“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’
So what if you’re already travelling, does that mean you should get another book? Undoubtedly, like many, I know of the world by flipping through books and seeing it from the eyes of others. Have you ever thought that the h(e)aven for all your books could actually be a world on its own?
Despite the indispensability of the internet and E books, every reader would love a good old fashioned print media. Those dog eared books passed down from generations ago, awkward yet addictive smelling scent, and crumbly, yellow pages that are threatening to fall off the bind.
These 20 bookshops around the world will expose you to a whole new hideout of myths, minimalism, culture, and even extravagance at no cost.
Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece
The quirky designs of the quotations on the walls and doors will draw you into a magical cave of impressive selection of books in many different languages. Located in the basement of one of Santorini’s white houses is a renowned bookstore founded in 2004 by a group of international travelling buddies. It’s a whole new world of sheer delight for lovers of the written word.
Honesty Bookshop, Hay on Wye, Wales
This county is a biblioholic paradise. A page of heaven on Earth, every winding lane lies a unique bookstore. Imagine a fire station turned into a bookstore, or cinema. How about a castle with million books everywhere? (Picture above) Be sure not to miss their annual literary festival!
Libreria Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy
Feel yourself floating in euphoria, maybe literally as there are occasional flooding from the canal, when you enter this shop with a huge selection of new and used books in special shelvings such as boats, canoes, and gondolas. Right smack in the middle of the shop is a gondola filled with books!
Climb up the stairs made from books that will lead to the back of the bookstore that overlooks the canal.
Happy Valley, Melbourne, Australia
Benching itself on practicality and affordability, Happy Valley is not exactly a bookstore but a gallery space of designs, books, and art. It is stocked with Australian designs that you may not find anywhere else.
Another Country, Berlin, Germany
Messy and unpredictable, just like the book choice of every reader, Another Country is an English language second hand bookshop that propagates British culture - English film club, TV nights, and dinner nights. Works like a library too, when you return the purchased book, you’ll only get charged a loan fee of £1.50.
Sappho Book, Cafe and Wine Bar, Sydney, Australia
Home not only to many out-of-print and impossible-to-find books, but also a wide range of art, literature, history, politics, religion, philosophy, foreign language, and modern & contemporary fiction.
At the rear of the bookshop is Sydney’s popular Sappho’s wine & tapas bar. As if the place suffers from schizophrenia, it loosens up to a perfect leisure place to hangout with cocktails of literary names and live bands at night.
Word on water, London, England
London’s only floating secondhand bookstore that floats your boat. It travels between Camden Lock, Angel, Hackney, and Paddington; stopping two weeks at each. Don’t miss the random live music shows and poetry readings.
Librarie Avant Garde, Nanjing, China
Right beside Nanjing University is a 3780 square-meter underground space beneath Wutaishan Stadium, previously a bomb shelter, then government carpark. This well known independent bookstore, another world hidden from the bustling of the city of Nanjing, has inevitably become a second library for the students.
Boek Handel Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, Netherlands
This 700 years old original Dominican Church is easily hailed as the world’s most beautiful bookstore, if not architectures. Thankfully it was abandoned and neglected during the 1794 invasion. Apart from the cross shaped table in the choir cafe, the 3 storey high bookshelves inserted with stairs and escalator is its centrepiece.
Livraria Lello & Irmao, Porto, Portugal
Donned in marvelous stairway and intricately carved wooden walls, this is one of the oldest bookstores in Portugal. Sheltering more than 60,000 books, it is rumoured to be J.K Rowlings’ inspiration for her Harry Potter’s series when she lived in Porto.
Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium
Pick your favourite food, with an added pleasure of food and enter a room full of books; each with different theme. Cook and Book not only caters to the visual lovers but those with audio inclinations with a music corner.
Plural Bookstore, Bratislava, Slovakia
This former knit factory morphed into a bookstore contains a flexible space that not only sell books but facilitate various events - readings, minor concerts, workshops, etc. Truly a paradise for minimalistic architecture admirers.
Candide Books and Cafe, Bangkok, Thailand
Despite the shift from Phra Nakon to Thonburi, Candide retains its coffeeshop-bookstore concept. Upgrading their cafe menu, they now offer a classic selection of tasty coffee. This warm and homely bookstore is the brainchild of writer, editor and publisher Duangruethai Esanasatang.
El Ateneo, Buenes Aires, Argentina
The stunning building looks the same as it was first erected in May 1919 as Teatro Gran Splendid built for the empresario Max Glucksman. It retains the original frescoed ceilings, elaborate theatre boxes designed by architects Pero and Torres Armengol.
The Bookworm, Beijing, China
A cross between bookstore, library, bar, restaurant and event space, though not unheard of, Bookworm is a bibliophile’s’ paradise in Beijing since its opening in 2000. With a rooftop terrace to relax with a glass of your favourite wine, or occasional wine tasting sessions and movie screenings.
Kay Craddock Antiquarian Booksellers, Melbourne, Australia
An oasis of civilisation dating back to 15th century, Kay Craddock holds a handsome collection of antiquarian and secondhand books, and its crowned as one of the best bookstores in the literary heart of Collins Street, Melbourne.
Millpoint Cafe, Perth, Australia
This purple block has compact all of Earth’s virtues - soul food, gourmet coffee, and carefully selected adults and children’s books - a home away from home. And who doesn’t love a bookstore with lovely and knowledgeable owners?
El Pendulo, Meixico City, Mexico
Live musical for Sunday brunch. Books-lined walls. Greeneries. Enough said.
Baldwin’s Book Barn, West Chester, USA
1822 old, 5 storeys barn was converted into a bookstore 80 years ago. It’s every wizards-wannabe dream to be in a room with cats and well organised books on wooden tiles and shelves.
Bart’s Books, California, USA
The range and quantity of books speaks of Owner Bart’s passion for books and sharing. He started selling books from his house, but his house is nowhere to be seen now! His house is inside the bookstore now, the largest independently owned and operated open-air bookstore in the country. Bart’s Books operates on an honourary system; when it’s closed, customers can still buy books from the shelves mounted outside.
Brattle Bookshop, Boston, USA
The Brattle Book Shop carries an impressive stock of over 250,000 books, maps, prints, and postcards in its majestic 3 storey building in the heart of Downtown Boston. Filled with thousands of rare and exceptional works, this is one of the largest antiquarian bookstores in USA.
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