Even in an age of one-click online purchases and ebooks there’s still nothing to compare with taking your first steps into a newly discovered bookshop, exploring shelf after shelf, scanning spines and hunting for your next obsessive read.
In the run-up to Christmas we’re celebrating the unique atmosphere and knowledge of independent bookshops. These are 24 of our favourites from around the world – let us know yours in the comments below or by using the hashtag #LoveBookshops.
We’ve also put together a Twitter list of most of the bookshops which you can check out here.
1. Actes Sud
2. Athenaeum Boekhandel
3. Atlantis Books
4. Barter Books
8. Brazen Head Bookshop
Burnham Market, UK
Established in 1998 in an old house in Burnham Market, near Horatio Nelson’s birthplace, the Brazen Head is full of nooks and crannies and has a loyal following of dedicated collectors.
“You could easily get lost in the Brazen Head bookshop. A labyrinth of small rooms filled to the brim with second-hand and antiquarian books specialising in art, poetry and fiction as well as children’s classics.” Alison McFarlane, Executive Director
9. Broese Booksellers
12. McNally Jackson Independent Booksellers
New York, USA
13. Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights
14. Randy’s Book Xchange
Quang Nam, Vietnam
15. Sam Read Bookseller
16. Seagull Books
17. College Street
“Not a shop but a street, which is completely crammed with second-hand book stalls, mostly selling coursebooks for students at President University, but I did find a nice collection of essays on film by Satyajat Ray there and – bizarrely – some sort of manifesto on the Arts and Crafts movement by William Morris. There is also a wonderful coffee shop which persists, even now, in selling Nescafe whitened with condensed milk – perversely delicious.” Sarah Bower, General Manager
18. The Book Hive
19. The Bookworm
20. The Globe Bookstore and Cafe
Prague, Czech Republic
21. Tiny Book Store
22. Topping & Company Booksellers
A vibrant, independent haven for bibliophiles, set in the shadow of the magnificent Ely Cathedral with over 45,000 titles and knowledgeable, passionate booksellers. Complimentary pots of fresh tea and coffee are always on offer for browsers of the hand-crafted shelves. A lively, all-year-round events programme provides readers and authors with the opportunity to meet and chat.
“I know that someone has thought about every book on every shelf – and every shelf and flat space is JAMMED with books. They make their shop a place people want to be – not just where they want to shop.” Chris Gribble, Chief Executive
23. Voltaire & Rousseau Bookshop
Tell us about your favourite indie bookshop in the comments or on Twitter using the hashtag #LoveBookshops.
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