Best used-book store (2008)

Housing Works Used Book Café

This is sort of like trying to take account of the "best" in carrier pigeons and dodos, since there are only a handful of these outposts left. (Where do the used books disappear to now? Are they Giuliani'd, out of sight?) And "used" often gets you no more than "1/2 off," which is fine if spending $7.50 on a well-read paperback at the Strand is your idea of a bargain. With such a limited field, Housing Works Used Book Café must take the prize, with a hyper-library ambience, 45K volumes, prices that usually fall well below the 50-percent-less line, and the simple fact that the money raised goes directly to help homeless people with AIDS. They have plenty of readings and, every month, live music (which I would, amid a serious if haphazard book hunt, consider an annoyance). The days of the 50-cent used-book-buying feeding frenzy may be over in Manhattan, but nowhere else is your bibliophilic dollar put to better use.


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