If you’re a bookworm, there’s no experience quite like visiting a beautiful bookstore. There’s something special about seeing all the shelves full of colorful bindings, reading what the staff recommends, and watching other people happily make their selections. Here’s a list of the world’s most famous and unique bookstores:
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, California
Owner Josh Spencer first set up shop in a Los Angeles loft in 2005, and now, The Last Bookstore is California’s largest used-and-new book and record store. The store is now found in a 22,000-square foot space and holds over 250,000 new and used books. This includes an Arts & Rare Book Annex and tens of thousands of vinyl records and graphic novels. The architecture is unique, too, and features tunnels and windows constructed from books. If you love books and music, this is the place to go.
Cook & Book
Found in beautiful Brussels, this bookstore gives powerful visual cues about book genres. For example, there’s a piano in the Music section and candy-colored lamps in the kid’s room. In the Novel room, there are even books dangling from the ceiling. The store is divided into two blocs – A and B – for a total of eight spaces. There are also restaurants per the “cook” part of the name, so plan on grabbing a snack or coffee, and choosing which room you want to eat in.
Cafebreria El Pendulo
Mexico City, Mexico
With two floors, this Polanco bookstore pulls triple duty as a bookstore, restaurant, and bar. Beautiful greenery can be found everywhere, so it’s almost exploring a jungle filled with books. The cafe also sells CDs, DVDs, journals, and other gifty-type items. Make sure to check out the shop’s namesake pendulum, which can be found hanging from the ceiling at the entrance.
Shakespeare And Company
The original Shakespeare And Company opened in 1919. Famous authors like Gertrude Stein and Ernest Hemingway hung out there when they visited Paris. The bookstore now was built in 1951 and pays homage to the first bookstore’s spirit. It’s dedicated to English literature and decorated with wooden shelves, chandeliers, and tiled floors. Writers who need a place to stay can “tumbleweed” in one of the 30 beds, as long as they work a few hours each day, read a book every day, and write a 1-page autobiography.
The Livraria Bertrand
The oldest bookstore in the world (it opened in 1732), the Livraria Bertrand is a can’t-miss for book lovers. The very first location was destroyed in a major earthquake in 1755, and moved to its current location soon after. You’d think the bookstore would feel like a museum, but it’s very much in operation, with its own website. The books are meant to be touched and bought.
Book and Bed
While this is technically not a bookstore because you don’t buy the books, the Book and Bed must be on this list because it’s so unique. It’s actually a hotel filled with thousands of books for guests to peruse. For around $50 a night, you can sleep in a tiny compartment built into a shelf, surrounded by books. It’s a popular concept, given that there are five locations.
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