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The Bookstore Bucket List

1. Powell’s Books in Portland, Oregon

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Readers from all over the country flock to this popular, independent bookstore. Since its establishment in 1971, Powell’s has become a must-see for any booklovers traveling through the Northwest U.S. Powell’s also claims that it is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world.

 

2. Abbey’s Bookshop in Sydney, Australia


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Journey to Australia to find a treasure trove of books you never knew existed. Abbey’s looks at what its buyers are reading and expertly finds more books to match their taste, allowing them to discover more books to fall in love with. This store has the perfect selection for those interested in history, science, crime fiction or literature.

 

3. The Monkey’s Paw in Toronto, Canada

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Not only is this Canadian bookstore the best stop for assorted, eclectic books, but it’s also home to the Biblio-Mat—a coin-operated vending machine filled with old books. The Biblio-Mat pops out an antique novel at random, and it only costs $2!

 

4. Barter Books in Alnwick, England

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A great pit stop for travelers driving between London and Edinburgh, Barter Books has everything from an open fireplace during the Winter to a buffet, murals, a model railway, and more. As one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain, this is a must-visit.

 

5. Tell A Story in Portugal

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The Tell a Story book van drives around the country selling books that have been written in Portugal on-the-go. Catch the van and read an original, Portuguese story.

 

6. Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway, Ireland

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This self-proclaimed best loved independent bookshop in Ireland stocks over 100,000 new, bargain and secondhand books. As a cultural center in Galway, Charlie Byrne’s has hosted well-known Irish writers and musicians. 

7. Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness, Scotland


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A café with delicious food, vintage prints and two-stories of books makes Leakey’s worth the stop. Enter the door and you’ll find yourself in a magical world of books to browse to your heart’s content.

 

8. Livraria da Vila in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Elegant, sleek design is rare to find in a good bookstore, so you’ll be amazed when you wander into Livraria da Vila. With a storefront made of revolving bookcases and bookshelves from floor to ceiling, this shop is a rare artistic find.

 

9. The Book Barge in Lichfield (and environs), England

 

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In 2009, a 60’ cruiser stern narrowboat set sail in Britain’s canals with the mission to curate and make to order books. Sarah Henshaw, The Book Barge’s founder, has also published a book about her journey on the boat, and you can even rent it out for parties and other events!

 

10. Libreria Alta Acqua in Venice, Italy

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Large selections of new and used books cover this store’s innovative shelving, which ranges from boats to gondolas. Some of the books are even used as furniture, giving this bookshop a wonderful atmosphere.

 

11. Wellfleet Bookstore and Restaurant in Wellfleet, Massachusetts


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This family-run restaurant and bookstore sits next to a beautiful harbor, making it possible to grab a book and read while enjoying delicious seafood. We’re sold! They’ve got new, used, and rare books for sale.

 

12. Carturesti Carusel, “Carousel of Light” in Bucharest, Romania

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Nestled in the capital of Romania, this 6-level bookstore provides a space to read, enjoy an art gallery, and more. Built in the 19th century, this ancient building closed and has finally reopened after a quarter of a century.

 

13. The World’s Smallest Bookstore in Toronto, Canada

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On a country road North of Toronto is the self-proclaimed World’s Smallest Bookstore. It’s about 10ft by 10ft with popular books selling for only three dollars each, all sold on the honor system. Visit this quirky bookshop and be sure to pick up a complimentary handbill titled “Why I Love Books.”

 

14. Rizzoli Bookstore in New York, New York

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Rizzoli has been around for about fifty years, specializing in illustrated subjects and literature, and has remained an indie bookstore favorite. They’ve got plenty of other genres as well, and it’s worth it to visit this well-known shop if you’re in the Big Apple.

 

15. Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C.

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Political buffs won’t want to miss this D.C. bookstore and coffeehouse. With an expert staff and a history of attracting famous speakers such as Bill Clinton and J.K. Rowling, this shop is an integral part of D.C. culture.

 

16. Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado

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This bookstore has been in business for over 40 years and hosts more than 400 live appearances by authors, illustrators, and public figures every year, and provides an ample supply of new and used books. Owner Joyce Meskis is a known promoter of the rights of readers in America.

 

17. The Book Loft in Columbus, Ohio

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A group of pre-Civil War era buildings including a former saloon and a nickelodeon cinema now house shelves of books. There are 32 rooms for booklovers to explore and browse through some of the best bargain books in Ohio.

 

18. Bertrand Bookstore in Lisbon, Portugal

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Bertrand opened in 1732 and it’s managed to survive for over 280 years, earning it the title of the world’s oldest bookstore. While the original store was destroyed in an earthquake in 1755, it still managed to last throughout the years.

 

19. Borderlands Books in San Francisco, California

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A must-see for sci-fi, fantasy, or horror readers, this store only sells those genres in order to cover them thoroughly. They have both new and used books, and even promise to stay open as late as you need if you come in five minutes before closing.

 

20. 1200 Bookshop in Guangzhou, China

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Open 24 hours and offering free lodging for backpackers, 1200 Bookshop hasn’t been open for long, but it has managed to survive despite its lofty goal of remaining open all day. There’s a café as well, so you can sip on coffee all through the night with a good book.