Beautiful bookstores around the world

Published On: July 1, 2016 04:11 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

With online stores slowly taking over the publishing world and bookstores struggling to survive, things can sometimes seem a little sad for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world. After all, why would anyone leave the comfort of their homes to buy a book when they could choose to have it delivered at their doorsteps? 

But then there’s something very comforting about being able to browse through neatly lined bookshelves, feeling the spines, and smelling the pages as you make your reading selection. And then again, there are bookstores so beautiful that it’s worth getting out of the house (or the country) to visit whether you need a new hardcover or not.  The Week has put together a list of some of the most beautiful bookstores in the world that could very well be in your bucket list of places to visit. 

Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France
For those who love books stacked over books in narrow hallways, this neat bookstore at Paris’s left bank is the answer. The original Shakespeare & Company on Paris’ Left Bank was a hangout for Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and James Joyce, but it closed during World War Two. Hiding behind the shadows of Notre Dame, this English language literature bookstore was reopened in 1951 by George Whitman. It was also featured in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.

Librería Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy
The name literally means ‘Library of high water’ and of course only in Venice, can you find thousands of books inside a rowing boat, gondola and even bathtubs! Its owner, Luis Frizzio, has many cats that love to roam through the books and love to be patted. In this perfect mix of a flea market and a serious library, there is something for everybody. The back rooms of the shop overlook one of Venice’s famous canals.

Books Actually, Singapore
Specializing in fiction and literature, this independent bookstore deserves a visit. Although it is relatively new (opened in 2005), it has already made a mark for itself as one of Singapore’s most beautiful places. In an inviting and warm setting, you can lust over a treasure of books as well as retro items such as typewriters. The small book and magazine shop is easily spotted because of its hand-drawn façade, and it’s surrounded by traditional food markets and boutiques.

Bookabar Bookshop, Rome, Italy
The Bookabar is located in Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the largest inter-disciplinary exhibition area in central Rome. It has three large, airy rooms, two of which are devoted to books, catalogues, DVDs and CDs, while the third contains a stylish museum store. Next to the bookstore is a café, with a menu inspired by current collections on view at the museum.

Daunt Books Marylebone, London, UK
Books arranged in elegant style line the walls of this Edwardian building, providing the perfect setting for one of London’s most treasured, independent bookshops. A glorious mezzanine and a quiet ambience give the building an air of academia, like an old university library. A huge range of new titles fill the front of the shop, while deeper, darker galleries display second-hand travel treasures. This is bookshop heaven.

Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece
A neglected old village house was converted to a magical place, when two young friends decided to open a bookshop on the island over a bottle of wine. It was the only thing the Mediterranean island was missing – a haven for readers and writers. Atlantis hosts festivals and sunset readings on their terrace with sea views. They even started their own publishing house in the back room of the shop.

Barter Books, Alnwick, UK
This shop used to be a train station, and miniature trains still go around the shelves. The architecture, which includes rounded ceilings and decorative lighting, is stunning.  Barter Books also has open fires in the winter, a station buffet with a menu made up of home-made and/or locally sourced food (both hot and cold) and specialty coffees and teas, and a children’s room filled with toys besides books on every imaginable genre.

The Bookworm, Beijing, China
The Bookworm is both a lending library and a bookstore with a ridiculously expansive collection. There’s also a gourmet European cafe on the premises.
This is the perfect space for those craving a double-dose of intellectual stimulation and decent café food. Thousands of English-language books fill the shelves and can be borrowed for a fee or read inside. There are also many new books and magazines for sale.

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