If you want to give your credit card a break, however, here are several free book exhibits on display across the city:
The Grolier Club, 47 East 60th St, is opening its doors with two exhibits on display: Images of Value: The Artwork Behind U.S. Security Engraving 1830s-1980s, (see image) which surveys 150 years of images in watercolor drawings, prints, photographs, and oil paintings that were used as engraving subjects by US bank note firms, largely from the collection of Mark D. Tomasko. (For more on this exhibit, check out a New York Times article). Head up to the second floor for For Art's Sake: The Aesthetic Movement in Print and Beyond from the Collection of Eric Holzenberg. The free exhibits are open to the public Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
At The Center for Book Arts, 28 W. 27th St., 3rd floor, you can visit Pulp as Portal: Socially Engaged Hand-Papermaking, an exhibition that features "the artist's book--specifically bookworks, publications, zines, and printed matter--as both artwork and outcome." While you're there, you can also check out Chantal Zakari: Narratives of Conflict (in collaboration with Mike Mandel).
The Metropolitan Musem of Art, 1000 5th Ave, has a special exhibit on the "heritage and allure" of Parade de cirque, painted in 1887-88 by Georges Seurat, featuring more than 100 paintings, drawings, prints, period posters, and illustrated journals, supplemented by musical instruments and an array of documentary material. (While technically free, the Met does have suggested admission rates).
Image: Alonzo E. Foringer. [Standing female with wheat and scythe]. Oil on canvas, 30 x 30." For American Bank Note Company, 1927. Collection of Mark D. Tomasko.