers.
7472 S Broadway, Red Hook
Located behind the Boardman Branch Library is a shop dedicated to selling used books for usually less than $2. The shop has over 20,000 book, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks to choose from, and all are donated by the local community. Stop in on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday to see what you can find.
141 Boardman Rd, Poughkeepsie
This tiny used bookshop next-door to the Howland Public Library operates as a satellite space that donates funds back to the library. Book donations that are in good condition are welcomed, but they must be brought to Beacon Reads during business hours.
309 Main St, Beacon
Constantly changing and expanding, Magpie offers not only a great, consistently-refreshed selection of paperbacks, but also live music, readings from local authors, and a friendly puppy behind the desk.
392 Main St, Catskill
Located in the quaint town of Montgomery, this book shop offers anything from cheap new reads to expensive works of literature. Visit the shop on Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays.
Right across from the cemetery, this antiquarian bookstore stocks many rare and out-of-print titles as well as unique editions. Plus, it’s great for fair prices and online ordering.
11 Peekskill Rd, Nelsonville
Photo courtesy of Antipodean Books Maps & Prints
This bookstore has a substantial selection of rare works, as well as vintage prints and maps, per the name. It’s a top pick for the specialist.
29-31 Garrisons Landing, Garrison
Orson the Bookstore Cat at the hardcover section of Down in Denver Books
Photo by Louise Hendry
Paperbacks, trade fiction, cookbooks, hardcovers: DiD doesn’t discriminate. This historic house in the center of Stephentown has been rewarded by the American Booksellers Association for its selection.
874 Rte 43, Stephentown
This shop is a book lover’s dream. Upon entering, visitors are surrounded by books from floor to ceiling. If, by chance, you don’t find the book you are looking for, just let the staff know and they’ll hunt around to have it for you when you stop by next.
8 South Broadway, Nyack
Photo courtesy of Whitney Book Corner
All proceeds from this local favorite benefit the Schenectady library system. All books are 50 percent off between 4 and 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month, and check the website for additional, themed sales.
600 Union St, Schenectady
Photo by Angela Dutcher, Executive Director of Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County
This bookstore is run by the Literacy Volunteers of Sullivan County, and all sales benefit the group’s programs for help with Adult Literacy, English as a Second Language, and Citizen Test Preparation.
63 North St, Monticello
Head here for substantial non-fiction and religion sections as well as a small number of new titles and CDs. Curl up in a comfy chair with a tea or coffee from the attached café while you’re at it. There is a small branch in New Paltz, without a café.
200 Main St, Saugerties
This old house in the center of Saugerties focuses on vintage publications, whether hardcovers, first editions, or thrift printings of classic works, as well as antiques and prints. Don’t miss the first-rate fantasy and sci-fi section, hidden in the bathroom.
97 Partition St, Saugerties
Owner Jessica has an incredible sense for good books and better deals, and her shop is packed with many vintage finds, as well as substantial collections from niche publishers like New Directions and New York Review Books. Look for rare hardcovers and a thrift shop in the basement. The store also buys books on credit.
35 N Front St, Kingston
Rhino stocks a small but exquisitely-curated selection of paperbacks and classic hardcovers, with a focus on 20th century European fiction and poetry. There is also a smaller branch in New Paltz.
6 N Front St, Kingston, NY 12401
Photo Courtesy of Barner Books
Widely considered the original New Paltz bookstore, the shop is packed full of syllabus mainstays offloaded by broke students. Make sure to check out the poetry section. If you’re looking to unload, Barner pays cash for used books.
3 Church St, New Paltz
Jack’s is another record store that punches above its weight in terms of selection. The constantly-refreshed collection will suit any adventurous English major just fine, with substantial non-fiction selections.
54 Main St, New Paltz
Photo courtesy of Riverrun Books & Manuscripts
This purveyor of fine and vintage books publishes its own catalogs, which are worth perusing if you want a sense of the sort of works the store sells. It’s open on Saturday afternoons, so plan accordingly.
12 Washington Ave, Hastings-On-Hudson
Open since 1993, the beloved Peekskill bookstore stocks used, out of print, and rare books, along with CDs, movies, and records. If you’re looking for reads about maps, history, or the Hudson Valley, Bruised Apple is the place to be. It’s also so cozy inside that you may never want to leave.
923 Central Ave, Peekskill