424 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY
Northshire Books began as a big, gorgeous bookstore out in Manchester, Vermont, but about five years back they opened a satellite branch in Saratoga Springs, NY, a beautiful little city known for horseracing, summer concerts at SPAC, and a bustling downtown filled with cafes, restaurants, and shops of all sorts. Northshire Bookstore may appear to be a smaller shop from the sidewalk, but it’s a lot bigger than expected and has all the diversity, discounts, and fun extras of the parent store. And it’s an excellent addition to an already fun downtown experience.
Just inside the door, you’ll find a half-off table to the left, all recent titles, alongside other tables and displays of gifts and Saratoga-themed souvenirs. To the right of the door are the walls and tables of new releases, staff selections, books in the media, and big bestsellers, along with shelves of magazines and literary journals—always nice to see!
As you move back there are large sections for local interest and history, travel and language books, biography, current events, history, a clothing section, art/film/theater titles, etc. Plenty to look at, lots to take in. A small side area on the left separated by a wall has health, new age, holistic, and food titles. Further back you hit the large fiction areas in the rear. This is where I typically head, as they have a plenty of mystery/crime books and walls of general fiction, and each area has discounted titles mixed in and in their own displays. The very rear has some seating, more gifts, records, lots of cards, and areas for gardening, science, psychology, and so on. The shop really does have a little bit of everything.
Upstairs is mainly children’s books, and there are a TON of them, with displays and shelves that have titles for any age and style, from picture books, early readers, YA, and all manner of youth- and education-focused nonfiction. They have toys and games too, and a big model train set that pulled me in for a while as I scanned the little details and watched the train go round and round. Your kids will have a lot of fun exploring the upstairs while you roam the rest of the store.
All in all, this is an excellent extension of the big main store out in Vermont (which I’ll be posting about soon), and it’s a must visit if you’re in Saratoga Springs.
Atmosphere — A bustling bookshop selling new titles with plenty of discounted areas and gifts galore.
Quality — All new, all in excellent shape.
Quantity — It’s a bigger shop than you might expect upon walking in. Keep wandering and don’t forget to go upstairs!
Diversity — There’s a great array of genres, topics, gifts, and more. An excellent mix, and they even have some nice literary journals in the small magazine area.
Affordability — While many are regular price, there are enough discounted and half off books to make it a worthwhile visit.
Amenities — I didn’t see a coffee shop in here like their main branch has, but there were plenty of seats, an elevator, and play areas for kids.
Location — Right on the main strip in downtown Saratoga, a quaint and busy little city about thirty to forty minutes north of Albany (depending on how fast you drive).
Customer Service — The staff were friendly, and there were a number of them, but we didn’t interact too much.
Overall — An excellent and busy shop that strives to offer much more than just books. It’s always a fun experience, and I rarely leave either branch without buying something, a book, a sticker, a pin, something. Check them out and look out for their many events!