50 of the Most Beautiful Bookstores in the World

August 30, 2017
Julie Jarema
Riveted Editorial Board
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1. Albertine Bookstore (New York, NY) Albertine

This dreamy French bookstore is located in the Payne Whitney Mansion on the Upper East Side, with busts on each floor of French writers and philosophers and even a Balzac bathroom.

2. Waanders In de Broeren (Zwolle, Netherlands)

Waanders in de Broeren

This bookshop is going goth in this 15th-century gothic cathedral.

3. Akateenminen Kirjakauppa (Helsinki, Finland)

Akateeminen Kirjakauppa

With over 450,000 books, there’s something for everyone. Though the store might look ordinary on the outside, the interior is made up of white marble, glass skylights, and a café on the second floor balconies.

4. Maison Assouline (London, England)


It’s like walking into a magical attic that contains limited edition books all about the finer things, from food to design to travel.

5. Atlantis Books (Santorini, Greece)

Atlantis Books

This sun-washed bookstore was founded by a small group of friends after making a crazy proposition while they were vacationing in college—to open a bookstore on an island!

6. Baldwin Book Barn (West Chester, PA)

Baldwin's Book Barn

This place has got everything for everyone—even dogs and cats to keep you company while you browse.

7. Barter Books (Alnwick, England)

Barter Books

This bookshop rediscovered the WWI “Keep Calm and Cary On” poster and boosted it into popularity.

8. Bart’s Books (Ojai, CA) 

Bart's Books 2

This is the largest independent outdoor bookstore in the U.S. where you can stroll in the warm sun as you get lost in the maze of books. Their sign reads, “When closed, please throw coins in slot in the door for the amount marked on the book. Thank you.”

9. Boekhandel van Rossum Bookstore (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Boekhandel van Rossum

The giant key-shaped bookshelf archway looks as if it could transport you to another world.

10. The Book Barge

Book Barge

Now located in France, I’m sure you’ll find something to read that floats your boat at this bookshop.

11. Book Loft of German Village (Columbus, OH)

Book Loft of German Village

With thirty-two rooms of books, you’re sure to find something you like.

12. Book/Shop (Oakland, CA)


Highly curated, bright, and airy, this place is completely #instaworthy.

13. Bookabar S.R.L (Rome, Italy)

Bookabar Bookshop

The modern design will appeal to the art book browsers.

14.Books are Magic (Brooklyn, NY)

Books are Magic

This bookstore has exposed brick walls, floating shelves, and author Emma Straub as a bookstore co-owner.

15. BooksActually (Tiong Bahru, Singapore)


They don’t just sell books, actually, but also all sorts of vintage ephemera like Pez dispensers, photographs, bottles, and other nostalgic knick-knacks. There’s also a cat and a book blind date vending machine.

16. Cafebrería El Pendulo (Mexico City, Mexico)

Cafebreria El Pendulo

This space is essentially a bookshop crossed with a greenhouse, which sounds like the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee from the café.

17. Carturesti Carusel (Bucharest, Romania)

This breathtaking bookstore, whose name translates to “carousel of light,” is located inside of a restored 19th century building.

18. City Lights (San Francisco, CA)

City Lights

The first all-paperback bookstore in the U.S. and the place that launched the Beat Generation.

19. Cook & Book (Brussels, Belgium)

Cook & Book

This supermarket-sized bookstore is divided into eight sections with different décor for each lunch/dinner space inside.

20. Corso Como Bookshop (Milan, Italy)

Corso Como Bookshop

This sleek space is home to an art gallery, a design and fashion store, a small hotel, and a roof garden all in addition to the bookshop, which is of course dedicated to art and design.

21. Livraria Cultura (São Paulo, Brazil)

Cultura Bookstore

Bright and wide open, it seems like the books go on forever.

22. Daunt Books (London, England)

Daunt Books

Three elegant oak floors of guidebooks, maps, language reference, and more to induce terrible wanderlust.

23. Desperate Literature (Madrid, Spain)

Desperate Literature

Created by the same group behind Atlantis Books, this bohemian bookstore has a wide selection of English, Spanish, and French books.

24. FiLBooks (Istanbul, Turkey)


Open space, pastel colors, fresh juice, and a large selection of photo books makes this bookstore the perfect space to dream through an afternoon.

25. Honesty Bookshop (Hay-on-Wye, Wales)


This bookish town is home to this sprawling selection of books, each costing £1 or less.

26. Housing Works (New York, NY)

Housing Works

Not only is this bookstore beautiful, with its wood floors, curving staircases, and strings of lights, but it’s also dedicated to a good cause—helping out those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. It can also be rented out as a wedding venue.

27. Lello Bookstore (Porto, Portugal)

Lello Bookstore 2

The Neo-Gothic façade and Art Nouveau interior shows off its stained glass ceiling, carved wood, oddly curving staircase, and bridge make you feel like you’ve stepped into Wonderland.

28. Librairie Avant-Garde (Nanjing, China)

Librairie Avant-Garde

This underground parking garage may not have any chandeliers or lit up glass bookshelves, but it’s definitely something inspiring to see.

29. Ler Devagar (Lisbon, Portugal)

Ler Devagar

The bookshop name translates to “read slowly.” The spacious, industrial area features a tall staircase, antique printing machines, two bars, this flying bicycle sculpture, and ladders to climb the walls in search of your favorite book.

30. Librairie Jousseaume (Paris, France)


This bookstore is packed with books old and new in the glittering Galerie Vivienne.

31. Libreria Acqua Alta (Venice, Italy)
libreria-acqua-alta 1

Books and water don’t exactly go together, so this magical bookshop places them in bathtubs and boats to keep them dry.

32. Librería Miguel Miranda (Madrid, Spain)

Libreria de Miguel

This bookshop looks like it’s from another time, probably as a result of specializing in antique books.

33. Livraria da Vila (São Paulo, Brazil)

Livraria da Vila

Located in a two-story house, this bookstore has pivoting glass bookshelves as the store’s doors; atriums that open onto the floors above and below them; and a children’s book section with a theater.

34. Looking Glass Books (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Looking Glass Books

Sadly closed now, but it looks like it would’ve been a great place for a mad tea party.

35. Massolit Books & Café (Krakow, Poland)

Massolit 2

They even have cake!

36. The Montague Book Mill (Montague, MA)

Montague Bookmill

Their slogan: “Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find”

37. Oxford Exchange (Tampa, FL)

Oxford Exchange

This modern space has a few vintage touches, including the books, of course, along with a table dedicated to signed copies and the rest of the books organized thematically.

38. Paludan Bog & Café (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Paludan Bog Cafe

Ideal for students who want breakfast, books, and board games at the same time

39. Poplar Kid’s Republic (Beijing, China)

Poplar Kid's Republic

The explosion of bold colors will definitely set off young readers’ imaginations.

40. Selexyz Bookstore (Maastricht, Holland)

Polare Maastricht

This 700-year-old church is now a pilgrimage for bibliophiles.

41. Saraiva Bookstore (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Saraiva Bookstore

Take a look at those rainbow shelves.

42. Zhongshuge (Hangzhou, China)


The mirrored ceilings create enchanting optical illusions for anyone who walks through.

43. Scarthin Books (Derbyshire, England)

Scarthin Books

It’s crammed to the brim with books on the inside and has a café overlooking the grapevine on the outside.

44. The American Book Center (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

The American Book Center

Abbreviated as ABC, this bookstore has shelves to the ceiling.

45. Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France)

Shakespeare and Company

Possibly the most famous independent bookstore in the world, this lovely bookstore is full of hand painted messages and epigrams; a wishing well; colorful mosaics; notes from visitors; typewriters; a view of Notre Dame from the upstairs library window; a children’s nook; a dilapidated piano; a new café next door; and antiquarian books.

46. The Bookworm (Beijing, China)

The Bookworm

A bookshop, library, bar, restaurant, and event space all in one

47. The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, CA)

The Last Bookstore 1

Housed in an abandoned bank, you can find a tunnel of books, flying books, precarious-looking shelves of books, and other eclectic features in this book lovers’ labyrinth.

48. VVG Something (Taipei, Taiwan)

VVG Something

This tiny, hidden-away bookshop sells a carefully chosen selection on arts and crafts, fashion, photography, cookbooks, notebooks, drawing and tools.

49. La Caverne aux Livres (Auvers-sur-Oise, France)

caverne aux livres

The entrance to this secondhand bookshop is a railway hangar, and from there you can move to an old postal train whose sorting slots now serve as bookshelves.

50. El Ateneo Bookstore (Buenos Aires, Argentina) El Ateneo Bookstore

Originally the Teatro Grand Splendid, this majestic building is now home to thousands of more stories.

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