The Internet has made it easier than ever before to find great books at incredible prices. However, sometimes it is nice to hold a physical copy of a book by your favorite author in your hands. Besides, if you do ever get to meet your favorite author, you also need a physical book for them to sign. Although physical books can also be ordered online, bibliophiles will be familiar with the thrill of discovering an interesting or unique bookshop. Here are just six incredible places to explore if you would like to purchase books from an extraordinary bookshop. They are scattered all across the world, so if you are looking for a good excuse to indulge in some traveling then look no further.
Location: Central Porto, Portugal.
Official Website: http://www.livrarialello.pt/
If you are a bookworm then you owe it to yourself to visit Livraria Lello in Portugal. It is not only one of the oldest bookstores in the country, but also considered by many to be one of the top ones in the world. The store opened its doors for the first time in 1906 by the Lello brothers With its impressive neo-gothic style, beautiful ceiling and majestic staircase, this is truly an incredible place to stock up on reading material.
Livraria Ler Davagar
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Official Website: http://www.lerdevagar.com/index.php
Don’t be too hasty to leave Portugal after checking out Livrario Lello, as the country is also home to Livraria Ler Davagar. This is a much more modern looking bookshop, but still very impressive. “Ler Devagar” literally means to read slowly, and that is exactly what you will want to do in order to soak up the atmosphere of this converted industrial textile warehouse. In addition to the thousands of books that adorns the walls and nooks of the building you can also marvel at the unique sculptures and antique printing machines.
El Eteneo Grand Splendid
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Official Website: N/A
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is another incredible bookstore that is considered by many to be amongst the most beautiful in the world. The building originally opened in 1919 as a theatre, but was converted to a cinema ten years later. It wasn’t until 2000 that the cinema seating were removed to make place for book shelves. These days clients can relax in the theatre boxes to indulge in some reading before making their purchase. Thanks to the ornate carvings, beautiful frescoed ceilings and stage curtains the building still retains the feel of a grand theatre, which makes it a pretty incredible place to buy books.
Shakespeare & Company
Location, Paris, France
Official Website: https://shakespeareandcompany.com/
Although it is not the original Shakespeare and Company bookstore that operated between 1919 and 1941, it is every bit as interesting and unique. It originally opened as “Le Mistral” in 1951, but on the 400th anniversary of the bard’s birthday and as a tribute to the original shop, it was renamed to Shakespeare and Company. Visitors can purchase new and second-hand books or simply relax while making use of the free reading library. Since its inception, thousands of writers have made use of the beds between the shelves in the shop where they could sleep for free in return for helping out. This bohemian bookstore even has an illustrated account of its history, which is well worth reading before paying them a visit. (https://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Company-Paris-History-Heart/dp/B01EL38QUW)
Libreria Acqua Alta
Location: Venice, Italy
It is not always the architecture that can make a bookshop incredible as this one in Venice beautifully demonstrates. It is a mysterious and fascinating place where you will not only find a vast assortment of new and used books, but also discover why its name translates to “library of high water.” In addition to bookshelves, the books in this shop are also stored in a gondola, boats and bathtubs to keep them safe during the times when the store floods with water from the canal. Books that are no longer desirable, such as massive encyclopedias have been turned into furniture and even a staircase by the shop owner, which further adds to the unique atmosphere of this amazing store.
Word On The Water
Location: London, United Kingdom
What could be more incredible than a floating bookshop? A floating bookshop that is not only packed with affordable books, but which also often feature jazz musicians performing live from the roof. As amazing as this 1920s bookbarge is, it almost had to close shop when it was refused permanent mooring. Thanks to a successful IndieGogo campaign in 2015 to raise funds and the support of thousands of fans, Word On The Water has found permanent mooring at Granary Square, Kings Cross where booklovers young and old can enjoy the books.