We all have our favorite bookstore. That special place where you can unwind for hours without any interruptions. Perhaps your place to read is in a coffee shop, with big comfy chairs. Or, a library that includes a cozy fire place to curl up next to. Whatever your reading place–we have compiled fifteen must-see bookstores around the world. So pack your bags and get ready for a book-adventure.
1.) The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, California, United States
Courtesy of KidLitFrenzy
This downtown Los Angeles bookstore also sells records has been gaining popularity since it’s re-opening in 2011. Moving from a 970 square foot space to a 10,000 square foot establishment right down the street, The Last Bookstore is now able to cater to more people while maintaining its original décor. The store specializes in reasonably priced used books (some for just $1!) and is fully of that musty book smell that we can all appreciate. There is no set order to the store, making it almost like a scavenger hunt for some readers. But, at least there is always a new nook and cranny to explore!
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Located at: 453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
2.) Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
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Shakespeare and Company has been featured in many “must see” bookstore lists. The name of two independent bookstores in Paris, France, the first opened in 1919 and was a place writers like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Ford Madox Ford would gather in the 1920s. After closing for good in 1940, a bookshop also located on Paris’s Left Bank opened in 1951. This is the bookstore you can visit today—which has been featured in the Richard Linklater film Before Sunset, and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The shop’s décor speaks for itself, but was modeled after Sylvia Beach’s original Shakespeare and Company. In addition to being a general bookstore, Shakespeare and Company also serves as a second-hand bookstore and a reading library.
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Located at: 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
3.) Books for Cooks, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
Courtesy of Yelp
This bookstore specializing in cookbooks, though a rarity, is fairy popular in Australia. In addition to stocking almost every contemporary cookbook imaginable, they also sell vintage cookbooks with some dating back to the late 1800s. The store will also buy your old cookbooks and even magazines and journals on the subject. If your passions include reading and cooking, then this store is basically your fairytale. The store often has author events, complete with food and wine tastings (double yum!), which we at TheReadingRoom highly recommend checking out.
Courtesy of Yelp
Located at: 233 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065, Australia
4.) Cafebreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico
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In addition to this cozy bookstore selling books, patrons can also enjoy a café serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner; poetry readings; live music; and, a full bar with happy hour. While many people come for the food, with books being an afterthought, this bookstore is sure to make a book lover out of anyone. With multiple stories lined floor-to-ceiling with books, something is sure to catch the eye.
Courtesy of WordPress
Located at: Calle Alejandro Dumas 81, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco, 11560 Ciudad de México, D.F., Mexico
5.) Selexyz Bookstore, Maastricht, Holland
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Courtesy of Archilovers
Once a 13th century Dominican church, the spot now houses a beautiful bookstore. Since opening in 2005, Selexyz Bookstore has been catering to book, coffee, and architecture lovers alike. Selexyz is actually a popular Dutch chain bookstore. The cathedral boasts three-story bookshelves due to the limited floor space. The eating area next to the café features a long cross-shaped table as a tribute to the church’s history. Though we are all book-lovers here, regardless of its purpose this would definitely be something to put on your list if you ever happen to be in the neighborhood of Maastricht.
Located at: Dominikanerkerkstraat 1, 6211 CZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
6.) The Bookàbar Bookshop, Rome, Italy
Courtesy of Blogspot
Centered in the populous and tourist driven Rome, Italy, this bookstore is one you’ll definitely want to visit between your trips to the Coliseum and Trevi Fountain. The Bookàbar Bookshop brings together lovers of books and contemporary art. The bookstore is located partially inside the Exhibition Palace—which has a large space for displaying artwork. There is no shortage of culture surrounding The Bookàbar Bookshop—featuring CDs and vinyl as well. The architecture follows the modern art style—with curved ceilings draped in white. This is a definite must-see for world travelers seeking books.
Courtesy of FloorNature
Located at: via Milano 15/17, Rome, Italy
7.) The Bookworm, Beijing, China
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This expansive bookstore now has five locations in Beijing, Suzhou, and Chengdu. More than just a bookshop, The Bookworm has a library, bar, restaurant, and event space. There are many events held there including author talks. Apart from the features of the bookstore, the ambiance is warm and inviting with candles that appear to be floating in midair. A very well-done “Hogwart’s Great Hall” reference, if you ask us! With over 16,000 titles to explore, it’s sure to never disappoint.
Courtesy of TravelBlog
Located at: China, Beijing, Chaoyang, S Sanlitun Rd, 4??
8.) Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of FobiaSocial
One of the most well-known bookshops in Buenos Aires, El Ateneo is in the building of a former theater. The building has ceiling frescos and caryatids. In 2000, it was converted into a book and music shop in which seating was removed and book shelves were placed. The building has much character and still contains theater boxes and other seating where patrons can read. What makes the bookshop truly memorable is the unique carvings, beautiful ceiling, and curtains that still remain intact from its theater days.
Located at: Av. Santa Fe 1860, Piso 2, C1123AAN Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, Argentina
9.) Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece
Courtesy of Inspire With Grace
This charming bookstore located in the town famous for its white buildings and blue sea was opened by friends from Cyprus, England, and the United States in 2004. The bookstore hosts literary festivals, film screenings, book readings, and dance parties. The idea came when store owners were traveling in Santorini in 2002 and couldn’t find any other books in English. They then decided to model the bookshop after Shakespeare & Company, mentioned earlier in this post, which supplies books in English to Paris.
Courtesy of Atlantis Books
Located at: Oia, Santorini, T.K. 84702, Kyklades, Greece
10.) Bart’s Books, Ojai, California, United States
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Bart’s Books is the largest independent outdoor bookstore in the United States. And, where else could one have such a bookstore besides California? The bookstore originated in 1964 when Richard Bartinsdale, overwhelmed by the amount of books he had, put cases on the sidewalk for people to “buy” books. Placing a coffee can atop the bookcases for people to pay, Bart started one of the first honor book systems. Now, slightly bigger than a few cases on the sidewalk—Bart’s is a place people can come to enjoy the good weather and a great book.
Courtesy of Tate Street High Society & Co.
Located at: 302 W Matilija St, Ojai, CA 93023
11.) McNally Jackson Bookshop (McJ Books), New York, New York, United States
Hailing from TheReadingRoom’s neck of the woods, McNally Jackson Bookshop is an adorable independent bookstore in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. The store features flying books suspended from the ceiling of the delicious café. They host a full slate of events including poetry readings, author book signings, and artist conversations. An interesting feature of this bookshop is its printing press. The shop now has an Espresso Book Machine where you can self-publish, essentially turning your work into an actual book.
Located at: 52 Prince St, New York, NY 10012
12.) VVG Something, Taipei, Taiwan
VVG Something is a cozy bookshop located in Taiwan and has the feel of someone’s living room. According to Anglo Italian, it is like, “someone’s age old living room full of ornaments in pottery, metal and plastic, where everything has its place and the armchair is warm and worn in.” According to visitors it has a museum feel—making you curious about every typewriter and book that is on display. The books in the store range from cooking, fine arts, poetry, and travel. The eclectic bookstore is definitely something to check out if you’re every wandering around Taiwan.
Courtesy of Afar
Located at: No. 13?, Alley 40, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Rd, Daan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
13.) Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colorado, United States
Courtesy of Nancy Christie
The independent bookstore located in Boulder, Colorado hosts community meetings and visits from big name authors each year. The neighborhood shop has three floors, containing over 100,000 titles. Although fairly large for an independent bookstore, it has a wide selection without being corporately owned—a trait that some people value in smaller, local bookstores. Located on the bustling Pearl Street in downtown Boulder, there are a variety of other independent bookstores to choose from—so why not go bookstore hopping!
Courtesy of Where is Boulder Colorado
Located at: 1107 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302
14.) Faulkner House Books, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Owners of William Faulkner’s former residence transformed its first floor into a bookshop. The yellow house on Pirate Alley housed Faulkner in 1924, before the fame of The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying. In 1990, the house was bought and restored—opening the bookstore the same year. The owners have also founded the Pirate Alley Faulkner Society that sponsors a words and music conference in New Orleans every year. If you’re lucky, you may get a whiff of Faulkner’s pipe smoke—as he is rumored to still have a presence in the house.
Courtesy of Grantland
Located at: 624 Pirate’s Alley, New Orleans, LA 70116
15.) Daunt Books, London, United Kingdom
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Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street was previously an Edwardian bookshop and antiquarian bookshop—completed in 1912. Bought by James Daunt in 1990, the store focuses on first-hand titles—specifically travel materials. Perfect for those interested in exploring different parts of the world, the store is arranged geographically. It also has organized author talks and discussions frequently. What really catches the reader’s eye is the beautiful array of books organized on two stories with symmetrical bannisters encasing the upstairs and looking down upon the first floor.
Courtesy of Student Beans
Located at: 83 Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QW, United Kingdom