Home Culture This 3-Story Bookstore in Montclair is One of the Largest in the Tri-State Area

This 3-Story Bookstore in Montclair is One of the Largest in the Tri-State Area

by Olivia Fisher
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The Montclair Book Center is located at 221 Glenridge Avenue and is Montclair’s largest independent bookseller and one of the largest in the Tri-State area. It’s home to a 10,000-square-foot space featuring thousands of books and numerous music options. This spot has a little something for almost everyone and can be enjoyed rain or shine. Read on to learn more about the Montclair Book Center.

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A Bookstore for All

Montclair Book Center is a community-oriented bookstore located at 221 Glenridge Avenue with three stories of books, CDs, vinyl records, puzzles, posters, t-shirts, and cassettes. This spot is full of dozens of bookcases which create a maze allowing visitors to explore and get lost in. Guided by quirky and unique handwritten signs, this spot is organized and arranged by category, allowing for endless browsing.

The Ivy at Chatham

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Opened by Peter Ryby, this shop has been a part of the downtown Montclair scene since late 1984. It was initially opened as a branch of the Passaic Book Center, which no longer exists, and was both a bookstore and a comic book shop.

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The first two floors here feature almost exclusively books. Patrons can search Montclair Book Center’s catalog here. Categories include Cooking + Drinking, Law, Parenting, Poetry, Fitness, Humor, Outdoors, Religion, Travel, and dozens of others.

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The basement is where music lovers can feed their cravings. At the top of the staircase, visitors will find an Elvis shrine that carries one to a colossal amount of CDs, DVDs, cassettes, and vinyl records. There are also a few books.

An Example of the Catalog

This shop has over 50 categories. History lovers can find books about WEIRD NJ, Civil Rights, Latin America, Guinness Records, Maps, US Politics, and the Military. Those interested in learning about the Garden State might be interested in New Jersey Women in World War II by Patricia Chappine and Clifton (NJ) (Images of America) by Philip M. Read.

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Near the front entrance is the “Now Playing” section displaying current and future movie and TV adaptations. In February, the shop displayed Killers of the Flower Moon, Argyle, All the Light We Cannot See, Wicked, Wonka, and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.



Donating Books

The Montclair Book Center accepts donations of books which can be traded for in-store used-book credit. The credit doesn’t expire and is stored in their computer system. Patrons are encouraged to call ahead if interested in donating books. Donations are typically not accepted on weekends. The Montclair Book Center is most interested in Philosophy, Esoterica, Spirituality, and paperback fiction books. Materials not accepted for donation include magazines, encyclopedias, textbooks, dated reference items, and modern hardcore fiction (except Stephen King novels).

Upcoming Events

On Saturday, May 11th from 2PM to 4PM is a presentation by local author Helen Lippman on her new book To Newark with Love. Her book To Newark with Love: A City, a Family, a Life (America Through Time) includes prose and personal essays about Newark where she recounts the experiences of her parents and grandparents, anti-Semitism, the Red Scare, and institutional and personal racism that shaped policies and relationships throughout her life. Register for the event here.

On Saturday, September 14th from 2PM to 4PM guests can meet Gary Myers and Ottis Anderson of the 1986 NY Giants at Montclair Book Center for a meet and greet. Click here to get tickets for the event.

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Looking ahead to spooky season, guests can embrace the Halloween spirit, and prepare for an evening of heart-pounding scares and devilish delights at the Montclair Book Center. This event, the Haunted Labyrinth, is a delightfully frightening experience on Friday October 25th, and Saturday the 26th. The event runs from 7PM to 11PM. Click here to purchase tickets.


The Montclair Book Center is closed on Mondays. The spot is open from 10AM to 5PM Tuesday and Wednesday, 10AM to 7PM Thursday to Saturday, and 11AM to 6PM on Sunday.

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