By: Erin Konrad
If you’re a book lover, you probably check out bookstores whenever you hit up a new city. Here’s a list of the 10 best bookstores around the world, so you can get your literary fix in whatever part of the globe you find yourself in.
- Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, California
The Last Bookstore is the largest bookstore in California with over 200,000 books to choose from. The space, located in downtown LA, was originally a bank – some of the old vaults are now filled with books! One of the biggest draws is how the books are displayed. There are sculptures made of books and some of the passageways even have books on the ceiling. The other amazing thing? The Labyrinth Above the Last Bookstore section on the mezzanine level has over 100,000 books that are all only $1 each! Talk about a book lover’s dream.
- Shakespeare and Company in Paris, France
This bookshop on Paris’s Left Bank opened back in 1951 and was named after a previous store that famous authors (like Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce) visited back in the 1920s. The current location became a hangout for other visionaries like Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs and has since grown to be one of the most popular independent bookstores in the world.
- The Strand in New York City, New York
The Strand, on Broadway and 12th Street, has blossomed over the years into a mecca for book lovers, with a selection of over 2.5 million new, used, and rare titles. Plus, with tons of events, book signings, and writing workshops, The Strand offers something for everyone.
- Librairie Avant-Garde in Nanjing, China
It turns out people can make bookstores out of any type of location. The Librairie Avant-Garde 43,000-square-foot space used to be a bomb shelter! It was then converted into an underground parking lot. The beautiful bookstore now holds a huge selection with a special checkout counter made of thousands of books. It also serves as a library space for readers, with more than 300 reading chairs set up around the space.
- Cafebreria El Pendulo in Mexico City, Mexico
This chain bookstore in Mexico City features more than just an incredible book selection. It also offers many events, including live music, comedy shows, and readings. The location in Zona Rosa is a standout because of its Bukowski’s Piano Bar (a tribute to writer Charles Bukowski).
- Powell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon
Powell’s is another bookstore that used to have an entirely different usage. The location used to be a car dealership – now that it’s been converted, it still takes up a whole city block and offers more than 1 million books, making it the largest new and used bookstore in the world. Powell’s also provides a little more structure than some other huge shops. Each section is separated into nine color-coded rooms. Titles are also displayed in both new and used editions side by side on the shelf, so you can easily figure out which one best fits your budget.
- Barter Books in Alnwick, United Kingdom
Another unusual choice for a bookstore is a former Victorian railway station, like the one that houses Barter Books. The shop stays true to its origin with miniature trains that go around the shelves. Barter Books also played an interesting part in history by discovering the famous World War II poster “Keep Calm and Carry On.” The shop maintains its unique vibe with a cozy atmosphere, complete with fireplaces in winter and comfortable seats for customers to curl up with their books.
- Livraria Lello in Porto, Portugal
This former library is one of the more glamorous looking bookstores. With an elaborate red staircase, a stained-glass atrium, and gorgeous ceilings, it’s easy to get distracted by the surroundings. There’s also incredible history attached to the Livraria Lello – it was established in 1881! The store currently carries over 100,000 books, including editions in various languages and many antique selections.
- Boekhandel Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands
One of the oldest bookstores in the world is Boekhandel Dominicanen. At over 11,000 square feet, the bookstore was formerly a Dominican church built in the 1200s. Before becoming a bookshop, the location was used for everything from children’s carnivals to concerts from the Maastricht City Orchestra. Now, there are over 40,000 available titles (in a variety of languages) and an awesome selection of literary events every year.
- El Ateneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Love movies as much as books? El Ateneo is the perfect bookstore for you! The location was originally built as a theater in 1919 and was then converted to a cinema about 10 years later. Then, in 2010, El Ateneo became a bookstore, while still retaining the balconies, curtain, and painted ceilings of the theater atmosphere. The Guardian even voted it one of the most beautiful bookstores in the entire world!
If seeing the coolest bookstores around the world is on your bucket list, check out these picks! And don’t forget to add your pics to BUCKiTDREAM and your Facebook, Twitter, and Insta!