With readers using tech like Kindles and audio books and Hollywood turning almost every decent novel into a damn movie, the magic behind mindlessly browsing a cool bookstore is on the decline. Which of course, means more niche bookstores sadly closing their doors.
There are some independent bookstores left though (guys, there’s hope!) and some of them are impossibly cool. So here’s 12 bookstores that garnered mass popularity for how freaking beautiful they are.
Mexico City, Mexico, pendulo.com
With wooden floors, balconies and plants everywhere you look, El Pendulo bookstore in Mexico City has a badass coffee shop inside.
Ojai, California, bartsbooksojai.com
Known as “the world’s greatest outdoor bookstore,” Bart’s Books opened in 1964 and contains over one million books inside. You’ll find everything from thirty-five cent specials to rare first editions.
THE LAST BOOKSTORE
Los Angeles, California, lastbookstorela.com
Another California bookstore, The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles is a personal favorite. Between its architecture and sort of secret reading rooms, it’s an LA attraction you should visit if you’re nerdy like me.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
I think we can all agree this 1920s theatre palace turned into a bookstore is one of the coolest on this list. Theatre boxes are used as reading rooms, drawing thousands of visitors a year.
New York, New York, rizzolibookstore.com
Specializing in literature and European magazines, this chic bookstore is in a townhouse on 57th Street right in the city.
Santorini, Greece, atlantisbooks.org
Just picture yourself reading a book and sipping on a coffee on the roof of Atlantis Books in Santorini. You don’t even really have to like books to enjoy the view.
COOK AND BOOK BOOKSHOP
Brussels, Belgium, cookandbook.be
The size of a small supermarket, Cook and Book in Brussels doubles as both a restaurant and a bookstore.
THE SELEXYZ DOMINICANEN BOOKSTORE
Maastricht, the Netherlands
Any shop that is set up in a 700-year-old church is going to be beautiful. The converted church is now a bookshop in Maastricht.
London, England, dauntbooks.co.uk
Originally built in 1910, Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street is an original Edwardian bookshop that’ll make you feel like you’re in old London.
SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY
Paris, France, shakespeareandcompany.com/
One of the more famous bookstores in England used to be the place of choice for writers like Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford at its original location. Moved and rebuilt in 1951, the store still attracts tourists from all over.
Tokyo, Japan, real.tsite.jp/daikanyama
This is one of those bookstores that architect fanatics can get behind. Designed by Klein Dytham Architecture, the latticed facade is made up of interlocking T-shapes, giving it the latter part of its name.
PORTO LIVRARIA LELLO
The neo-gothic bookstore opened in 1906, and has one of the coolest stairways inside of it.
Nicole Theodore is the Girls co-editor at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter.