15 Coolest bookstores around the world

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Encounters with books at bookstores open up a window of new opportunities. With so many bookstores in the world and so little time, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 coolest bookstores in the world that you, a bookstore lover, have to make time to visit before you die. Some of these bookstores are amazingly stunning. Which of these bookstores will you visit next? Time to start making your travel plans.

Here are 15 of the coolest bookstores around the world to add to your bucket list:

1. Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)

-This iconic bookstore is a literary landmark in Paris, known for its cozy atmosphere and rich history. It has been a gathering place for writers and readers for decades. This English-language bookstore on the Left Bank just steps away from Notre Dame has a long history and is a must-visit when in Paris.

2. Atlantis Books, (Santorini, Greece)

is one of the coolest bookstores in the world that’s been up and running in Santorini, Greece since 2004. The shop is known as the most beautiful bookstore in Greece and might just be one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world (yes, I know there are a ton of contenders on this list). Atlantis offers new and used books of modern classic fiction and nonfiction, as well as poetry, philosophy, art, and all things Greek interest.

3. The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, USA)

– Located in downtown Los Angeles, this bookstore is famous for its creative use of space and unique book displays, including a tunnel made of books.

4. Arc N Book (Seoul, South Korea)

– is a fun bookstore to visit for many reasons, but what I love most about it is that it’s a bookstore that promotes more than reading. Arc N Book is about the reading lifestyle. Visitors are invited to stay a while, get something to eat or drink at the cafe, and lounge in one of the store’s many comfy seating areas to get the full experience. You’re also going to want to take pictures of the gorgeous arch made of books.

5. Livraria Lello (Porto, Portugal)

– This beautiful bookstore is known for its stunning neo-Gothic architecture and ornate wooden staircase, which is said to have inspired J.K. Rowling’s depiction of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series.

6. El Péndulo (Mexico City, Mexico)

-is a chain of stores across Mexico City that is part bookstore, part cafe, and part restaurant. The stores are truly welcoming and beautiful places to gather, eat, drink, and talk books. Specifically, the Polanco location on Alejandro Dumas Street made Book Riots list of the 15 Most Instagrammed Bookstores in the world.

7. Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice, Italy)

– This quirky bookstore is known for its unique decor, including books stored in gondolas and bathtubs to protect them from flooding.

8. Livraria Cultura (São Paulo, Brazil)

– Livraria Cultura in the famous Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, Brazil is one of my favorite places in the city. A huge dragon is hanging from the ceiling and a giant wood staircase doubles as an auditorium for presentations and events.

9. Powell’s (Portland, Oregon)

– is a chain of bookstores in Portland, Oregon.  Its flagship store on 1005 W Burnside Street is called the City of Books and with good reason. It’s incredibly, almost overwhelmingly large. Even the world’s biggest book lovers will discover books on Powell’s shelves that they’ve never heard of before. The store boasts carrying over one million titles, after all.

10. Strand Bookstore, (New York City)

– If you love books, then you’ve likely already heard of New York’s famous. But that’s part of what makes it so cool. Strand is another bookstore that’s well-known for its large collection of books. The store carries over 2.5 million used, new, and rare books in a wide range of categories.

11. Word on the Water (London, England)

– is a bookstore inside a 100-year-old Dutch barge located along the Regents Canal in London. Inside the store, you can find a wide range of classics, contemporary fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. The book barge also hosts a variety of events, from jazz concerts to poetry slams.

12. Barter Books (Alnwick, England)

– Housed in a former railway station, this bookstore is known for its cozy atmosphere and large collection of secondhand books.

13. Librairie Avant-Garde (Nanjing, China)

– Librairie Avant-Garde in Nanjing, China, is another bookstore that gets cool points for its unique location. This bookstore was once a parking lot, and before that, it was a bomb shelter. But since 2004, this location has become a place where book lovers gather to buy books, grab a drink at the cafe, and attend talks, concerts, and art exhibitions.

14. Book and Bed (Tokyo, Japan)

– Book lovers visiting Japan will not want to miss out on this unique hostel experience. Book and Bed is a bookstore where you can also stay the night. If you don’t choose to stay the whole night, the bookstore also offers couches and beds where you can nap or just lounge during the day. 

15. Cook & Book (Brussels, Belgium)

– Does reading ever make you hungry? You’re all set at Cook & Book, a fabulous (and super cool) bookstore/restaurant in Brussels, Belgium. The shop is divided into nine rooms, each offering a different selection of books and its unique atmosphere. One room has an English books section and is designed to look like a British library. There’s also a terrace with a playground. And yes, you can dine in every area of the store.

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