126 Franklin Street, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
During my five years living in NYC, I briefly stayed in a warehouse loft a short walk away from Word for approximately six months, and I made it my business to stop in to browse their new selection of books at least every other week, if only for the atmosphere and the comfort of being in a literary space so close to “home,” no matter how temporary a home it was. I was able to get back to the old neighborhood for a visit last month and was very happy to see they were open late into the evening.
Word is the kind of bookshop you’d expect to find in Brooklyn: lots of new books on current social movements, by progressive essayists, and of course plenty of NYC-centric titles, including a killer new bio on the Beastie Boys. Word has a solid array of both bestselling fiction and the usual nonfiction categories, including political and social sciences, essays, cooking, film and media, art and design, and so on. There’s also a small but well-stocked room for children’s books, a very cozy little space. And there are plenty of gifts too, with kitschy feminist décor like nameplates and signage, and mugs and candles that display the shop’s name, as well as unique cards for all occasions.
Word also has an excellent space downstairs for events. I was able to see one a few years back when Star Wars author Chuck Wendig passed through, and it’s always a huge plus when a bookshop has a dedicated space for events with lots of seating that doesn’t otherwise disrupt the shop itself. If you pass through, be sure to look into their event listing. The shop didn’t have any discounted section, at least not so far as I could tell, so this is the type of shop you’ll want to support when that brand new hardcover you’ve been dying to buy finally comes out, rather than waiting for it to go on sale. I didn’t buy any this time as I was just passing through, but it’s a fun quick browse and they’ll cover your bases with a little Brooklyn flair.
Atmosphere — Organized and well-stocked Brooklyn bookshop with plenty of new and unique titles that lean both progressive and NYC-centric.
Quality — Excellent, all new.
Quantity — It’s not a huge shop but they cover a lot of ground.
Diversity — They cover most of the big fiction genres (mainstream, mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, etc.) and nonfiction, as well as a small room for kids.
Affordability — You’ll be paying full price. I didn’t see any discounted sections.
Amenities — They have a great event space with plenty of seating, and I recall they had free donuts on weekends when I lived there a few years back. Otherwise, just the books.
Location — They’re just a couple short blocks from the Nassau stop on the G line in Brooklyn. It’s not the easiest shop to get to for out-of-towners wandering Manhattan.
Customer Service — I didn’t have any interactions with the staff, who seemed busy talking to other patrons. Which is fine!
Overall — A lively Brooklyn shop suited more for people eager to buy that new book of essays or recent bestseller rather than deal hunters, but it’s a great spot to catch a reading or signing. A discounted section would certainly add an extra gold star to my mental ranking of NYC bookshops. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a look.