While most independent bookstores around the world have almost lost the battle against international book-selling chains and e-commerce giants like Amazon, a few have managed to stay afloat and even thrive. Here are some from around the world that are keeping the joy of reading alive.
Honesty Bookshop, Hay-On-Wye, Wales, UK
This charming little Welsh village located next to the Wye river in Northern England has transformed itself into a 'town of books' over the last half-century. It all began when a Hay native, Richard Booth opened a second-hand bookstore. His aim was to fill Hay with books and set up a new economic model that would combine books with tourism. So far the plan seems to be working since the town boasts of almost 40 bookstores now and has garnered a good amount of attention from travellers.
Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, UK
Located in the heart of Bath, Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights was voted as one of the ten best bookstores in the world by The Guardian in 2015. Years of hand-selling books, making customised book lists for subscribers and being open to feedback makes it the perfect place for a long chat about books and literature.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France
The most famous bookstore in the world obviously had to make it to this list. First opened by Sylvia Beach in 1919, it was here that the likes of Hemingway, Ezra Pound and James Baldwin hung out.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina
From being a performing arts theatre to a cinema and finally a bookstore, the Grand Splendid has come a long way since its inception in 1919. The gorgeous opera boxes and frescoed ceiling have thankfully been preserved and the store draws almost a million visitors every year.
Powell's, Oregon, USA
A beacon of hope for independent bookstores around the world, Powell's in Oregon occupies an entire city block! Also known as the City of Books, the store boasts of over a million carefully-selected titles
Selexyz Dominicanen, Maastricht, The Netherlands
Almost a pilgrimage spot for readers, the sprawling Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht was once a church built in the 13th century. It was only in 2005 that a group of architects renovated the church with a three storey shelf and a lovely cafe. The architecture is gorgeous, obviously.
Blossom Book House, Bengaluru
Blossom Book House is one of the best examples of an independent bookstore still managing to thrive in the country. Check out Overheard at Blossoms to find out why it is important to keep independent bookstores alive and how kindle can never replace real books.