For serious readers, nothing beats a great bookstore, especially one we’ve never explored.
Here are six of the world’s most remarkable booksellers. These places are places where you’ll browse for hours, maybe finding a vintage copy of an old favorite or discovering a new genre or author. Even if you walk out empty handed, the experience is worth the trip, even if the store is halfway around the world.
Photos Courtesy of Daunt Brooks
1. Daunt Books – Located in a traditional Edwardian building in London’s Marylebone district, visitors are greeted with floor-to-ceiling shelves, stained glass and skylights. Selections range from children’s books to cookbooks to modern literary fiction. And if you ask nicely, the staff may let you see the walk-in safe, where the expensive volumes were once stored.
2. Gertrude and Alice Café and Bookstore – Before you hit Bondi Beach in Australia, duck into this very popular locale for an excellent breakfast (pesto eggs, anyone?), a great cup of coffee and a book to read on the sand. Visitors rave about both the food and the book selection, a rare feat in one business, I think.
3. The Book Lady Bookstore – This Savannah, Georgia gem, is situated on the first floor of an old mansion. The 50,000-volume inventory fills nearly every square inch of the space. Here you can find new, used, rare, and out-of-print books of all kinds.
4. Omnivore Books on Food – This independently owned bookshop is a vital fixture on San Francisco’s food scene. As the name suggests, Omnivore caters to food- and drink-related books. Anyone who collects cookbooks or rare first editions should definitely stop in to Omnivore. Gastronomes and bibliophiles will both enjoy the shop’s culinary and literary atmosphere. Omnivore serves as a gathering place for San Francisco chefs, foodies, and visiting authors alike.
5. Shakespeare & Company – This legendary shop lives in Paris, close to the Seine and cloaked in the shadow of the Notre Dame cathedral. The store has been in operation since 1919. Early regulars included writers like Ernest Hemingway. Here you’ll find English-language books stretching as far as the eye can see. Pop in and soak up the history, take a look at the typewriter-composed manuscripts, and check this historic bookstore off your bibliophile bucket list.
6. Books Actually – If you find yourself in Singapore looking for a great place to browse the written word, stop into this independently owned bookshop. Here you can browse hard-to-find magazines, art books, and novels. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or dabbling with journaling, you’ll find a selection of hand bound notebooks and letterpress postcards produced by the shop under the brand name Birds & Co.