Janet Ramin - For many students, it’s back to school time. In keeping with the school rush, we’re tripping off to explore some great bookstores. A true interior designer always has an arsenal of inspirational design books at his or her fingertips - but where does one go to find good design books? An automatic answer, of course, is Amazon. But if you don’t really know what you’re looking for or if you don’t have a title or author, any book website could turn difficult to use. You may actually want to browse through some bookshelves for some guiding lights.
Here are some of my favorite bookstores to browse around on a lazy afternoon. In New York, we have Strand Books, Potterton Books, and McNally Jackson. Opened in 1927, the Strand (see photo below) is the oldest remaining independent bookseller in NYC. The Strand boasts 18 miles of books and is a favorite among booklovers. Potterton Books is located in the famous design showroom center - the D&D Building - and concentrates exclusively on books for the interior design industry. They also have a branch in the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.
Up in Boston, Ars Libri in the South End offers the largest stock in rare and out-of-print art books as well as books on architecture and the decorative arts. In Washington, DC, Kramer Books rule. In Philadelphia, the AIA (American Institute of Architects) Bookstore has a wide selection on architecture, interiors, landscaping, and furniture design. Down South, there are several branches of Books and Books in south Florida.
In the Midwest, the Chicago Architecture Foundation not only has a bookstore but they also offer tours of the city, exhibits, and gallery talks.
If you're on the west coast, meander through Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon, William Stout Architectural Books in San Francisco, and Builders Booksource in Berkeley, California. The last two deal exclusively in the design fields. In Los Angeles, there are two design & architecture bookstores: Hennessey + Ingalls and Arcana, both in sunny Santa Monica.
Besides book dealers, there are also publishers with their own brick-and-mortar bookstores. Assouline Publishers (see top photo) have a wide variety of art and design books, and they have stores in the Crystals, Las Vegas; Costa Mesa in southern California; New York; London; and Paris. Taschen Publishing also has retail stores in Miami, Los Angeles, New York, and several in Europe. Rizzoli Publications (see photo below) produces many art, fashion, and design books, and they have a store in Manhattan.
These are just a sample of the bookstores well-stocked in art and design titles. If you have any recommendations from your hometown, feel free to share your suggestions with our readers below!
Posted with permission of the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng Shui, Wedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.