I think my ideal vacation might be a trip around the world visiting various bookstores. I like all different kinds. The giant, sweeping bookstores you can find famously in China or London. I like the mom-and-pop bookstores that have grown over the years and boast a healthy supply of literature. But there’s a special place in my heart for the small, charming independent bookstores. These are my people. My kindred spirits. It’s in these bookstores that you’ll find your fellow bibliophiles and aesthetes. Maybe once this global pandemic is all over we can all take a road trip. You in?
We have to visit the oldest bookshop in London! Hatchard’s is a beautiful five-story bookshop on Piccadilly. Founded in the 18th century, Hatchards hosts regular literary events and book signings.
Persephone Books reprints neglected fiction and non-fiction by mid-twentieth century (mostly) women writers.
Various Locations, Mexico
OK, so this is a bit of a cheat since there are multiple locations, but all of The Pendulum Library (Librería el Péndulo) shops are too good to be true. Think wall-to-wall books, plants, and loads of natural light. It’s easy to see why they are regarded as some of the most beautiful bookstores in the world.
This is my favorite place to order books online for my son, and I’d love to visit this sweet shop some day in person! The owner, Bunnie, has such a heart for both kids and books and you can see her passion in every corner of the bookstore.
San Francisco, California
When Taylor took me here during my first visit to San Francisco, I was hooked. Located in Outer Sunset, it’s a minimalist bibliophile’s dream. I make sure to visit each time I’m in SF.
Bart’s is the largest independent outdoor bookstore in the U.S. Here you’ll find a massive variety of books from 35 cent specials, which line the outside walls and are still for sale on the honor system, to rare, out-of-print first editions, and art books valued in the thousands of dollars. (It’s also one of Taylor’s favorites!)
Since 1949, The Bookshop on the Heath has stocked a wide range of books, from every day reading copies to collectible modern first editions, fine bindings and antiquarian books. The shop also stocks a range of original and high-quality reproduction maps and prints, together with some original art by local artist Tony Lord and others.
This combo bookstore-art gallery is an aesthete’s dream. For 15 years, the Yvon Lambert bookstore has offered a wide variety of art books, exhibition catalogs, rare and out-of-print books, multiples and posters, and continue to collaborate with artists, recognized or promising, with which it produces books and editions. It also publishes bibliophile works, printed in a limited number of copies. These exceptional works are designed as works of art in their own right.
Located on the cliffs of Oia, you’ll never find a better view from a bookstore than at Atlantis books. You can linger until midnight and enjoy the view along with its variety of fiction and non-fiction books in Greek, French, English, Spanish, Chinese and more.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The name says it all. This former home of William Faulkner now serves as a shop selling classic and local interest books. We love a bit of history with our bookstores!
San Diego, California
I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my favorite local bookstore. The Book Catapult is a true gem that is family-owned and -operated. It is still relatively new to the area, which makes me love it even more for bringing a true love of books to our town and creating a space for bibliophiles to visit rather than ordering off of Amazon or going to a big-box store.
This darling space is an Indie bookstore with a focus on design, art and photography titles, plus gifts and a small art gallery.