Have Books? Will Go! Coolest Bookstores for the Bookworms.

18th Dec 2019
Photo of Have Books? Will Go! Coolest Bookstores for the Bookworms. by Shalbha Sarda

“I read I travel I become” -Derek Walcott

Reading books and traveling – both are a source of inspiration. Travelling can help people fall in love, give hope and guide the way to inner peace. Amidst the adventures while travelling, trudging your sore feet through iconic landmarks, visiting a bookstore is not only relaxing but is possibly one of the best ways to absorb some local flavor. We have a specially curated list of fascinating bookstores in the cities that are already a part of bucket lists of travellers from around the world. These cities might have enough to do and see but for a bookworm, bookstores are a no lesser attraction than the historic sites and themed restaurants and are worth a trip or two.

Librería Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy

In a city that has water literally everywhere, keeping even a few books might sound like a challenging task. Books are always under the threat of being water damaged in Venice. Libreria Acqua Alta not only figured out an interesting solution to the problem but also managed to be one of the coolest bookstores across the globe. The place is packed like sardines with maps, magazines and all sorts of books that are kept in boats, gondolas and even bathtubs.

Since the store opens out to a canal, the owner of the store came up with the idea of keeping books in waterproof basins. This unique display of books prevents the books from getting wet from the rising tides and adds to the store's character. Besides housing the books, the store is also home to a few stray cats as well.

Livraria Lello e Irmão, Porto, Portugal

If you are a Harry Potter fan this book store might appear to be familiar. JK Rowling lived in Porto for 10 years and frequented this book store while the book was still in conception. It is the oldest bookstore in the country and rated amongst the top stores in the world. The forked staircase that connects the gallery on the first floor and the uniform of the students of Porto University who roam around will immediately remind you of Hogwarts.

The neo-gothic structure of the building comprises stained glass skylight, elaborate walls, a decorated ceiling and ornate pillars. The building still retains its period charm with the original rails and wooden carts used to move the books around the store in the early 19th century.

John K. King Used And Rare Books, Detroit, Michigan

This bookstore holds the largest and strangest collection of more than a million books in an abandoned glove factory. From outside, the place looks like an industrial warehouse but inside, it is a booklover’s delight. It has many rare and used titles that are otherwise hard to find elsewhere.

The overall atmosphere is musty, old fashioned and the place has an aroma of old packing boxes that still lingers in the air. The store is entirely non computerised and patrons are handed a map to navigate their way through the aisles. Visitors have an array of genres to explore including romance, classics, and nonfiction. Handwritten reviews attached to the books are also fun to read.

Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece

Go for a vacation, fall in love with a destination, find a place to live, run a small shop and decide never to go back – this is a fantasy that most of us have harbored at some point or the other. Atlantis Books is the success story of this particular fantasy that a pair of college juniors managed to fulfill.

While walking through the northernmost village of Oia, Santorini you might just accidentally stumble upon it. The shop is painted with a decorative mural of books haphazardly arranged on shelves. The mural leads the eye to a few steps down to a cove stuffed from floor to ceiling with books. The selection of curated books is from almost every language – English, Greek, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Chinese. There is an array of first editions of literary classics as well. Find a little hidden corner or a loft bed for yourself to read within the shop’s whitewashed walls and enjoy some me-time with a page-turner in hand!

Cărturești Carusel, Bucharest, Romania

The words Cărturești Carusel translates into a carousel of light and this particular bookstore truly justifies its name. The 19th-century building that is now used as a bookstore was once a bank’s headquarters, a general store, and a men’s clothing store until the owner took up the ambitious project of rehabilitating the edifice. It took 5 long years to make it what we see today. He kept many of the original design elements of the building intact such as the spiral staircase, the marble colonnade, and the balconies. The 10000-sq-ft spread of the 6-story bookstore boasts all-white interiors. Curved handrails run across the marble colonnade and a skylight enhances the ambiance with diffused lighting. In addition to the books, there is a multimedia area in the basement, an art gallery, an exhibition area and a bistro that serves tasty food, coffee, tea, wine and more.

Poplar Kid’s Republic, Beijing, China

Climb up rainbow-coloured shelves, pick your book and hide in an odd reading nook. The Poplar Kid’s Republic in Beijing is the biggest bookstore dedicated to children in China. With more than 3,000 illustrated storybooks from across the globe, the store has the quintessential collection of books that most of us have read during our childhood years.

The overall décor of the store is done in vibrant colors and intermittent cosy reading spaces are created where parents and children can bond over books. In addition to reading books, there is a dedicated play area for kids. Other activities such as weekend storytelling and art and craft sessions are also organized at the store.

Shakespeare & Company, Paris, France

Arguably the most famous bookstore in the world, at a location to die for! Shakespeare and Company is a store that everyone should visit whether they’re a book lover or not. A monastery was originally built in Paris in the 17th century to shelter generations of wandering writers and poets. They could spend a night or a few here in exchange for their stories and autobiographies. The place became a utopia for intellectuals where money wasn’t of much value but ideas were.

The store occupies a prime piece of real estate. The Seine River is a stone’s throw away from the front door. The area is not far from the Latin Quarter and Boulevard Saint-Germain. It is one of the best views the city can offer. The store itself adds to the overall character of the place with green doors and windows, the yellow age-old signboard and rustic bookstall on its entrance are reminiscent of the Paris of yore. On weekends there might be a queue to get inside the store. If you are extra lucky there are outdoor reading sessions that take place every so often where writers and poets still recite their story ideas and poems to be.

Get answers to all your travel related queries on the go with Tripoto Chat!

Find like-minded explorers, learn from expert travellers or become one yourself and help others on Tripoto’s Travel Forum!