Selexyz Dominicanen is the world’s finest bookstore. It is housed in a haunting 13th-century Dominican church in Maastricht. Customers and visitors can sit and admire the renovated 14th century ceiling frescoes or sip a coffee in the cafe at the back of the church and soak up the surreal atmosphere.
Created from a merger between Bergman’s bookshop, the Academische Boekhandel, and the Dutch Seleyz chain, the Selexyz Dominicanen stocks a wide selection of books across all subjects. It also features a sizeable collection of books in English.
The beautiful building was previously used as a parish, warehouse, archive and giant parking lot for bicycles before finally being made over into a majestic bookstore. The magnificent design has won the Lensvelt de Architect Interior Prize so far and the bookstore has become an attraction in its own right.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
El Ateneo is heaven on earth for avid readers and book lovers. Located in Buenos Aires, the glorious theatre turned bookstore promises one of the most mind blowing bookstore experiences you will ever have. The architecture of the building is as beautiful today as it always has been, having retained its original frescoed ceilings, ornate theatre boxes, elegant rounded balconies and luxurious red stage curtains.
The Livraria Lello is not just a beautiful neo gothic building but one of the most unique bookstores in the world. It features stained glass windows, heavily decorated walls and ceilings, and a red stairway, which connects two levels. The pillars are ornamented with bronze bas-reliefs of Portuguese literature figures.
Poplar Kids Republic
Poplar Kids Republic is one of China’s most extensive children’s bookstores. It stocks over 3,000 illustrated storybooks from Europe, America, Japan and China. The trendy and colourful store makes reading fun and encourages children to enjoy books. The bookstore hosts a free storytelling hour on weekends, which is followed up with arts and crafts activities.
Shakespeare & Co Antiquarian Books
Shakespeare and Company is a quirky independent bookstore, which specialises in English-language literature. Shakespeare and Company, which is located in the fifth arrondissement in Paris’ left-bank, serves as both a bookstore and reading library. It houses young writers, known as ‘tumbleweeds’, who earn their living by working in the shop for a couple of hours every day.
OHWOW Book Club
New York, US
This petite basement boutique is located below street level in a historic brownstone on Waverly Place and covers just 150 sq feet. OHWOW features black and white stacked shelves, fluorescent lighting and turquoise walls with Navajo patterns. The trippy storewas designed by acclaimed architect, Rafael de Cárdenaswho themed the space on a classic pre-war NYC water closet.
Mexico City, Mexico
Established in 1992, El Pendulo is one of the most prestigious cultural centres in the Mexican capital. It houses a cafe, art gallery, a small discussion area and even a room for screening art films. In Spanish, El Pendulo is referred to as a ‘cafebreria’, a portmanteau word combining cafe and bookshop.
Los Angeles, US
Secret Headquarters has been hailed by many as the coolest and greatest comic book store in the world. It stocks the best in graphic novels, trade paperbacks and monthly titles. Secret Headquarters is a comic book store with a touch a class. It has a fresh decor and features light wooden flooring and comfy leather reading chairs.
San Francisco, US
City Lightshas been hailed as a ‘Literary Landmark’ by booklovers in the US. The independent bookstore, which was founded in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D Martin, has considerably expanded over the years. Today it stocks three floors of both new release hardcovers and paperbacks from all the major publishing houses as well as an impressive range of titles from smaller, speciality publishers.
The Travel Bookshop
Notting Hill, London
The Travel Bookshop is nestled between the art galleries and retro boutiques of Notting Hill. It stocks an exhaustive selection of literature on every country in the world. Established in 1979, the bookshop has a truly unique atmosphere. It was the inspiration behind the bookshop in Richard Curtis’ classic film Notting Hill.