The top 5 bookshops around the world
No building could house all of the books in the world. And it’s a good thing, too! From one continent to the next, bookshops have stepped up a gear, each one trying to make their store the most unique of its kind. While picking a top shop might be all but impossible, these 5 bookstores are among our favorites:
1. Fangsuo Bookstore, Chengdu, China: Taking form in the basement of a commercial gallery, this 5000m2 bookstore is a stone’s throw from the Daci temple. Taiwanese architect Chu-Chih-Kang took inspiration from the legacy of buddhist monk Xuan Zhang in his designs, designing the bookshop to have the calmness of a hushed cave. The result is a space that is as still as it is mystical; you might just have your next great epiphany!
The Fangsuo Bookstore is better than an Aladdin’s cave! © AA13
2. Livraria Lello & Irmao, Porto, Portugal: Constantly named as “the most beautiful bookshop in the world”, Lello & Irmao is as much an homage to reading as it to art deco. With a history dating back to 1906, the store is the real deal and whether you’re taking in the wood sculptures, the red staircase, the stained glass ceiling or the vintage wagons used to transport books, you’re bound to be blown away. And to top it all off? It was used as inspiration for the Harry Potter series, proving Lello & Irmao’s magical appeal!
Magic and books: A match made in heaven © Livraria Lello
3. Bart’s Book, Ojai, California: If you fancy picking up a good book on your next road trip, make a pitstop at Bart’s Books. Founded in 1964 by Richard Bartinsdale, the store is open practically 24/7, catering to night owls and early birds alike. What can you find inside? How do thousands of books, hammocks, sofas and a starry ceiling sound to you?!
Forget the gold rush, we’re here for the ink! © Bart’s Book
4. Altaïr Libreria, Barcelona, Spain: Smack bang in the heart of the Eixample district, Altaïr Libreria is the biggest travel bookstore across Europe. Want to be whisked away? Between the gaping stone columns, the bookshelves fit to bursting and the squishy sofas, you’re bound to be inspired for your next big adventure!
60,000 titles to take you on your next trip © Altaïr Digital
5. Library of Muyinga, Muyinga, Burundi: This one of a kind bookshop exists as part of a specialist school for deaf children. Thought up by the architects of Brussels cabinet BC Architects, the building was constructed using local materials, involving the neighbouring community. Inside, it’s all lightness and fresh air, with a gigantic knotted hammock bringing the space together. This is the ultimate feat of literature and design.
A nest of books, bricks and beauty! © BC Architects