Bookstores Do Exist!
The bookstore has been condemned as a dying business for many years now, but we still believe in our favorite literary shops. These days, bookstores have become destinations in their own right, with charming settings, a roster of top-notch events, exceptional people-watching, and in-house cafes that keep us lingering for hours. We’ve found some of the best mega bookstores—what we like to think of as the meccas in the world of brick-and-mortar booksellers.
"A lovely collection of bookstores book , but there are a number of notable ones missing as in ,"Shakespeare and Company" in Paris where many writers were supported especially post World War 2." 4 stars by Arthur J
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Meccas For Books
The bookstore has been condemned as a dying business for many years now, but we still believe in our favorite literary shops.
These days, bookstores have become destinations in their own right, with charming settings, a roster of top-notch events, exceptional people-watching, and in-house cafes that keep us lingering for hours. We’ve found some of the best mega bookstores—what we like to think of as the meccas in the world of brick-and-mortar booksellers.
Foyles - London, UK
Foyles cofounder William Foyle, known as the “Barnum of Bookselling,” called his bookstore the best in the world.
William and his brother Gilbert started reselling their old textbooks and eventually grew their business into a five-story enterprise and the United Kingdom’s largest bookshop today. Its rich history and the range of books has made Foyles a London treasure.
Courtesy Stephen Morris
Powell's - Portland, OR
Occupying an entire city block, Powell’s claims to be the largest independent bookstore in the world. With over one million new and used books and approximately 80,000 visitors a day,
Powell’s has become a Portland mainstay. It has even expanded with six locations and a successful online store.
Strand Book Store - New York, NY
Boasting "18 miles of books," the Strand is lauded as the foremost independent bookstore in New York City. Started in 1927 on what was known as “Book Row”–
a stretch of six city blocks with 48 bookstores—the Strand is the last one standing today, holding over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books.
Courtesy Strand Bookstore
John K. King Used & Rare Books - Detroit, MI
Operating out of four-story abandoned glove factory in downtown Detroit, John F. King houses over one million books.
King moved his eponymous store from a theater building to an office space and finally to its home in the Advance Glove factory, solidifying the store’s presence and reputation among book lovers.
Courtesy John K. King Used & Rare Books
Book Soup - Los Angeles, CA
Known for its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, Book Soup has been serving L.A. since 1974. Home to over 60,000 titles, the shop is the largest bookstore in Hollywood.
Book Soup is a true cultural fixture, celebrated not only for its superb selection but also for its author and celebrity events, which have included readings by Muhammad Ali, Gore Vidal, Annie Leibovitz, and Edward Albee.
Courtesy Book Soup
Although it opened as a small, intimate bookshop in 1978, Prairie Lights quickly grew to the three and a half-story literary destination it is today.
The half floor, a coffee house, is the same space that hosted the local literary society throughout the 1930s. which included authors Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and e.e. cummings. The store lives up to its literary heritage by holding regular reading series by local and international writers, broadcasting them live on the radio for the larger community.
Courtesy Prairie Lights
Trident Booksellers & Cafe - Boston MA
One of the newer bookstores on this list, Trident Booksellers is a cornerstone of Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood.
The Flynn family launched the café in the 1980s because they felt that the space needed a nook to sit and read in. With two stories and 30 years behind them, Trident is making the way for a new kind of community bookstore.
Kinokuniya - New York, NY
Kinokuniya first opened in Tokyo in 1927 as a small gallery and bookstore, but today they operate over 80 locations. Their first outpost was in San Francisco,
then they branched out to what is now their flagship near New York City’s Bryant Park. The main store in Shinjuku is now nine stories with two underground floors. As a chain, Kinokuniya stands apart with its historical support of arts and culture—art galleries and theaters can be found within their bookstores—and its continual efforts to integrate Japanese- and English- language literature.
Kinokuniya New York
Magers and Quinn - Minneapolis, MN
One of the largest bookstores in the Midwest, Magers and Quinn stocks their three-floor property with new and used books in a wide range of subjects,
as well as a collection of rare and one-of-a-kind editions. Bibliophiles can sign up for Magers and Quinn's book club of signed first edition titles that will help you build up your own home library.
© ZUMA Press, Inc / Alamy
Elliott Bay Book Company - Seattle, WA
Elliot Bay Book Company stocks more than 150,000 titles in their multi-level store. With readings from authors like Karl Ove Knausgaard, Anne Lamott, and Amy Tan—
as well as renowned journalists and local writers—this 40 year-old independent bookstore has created a loyal community of book lovers in Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
© Stefano Politi Markovina / Alamy
Kyobo Book Centre - Seoul
This Seoul bookstore, the flagship of the ten-branch Kyobo chain, is so expansive that it could pass for a mall.
Textbooks, travel books, and bestsellers
are available in Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, and a smattering of other languages. However, there's plenty more on offer, including stationery, CDs, DVDs, posters, office supplies, accessories, and toys.
Kyobo and its smaller satellite branch in the posh Gangnam neighborhood are popular with teens and often featured in Korean music videos and TV shows.
© SFL Travel / Alamy