Despite competition from behemoths like Amazon, independent bookstores are thriving. A recent American Booksellers Association report found that since 2009, the number of independent bookshops has increased 31 percent. Sales have also grown in the last five years.

This growth is partially because some want to shop locally, but it’s also because these brick and mortars offer a community space. On top of author readings, local bookstores can offer speed-dating events, music classes, and more chances to link up with like-minded individuals.

In New York, we’ve seen a few Latinx-owned bookstores crop up. These businesses not only have books that reflect our communities, they’re also finding ways to speak to our needs.

Below, check out five Latinx-run bookstores in New York.

 

1

Librería Barco de Papel

El actor Sebastián Ospina protagonizo una noche inolvidable de memorias , teatro y poesía Este Sábado 15 de Abril el…

Posted by Libreria Barco de Papel on Sunday, April 16, 2017

There aren’t too many Spanish-language bookstores in New York, but Librería Barco de Papel, located in Queens, has provided that service since 2003. Owner Ramón Caraballo wanted to give Spanish speakers in Queens a way to connect to their culture. “The main function is more than just selling books,” he said, according to a Medium post.

He wants to show people our communities’ “riches, our cultural values” while also encouraging growth.

Librería Barco de Papel
40-03 80 St., Elmhurst, New York 11373

2

Café Con Libros

Photo by Destiny Mata for Remezcla

In Crown Heights, Café Con Libros is the space Afro-Latina owner Kalima DeSuze dreamt up to provide a source of community in the middle of a neighborhood that continues to gentrify. “I want to see multiple identities being comfortable sitting and hanging out with one another and connecting across differences,” she told Remezcla.

Café Con Libros
724 Prospect Place, Brooklyn, NY 11216

3

Mil Mundos

Mil Mundos Books is a Spanish- and English-language bookshop in Bushwick. Started by Maria Herron, who previously worked at Bluestockings Bookstore, felt it was necessary to create a space that represented the community.

“During a time where engaging with real estate feels completely inaccessible, and entire neighborhoods are being offered up by our elected officials to tech companies bargaining for the best cash deal, we at Mil Mundos feel there is no better option than to hold ground, and insist on making a space where Black and Latinx heritage can be celebrated and explored,” the sites Our Story section reads.

Mil Mundos
323 Linden St., Brooklyn, NY 11237

4

The Lit. Bar

The Lit. Bar will soon be the only book store in the Bronx. Noëlle Santos, an Afro-Latina from the neighborhood, has worked on this project for the last few years.

The shop’s grand opening will take place on April 27 at noon.

5

Word Up

View this post on Instagram

Word Up is a space for the community. We are always warmed to see neighbors using the bookshop as a spot to meet up wih friends, and sometimes even give a quick drawing lesson in the crevices of our events calendar bookings!⁣ ⁣ Word Up es un espacio para la comunidad. ¡Siempre estamos encantados de ver a los vecinos usando la librería como un lugar para reunirse con amigos, y a veces incluso dar una lección de dibujo rápido en las grietas de nuestras reservas de calendario de eventos!⁣ (fs)⁣ ⁣ #wordupbooks #inwood #washhts #washingtonheights #harlem #bronx #uptownnyc #elalto #northernmanhattan #uppermanhattan #newyorkcity #nyc #nuevayork #nycbookstores #washingtonheightsevents #uptownevents #artsandculture #bookcommunity #community⁣ ⁣ ⁣

A post shared by Word Up Community Bookshop (@wordupbooks) on

Veronica Liu founded Word Up Community Bookshop / Librería Comunitaria. While she’s not Latinx – Liu is of Filipino heritage – the store is operated by more than 60 people in Washington Heights, many of whom are Latinos. Word Up began as a pop-up shop in 2011, and because of demand and support, it has continued to grow.

Word Up
2113 Amsterdam Avenue (at 165th St.), New York, NY 10032


Editor’s note: This entry was edited to change Liu’s position. She is the founder and general coordinator, but the bookstore is owned by the public.