Book Culture is an independent community bookstore located on 112th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New York City.
Why we’re here
Over time, huge changes affecting publishing and the book business have altered how book selling works. But one aspect vital to Book Culture remains the same—there isn’t enough diversity in the representation of books and ideas. This is especially true of scholarly books, academic disciplines and all the subtle and rare variety of published thought and expression that exists.
We’re here to offer a book shop where you can browse and discover the widest range of publications in the arts and humanities that we can realistically carry. We have created a space for extensive representation of new books in areas you won’t see elsewhere. We fulfill the essential role of being an independent source for ideas and literary art. A visit to our store will energize your mind and remind you of the awesome scope of positive human intellectual and literary endeavor.
Our first floor, dedicated to new publications, organized by subject, is a singularly wonderful book experience. Our second floor extends the possibilities with an extensive selection of backlist titles, remainders and rotating bargain books.
Book Culture was founded as Labyrinth Books in 1997 by current owner Chris Doeblin and his partner at the time Cliff Simms. In the summer of 2007, Book Culture became a completely independent company when Doeblin bought out his partners. Chris began his career in the early ‘80’s with a brief stint selling books for Papyrus book store at 114th and Broadway, and then as the receiving clerk in the basement of the old Book Forum which was located across from the main gate of Columbia on Broadway. In those days you could eat Chinese at Moon Palace or get egg creams and comic books at the Mill Luncheonette, people didn’t want to walk over to Columbus Ave. and nobody wanted to park on Riverside Drive. In the summers, this neighborhood was a ghost town, and bikers—the Harley kind— ruled the West End.
When the Book Forum operation began to falter, Doeblin set out with his partner and founded Great Jones Books, a scholarly book wholesaler located in Yonkers. At the same time, beginning in 1995, a project was set upon to open an academic bookstore to serve the community that they knew well and had served for a decade. Jonathan Cole, Columbia’s Provost at the time shared that vision and with his help, by 1997, the bookshop had opened doors in a Columbia-owned space here on 112th Street, in a building built for the Post Office and the store. Fifteen years later, this locally-owned independent book business continues to thrive.
Read more about us in an article that appeared in Bookselling This Week.