As New York City’s bookstores dwindle (the former Barnes and Noble on 6th Ave still sits empty five years later and Three Lives on 10th street just narrowly survived), the staying power of Strand serves as a testament to its status as a literary landmark, a mecca to the city’s anti-corporate consumers.
Founded in 1927, the independently-run store has sat at its four-story flagship location, just two blocks south of Union Square, since 1956. Ever since, it has drawn something of a cult following—Strand caps, tote bags, and pins with clever literary references dot the sidewalks and subways acting as a symbol of local pride and intellectualism. The store’s street-level floor sees a constant rotation of selected books by some of the industry’s most prominent writers. Store employees make their picks, too, and they’re just as trusted.
As the go-to place for books in NYC, we asked Strand about their ten bestselling books (they stock close to 2.5 million at any given time), which offer a glimpse into the Big Apple mentality and a reflection of television’s effect on literature consumption. It should come as no surprise that Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, which was adopted into a Golden Globe-nominated Hulu series, makes the list.
Read it in full below: