The world of bookstores suffers a lot these days, with the new and fascinating perks of the digital era. Many went bankrupt, many are just closing their doors, kneeling in front of the powerful e-book retailers, ready to wire you any novel from any corner of the world in a second. The digital book and the online store seem to win the battle against the old fashioned paper book. And maybe this is how things are supposed to be. Still, a bookstore is more than a store that sells books. It’s a place of comfort and wonder, a community, a realm that gathers people together, a place where all book lovers can still touch their favorite volumes, smell the fresh print, see the covers and exchange a few words with others that are just like them. Some bookstores in this world are true monuments of spirit and wisdom, and while some are beautifully imposing, others are in themselves a special form of art. So let’s travel together and see ten of these spectacular bookstores, from Europe to China.
1. Ler Devagar
Set in Lisbon, Portugal, this bookstore has a bicycle hanging from the ceiling and a wall that suggests a temple of wisdom. Fantasy, imagination, respect for knowledge. What can be more simple and beautiful than this?
2. Selexyz Bookstore
Set in Maastricht, Holland, this bookstore is actually a Dominican cathedral. A place of spiritual enlightenment, this edifice hosts some of the world’s oldest and newest treasures.
3. Plural Bookshop
Bratislava, Slovakia. When you enter, you have the feeling of finally arriving to a home you didn’t know you had. The simple, minimalist design, combining book shelves and comfortable, spacious reading places makes this bookshop one of those rare places where people can find true peace.
Can you think of a more suitable name for such a special bookshop? This place of fun and education is set in Beijing, China and they say it is magical. Whoever thought of its design must have been a real art lover, because the setting of the lights, both on the inside and outside gives this place a fantasy aura from where people can get to whatever realm they choose, just by reading a book.
5. Popular Kid’s Republic
We’re still in Beijing, China, but we changed the decor a little. It’s a kind of magic in here too, as this modern, almost surreal design attracts not only the children, but also their parents. How can you not love books, when you have a place like that for a first encounter?
6. Cafebreria El Pendulo
Breathe fresh air. Have a coffee, read or buy a book. We are in Mexico City, Mexic and this bookshop has it all: the open space advantage, for those who need to just get out for a little freedom, outside their houses and their offices, a lot of vegetation, for those wanting to stay close to nature, good coffee and a lot of books.
7. Shakespeare & Company
Paris has a lot of great places. A lot. Can’t even begin to name them. So if you’re passing by the City of Light, take a short detour in this bookshop. You will be surprised by the apparent (highly organized) disorder, giving this rather narrow place a bohemian, artsy, vintage, dolce far niente atmosphere. You can even take a nap there if you feel like, but it’s better to check out the books and be amazed on how the simplest of things may turn out the most beautiful.
8. The Last Bookstore
Oh, let’s just hope this is not true! Los Angeles, California. Completely different from its European counterparts, this American (still standing proud bookstore) is designed perfectly for buying books and reading. It is huge, imposing, friendly and holds an incredible large number of volumes.
9. Bart’s Books
Ojai, California. America is a land of greatness. And of course, it hosts the largest open – air book store in the world. There isn’t any photo that could do this place its justice, because what is here, what happens here, the magnificence of this place can only be lived, not described in words and not captured in colors.
10. Corso Como Bookshop
Only the Italians could have pulled something like this off and make history with it. Corso Como Bookshop in Milan, Italy, has the interior of a royal palace, where books are true queens that deserve only the best. There is nothing over looked in this place, no detail ignored, no corner and no volume unexploited. Stepping into this sanctuary, a form of art in itself, as interior design and architecture, one can not feel but humble in front of their majesties.