10 Inspiring Bookshops Around The World (50 Pics)

1. Libreria Alta Acqua, Venice, Italy 

A little sign outside says, “Welcome to the Most Beautiful Bookshop in the World”. It just might be. Step inside and find a full-sized gondola smack in the middle of the shop, overflowing with books. Head to the back and take a seat in front of the open doors; the canal at your feet, water gently splashing against the doorstep as you flick through a book. 

2. Bart’s Books, Ojai, California

Founded in 1964, Bart’s Books is a beautiful outdoor bookstore where you can sip lemonade in the courtyard surrounded by a maze of bookshelves, play a game of chess in the shade or read a short story under the apple tree. Not just a desirable al fresco space, Bart’s Books has heart. Gathering here for art shows and weekly community events is a bit of a local tradition.

3. Atlantis, Santorini, Greece

Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, but not exactly the place you’d think to go looking for a charming English bookshop. Located in the basement of one of Santorini’s white houses, Atlantis Books was conceived when two young friends, Oliver and Craig were spending a week on Santorini and over a bottle of wine one evening, they decided to open a bookshop on the island. It was the one thing their paradise was missing; a haven for readers and writers. The two young men laughed about how their children would run it one day.

4. Book/Shop, Oakland, California

Book/Shop is one of the clever independent bookshops that are staying afloat by not just selling books to read, but things that will inspire you to read the books. Based in Oakland, this sleek and pretty book (&) shop sells beautiful and interesting bits & pieces such as vintage literature posters, book-related art etc.

5. Word on Water, London

London’s only floating second-hand bookshop, Word on the Water is a Dutch book barge that travels the canals and moors for two weeks at a time at various locations such as Camden Lock, Angel, Hackney and Paddington.

6. Brazenhead Books, New York

Michael Seidenberg once ran a non-secret bookstore in Brooklyn. When he couldn’t afford to pay rent anymore, he moved Brazenhead Books into his three-room apartment on the second floor in upper East Manhattan.

7. The Abbey Bookstore, Paris, France

The Shakespeare & Co in Paris is world-renowned for its old charm, its Hemingway connection and that magical feeling you get while ducking and squeezing through its nooks and crannies. There’s just one problem: it’s hard to catch it on a day when it isn’t flooded with tourists. And that’s where the Abbey Bookshop comes in.

8. Books Actually, Singapore

This sleek and sunny little indie is hidden away in the old Singaporean housing estate of Tiong Bahru. The founder Kenny Leck is another bibliophile who knows how to keep his book business alive and kicking by selling interesting and vintage knick-knacks on the side that complement the literary palette. But when it comes to his books, Kenny knows his stuff and personally selects every title sold in his shop. He also set up his own publishing house for up-and-coming Singaporean authors.

9. Barter Books, England

Barter Books is an Eden of nostalgic treasure and it has a very special story to tell. One of the most recognisable posters in the world, the wartime catchphrase Keep Calm and Carry On, was actually lost in history until 2000 when it was re-discovered inside a dusty old box at this charming second-hand bookshop in North England. Discover the story and the bookshop in this video..

10. Les Bouquinistes, Paris, France
What would a romantic stroll along the Seine be without les bouquinistes?! To get their literary fix, Hemingway and other great creatives of the Belle Epoque once browsed these unique bookstores that squat the banks of the Seine. They have outlasted iPads and eBooks selling dog-eared vintage print from their open-air boxes the same way they did a hundred years ago. I’d say that earns them a place on my list….