In a world where books are slowly being replaced by websites, we have taken a look at those bookshops that not only remain open but shine due to their unique beauty. We have selected 10 bookshops that stand out for their architecture, the uniqueness of their style and decoration or simply for their welcoming and cosy nature. Let’s get to know them!
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
This bookshop is based in the former Grand Splendid theatre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The original installations have been conserved, maintaining the old theatre’s beauty. The building was inaugurated in 1919 and was known for its sumptuous decoration, such as its golden walls and red stage curtain. The bookshop has a spacious cafe that invites you to spend an hour or so reading or just admiring the building.
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Situated on the magical Greek island of Santorini, Atlantis Books is based in the basement of one of those typical white houses you see dotted along the coast. Any visit to this bookshop is always an enjoyable experience. You are surrounded by good books and good music, while the friendly and attentive shop assistants are always on hand to help you with any requests.
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Shakespeare & Company
This mythical bookshop is housed in the fifth district of Paris, France. Its upper floor functions as a refuge for travellers, who can sleep there in exchange for working in the bookshop. This offer was taken up by famous writers of the beat generation in the 1950s such as Ginsberg, Burroughs and Corso. Perhaps you have already seen this shop in the films Before Sunset and Midnight in Paris.
Lello e Irmão
Award-winning Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas categorised this bookshop as the “most beautiful in the world”. Based in Porto, Portugal, it provided the backdrop for the library scenes in the Harry Potter films. The building has modernist and neo-gothic features and one of its most characteristic features is its impressive central staircase.
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Cafebrería El Péndulo
This cafe-bookshop is based on two floors of a mansion house in Polanco, Mexico. It is filled with green plants and also acts as a place for meetings and concerts. It is a perfect place to spend a couple of hours reading or just talking with friends.
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Librería da Vila
Perhaps one of the most striking features of this bookshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is its yellow staircase. There is a space for children in the basement and a small auditorium for lectures and courses. Its comfy chairs and sofas make you want to sit back and relax with one of the thousands of books on sale.
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The Last Bookstore
Based in central Los Angeles, California, The Last Bookstore opened its doors for the first time in 2005. It is one of the few bookshops in the area to still buy used books and has an interesting selection of titles that are now out of circulation. It also sells new books and music and has a coffee shop.
Barter Books is based in an old railway station in Alnwick, England. This charming shop boasts high roofs, open fires, children’s toys and a model railway set that runs above visitors’ heads. There is also a mural displaying 43 writers and famous literary characters. The shop specialises in used books.
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This modern-looking bookshop in Lisbon, Portugal, asks its visitors to put technology aside for a moment and enjoy a good old fashioned read. Ler Devagar is based in an old factory and possesses a nice cafe and a wide variety of titles in every genre.
Selexyz Dominicanen is located in Maastricht in the Netherlands and stands out because it occupies an 800-year-old Dominican church. Its design and interior completely respect the style of the church and indeed the shop won the Lensvelt Prize for its interior in 2007. The owners have created a perfect space to enjoy its enormous collection of books.