You know what I love? Going into used bookstores/thrift shops in search of Tolkien items, and whenever I’m in Manhattan I always try to hit up my fave places and that’s exactly what I did yesterday. I got a total of 7 things (seen in the photo below). So I just wanted to show you all what I did, where I went, and what I found.
After getting off the Union Square stop on the 4 train, I headed straight to Alabaster Bookshop between 12th and 13th St. on 4th Ave. This place is so different from the other bookshops I’ve been to because it’s so small and PACKED with books. All the room available is devoted to books and it’s beautiful. I don’t really explore the whole place because as soon as I walk into the shop I immediately make my way over to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section in the back. This place requires you to really keep an eye out for Tolkien because there really isn’t any order to it.
I found and purchased a hardcover edition of The Hobbit with illustrations by Michael Hague, it isn’t in the best condition, okay well it’s mostly just the dust jacket. Honestly the book itself is in good shape, and all the pages are intact. Another item I found was a copy of ROTK but I didn’t end up buying it because I only allowed myself to spend so much at this place. You can see the copy I’m talking about in the fourth photo, it’s the one above The Hunger Games. The other Tolkien books are ones that I have seen many times and already own.
My next stop is Strand Bookstore because it is right around the corner of Alabaster. If you don’t know what Strand is, you should definitely check out their site! Not only do they have loads and loads of books inside, they even have a bunch of carts outside full of cheap books. This is the place to be for book lovers in NYC.
When I go to Strand I sometimes go to the second floor to check out the art book selection but usually I go there to look at the Tolkien section (surprise surprise). It’s pretty rare that I find something that I want to buy, it’s usually the same selection every time I go. But sometimes I’ll stumble across something that I am happy to find and quickly run to the cashier with it. In addition to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section, I always make sure to look at the Film/TV/Stage one because I have found many great things there. It’s where I found my copy of the The Art of Film Magic: 20 Years of Weta, The Art of The Return of the King, The Two Towers Visual Companion, and Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare. I also snagged a copy of The Princess Bride: A Celebration.
Yesterday’s visit to Strand was successful because I ended up getting four things! The first one that I found was a paperback copy of The Silmarillion, I’d never seen an edition like that in person before, it’s so nice! I got three film books for BOTFA including the visual companion, activity book, and movie storybook. In the film section I found a lot of copies of The Art of Film Magic from Weta and a brand new boxed set of it. There were also a few Hobbit Chronicles and one copy of TTT‘s visual companion, can you spot it? In the Tolkien section I found a lot of books that I don’t own but I didn’t get any of them.
Right around the corner of Strand is Forbidden Planet, an awesome store but it’s a hit-and-miss when it comes to Tolkien. Actually it’s usually a “miss.” I have found a couple LOTR items there before, they were Gollum and Smeagol Headknockers. I don’t really know what they were, I think they’re just fancy bobbleheads, I didn’t end up buying them. 98% of the time I never find any Tolkien merch besides some books. The same day I found the headknockers I saw an amazing huge sculpture of a Ringwraith on a horse. I remember it being the reason I even went into the store. But even though there isn’t much in the Middle-earth department, Forbidden Planet is still a really great and interesting place to shop.
As usual I left the shop without getting anything, but I still walked around to look at everything. I did end up finding a Smaug Funko (the special one with the yellow eyes) but I didn’t get it because well, it cost $60.
Barnes and Noble
You can’t go on a Tolkien hunt (in the U.S.) without stopping by a Barnes and Noble, right? The one I went to this week was the one in Union Square. It’s in a really cool building and there are so many floors. My hunt led me all the way to the top where the Tolkien section is where I looked at all the pretty books. I had a coupon so I ended up getting a Mirkwood journal.
I have no idea why, but this was actually the first time I went into Midtown Comics. It’s a comic shop first and foremost, but I just had to go in to see if there was anything that would peak my Tolkien interests. I went to the one on 40th St. and 7th Ave.
This place is so cool! I’m not the biggest comic geek, but I still had a good time exploring the store. I was pleasantly surprised that there was even a book section! Not much Tolkien besides a boxed set on the top and a copy of The Silmarillion. I went to the second floor and what did I find? A SMAUG FUNKO! FOR $15.99. Yeah so I got that. The second floor is amazing because of all of the figures and statues. I figured there just had to be some LOTR/Hobbit figures around so I looked everywhere. Found a kick-ass Witch-king statue that I wanted to buy but you know, it cost over $200, haha. You can’t see them well (too many people around) but I also found Gollum and Legolas figures.
This is a place I had only been to once before and I remember they only had ONE Tolkien book there. But they also have a big selection of DVDs and BookOff is where I got a DVD of TTT (widescreen/theatrical) because it was the last one I needed. I didn’t find much during my second visit, there were a lot of DVDs but I could only find one book, a copy of The Hobbit.
I know that there are TONS of other places I need to check out in NYC. Maybe one day in the future I’ll make an adventure out of it. But damn I was so tired by the time I got back home. Totally worth it though.