Book Love

11 Beautiful Bookstores from Around the World

It’s been just over a year since we featured our first #ThisIsMyBookstore submission on Instagram; ever since then, we’ve experienced a whirlwind of snapshots featuring colorful shelves, stacks of books from floor to ceiling, and clean, innovative spaces dedicated to the enduring magic of books.

Here are some (but definitely not all, and in no particular order) of our favorites from all around the world! Be sure to submit your own using the hashtag #ThisIsMyBookstore.

1. City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco, CA

City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA
With our headquarters in San Francisco, we’re honored to live in a city that is home to a bookstore so heavily steeped in literary and Beat Generation history—City Lights Bookstore. As the first all-paperback bookshop in the United States and publisher to Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, the store mantra couldn’t be more fit: “A literary meeting place since 1953.” Photo by @cestchristine

2. FiLBooks in Istanbul, Turkey

FiLBooks in Istanbul
Istanbul might not be the first to come to mind when you think of cities with unique bookstores, but it sure is now. FiLBooks describes itself as “a space dedicated to photo books, artist talks and workshops in Karaköy.” I mean, swings in a bookstore? Are you kidding me? Amazing. Photo by @sezgiolgac

3. El Péndulo in Mexico City, Mexico

El Pendulo Mexico
The bookstore El Péndulo started off as a combination coffee shop and bookstore in 1992—today, with six branches in total, it is one of the most important cultural centers in Latin America. It even has a bar inside named after Bukowski. Oh, and there’s nothing quite like that sleek curved staircase for a glamorous, book-filled entry down to the main floor. Photo by @danielae

4. Yaguchi Shoten in Tokyo, Japan

Yaguchishoten
The bookstore Yaguchi Shoten is the oldest on our list—it was established in 1918 and is located in the heavenly “booktown” of Jimbocho (also spelled Jinbōchō) in Tokyo. This shop in particular specializes in books on film, theater, and entertainment. Photo by @picturethisbook

 5. Bookman’s Corner in Chicago, Il

Bookman's Corner
There is something irresistibly charming about the hand-painted glass (note it says Rare, Medium, and Well Done) and the mishmash of books piled up in the window at Bookman’s Corner—perhaps “beautiful mess” is a good way to put it. This looks like the perfect place to get lost for a few hours. Photo by @dmarieolsen

6. Blues Point Bookshop in North Sydney, Australia

Blues Point Bookstore
Just as we’re suckers for a hand-painted storefront, we’re equally suckers for bright neon signage; something about neon gas pumping through the word “Books” in cursive has us swooning. The amazing display of books stacked in a never-ending tier doesn’t hurt, either. Photo by @chloeferres

7. 0fr. in Paris, France

0fr Bookstore
What seems like a just a nonsensical and trendy name for bookstore actually stands for something: Open, Free, and Ready. While it’s not literally free, the name represents owners Alexandre and Marie Thumerelle’s philosophy toward book selling and events. The shop boasts an impeccable magazine collection (from high-production quality products to DIY-style zines), as well as apparel—and books, of course. Photo by @irenekly

8. Alabaster Bookshop in New York, NY

Alabaster Bookshop
There are some photos you see and then you can instantly imagine the smell, and this is definitely one of them—you just know it has that intoxicating book odor. Alabaster Bookshop has that quintessential bookstore look and feel, complete with a ladder for those tall shelves. Photo by @cestchristine

9. Librería El Virrey in Lima, Peru

Liberia El Virrey
Rainbow shelves…does anything more need to be said? Actually yes, because this bookstore has a great mission: to “create a space where reading is the protagonist…[a] tradition that remains despite the rapid changes that change the way we understand the world.” Books will always be relevant! Photo by @chloeferres

10. Berkeley Books of Paris in Paris, France

Berkeley Books of Paris
Secondhand books in English…in Paris! In 2006, a small piece of the Bay Area found a home in France by way of Berkeley Books—owners Phil Wood and Richard Toney are both ex-San Franciscans who made the big move to Paris. We’re so glad they brought the love of books with them. Photo by @irenekly

11. Book/Shop in Oakland, CA

Book/Shop in Oakland
While it feels like Book/Shop was built with the sole purpose of photographing beautifully, it’s so much more than that. Nestled in Temescal Alley of Oakland, you’ll find a lovely curated selection of books, art, apparel, and more—all aligned with their mantra, “We love good books and everything that goes with them.”  Photo by @victrver

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Submit your own magical bookstore photograph with the hashtag #ThisIsMyBookstore on Instagram! If you’re lucky, we might just feature it on our own Instagram.

Jenna Homen

Community Manager at Chronicle Books. When she's logged off, she can be found cooking, camping, or in a museum. You can follow her on Twitter at @jn_na.
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