There’s nothing readers love more than being transported into a novel. Creativity is always appreciated and now they are able to enjoy that before they dive into the storybook. Even though E-reading and online shopping are taking over, the joy of browsing through shelves upon shelves of books will never be replaced. Here are some of the most unique bookstores from around the globe that enhance a bookworm’s book-buying experience by creating worlds of their own.

Word on the Water

A floating bookstore found inside a 100-year-old Dutch barge found along the Regents Canal in London. The fantastical element of a bookstore on a boat has attracted book lovers from all over the world. It displays a wide selection of new and used books ranging from classics to contemporary fiction and non-fiction for readers of all ages and varied interests. Crowds also gather to attend events like jazz concerts and poetry slams hosted by the book barge. The only one of its kind, Word on the Water is a must-visit for bookworms.

El Ateneo

Buenos Aires’ unique bookstore was named the World’s Most Beautiful Bookstore by National Geographic in 2019. The historical building which was initially a palatial theatre called Teatro Gran Splendid was converted into a grand bookstore and music shop in 2000 with thanks to architect Fernando Manzone. It now houses over 120,000 diverse books under its frescoed ceilings. One may also enjoy coffee and live piano music performed on the still-existing theatre stage.

Check out the unique bookstores

Boekhandel Dominicanen

An indie bookstore in the Netherlands found within the stone vaults of a former medieval church. Rife with new, loved, and rare titles in both English and Dutch, it is the dream destination for History and Literature lovers. The thirteenth-century Gothic Church is now one of the most stunning and unique bookstores in Maastricht.

1200 Bookshop

China’s first 24-hour bookshop found in Guangzhou offers a free place to stay in private rooms for backpackers. To apply to stay at the shop follow 1200 Bookshop on WeChat (ID: gz1200bookshop), or email to let them know your travel plans and why you need a place to stay. For day-time visitors, there is plenty of places to sit and relax and peruse through the wide variety of books available for purchase.

The Strand

New York’s most famous bookstore is renowned for carrying over 2.5 million rare, used, and new books spanning several genres and authors. It also organises several community events like book clubs, author readings, and more. Although the books are stacked wall-to-wall and it’s virtually impossible to browse through all of the titles in a visit, it is great fun just trying.

Cook & Book

Belgium’s combined bookstore and restaurant experience is found in Brussels. The place is made up of nine rooms, each with its characteristic atmosphere and selection of books. One room is designed to look like a British library complete with a wide variety of English books. There are also sections on fine arts, comics, children’s literature, and more. In addition to the rooms, there is a playground on the terrace for children. Eating and reading are encouraged in every area of the store.

Shakespeare and Co.

One of the most historical bookstores in the world, opened in 1919 by American expat Sylvia Beach. She lent books to Ernest Hemingway when he couldn’t afford to buy them. It became a popular hub for writers like James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound in the 1920s. The bookstore was reopened in 1951 after the war and today hosts readings, workshops, and an annual festival featuring best-selling contemporary writers from around the world. It also houses aspiring writers in exchange for helping out around the bookstore.

Shakespeare and Co.

Cafebreria El Pendulo

Part bookstore, part café, part forest in Mexico City. With wooden floors and balconies and plants spilling from its bookshelves, it is truly one of the most magical bookstores in the world. For sale are new and reprinted titles in Spanish and English, CDs and vinyls, and quirky gift shop items like plush toys of William Shakespeare. It is a wonderland of books with something in it for everyone.

Unusual bookstores in the world

The Libreria Acqua Alta

A treasure trove of vintage and new titles hidden away in Venice. With books scaling the walls and filling bathtubs and waterproof basins, the bookstore is sure to make any reader’s heart dance. The charming stonewalled rooms overflowing with books and cats and a breathtaking view of gondolas passing through the centuries-old Venetian canals make this bookstore seem straight out of a fairy tale.

Little Free Library

A unique concept that has taken root in over a hundred countries around the world. They are book boxes stacked with books ready for readers to exchange with books they no longer wish to keep. The little free library website has a world map that shows you the boxes closest to you. This simple, cost-effective way of sharing books among people has reignited people’s love for reading while making it more accessible.

Bookstores are inviting getaways, filled to the brim with stories waiting to be heard. These unique bookstores anticipate your every need, whether it be a delicious meal or a place to stay overnight. The next time you want to browse books for hours visit one of the paradisiacal bookstores on our list. Which of these unique bookstores do you want to visit the most?


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