12 Quirky Bookstores from Around the World - Part I

12 Quirky Bookstores from Around the World - Part I
The Bookbarge Bookshop in London, Photo Credit: Landscape Stock Photos / Shutterstock.com

From a 13-century underground cavern to a floating barge on a UK canal, these are some of the most offbeat bookstores we've seen. In our two-part series, we take you around the world through the most unconventional spaces selling books.

Sayani Manna
June 29 , 2020
08 Min Read

Parker Posey gave us a sneak-peek into New York’s rare book world in the delightful The Booksellers, and taking some major inspiration from it, we came up with our own ist of unique and unconventional bookstores around the world that demand a visit. Bookmark this list, all you bookworms! 

Alabama Booksmith, Alabama

 
 
 
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A post shared by Alabama Booksmith (@alabamabooksmith) on Nov 27, 2019 at 12:39pm PST

Forget scavenging bookstores for the rare author-signed copy because this tiny shop in Birmingham, Alabama, is chock full of it. Every last book in this store is author-signed. Its special ‘Signed First Editions Club’ has its own breed of rare book lover followers. 

Tsutaya Book Apartment, Shinjuku

 
 
 
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A post shared by TSUTAYA BOOK APARTMENT (@tsutayabookapartment) on May 21, 2018 at 1:28am PDT

Eat, sleep, work, shower or even go glamping—you can do it all at this Japanese bookstore in Shinjuku. Tsutaya’s six floors have dedicated spaces for a gamut of activities that you can do while reading your books.

Le Roy Lire, Provins

 
 
 
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A post shared by Le Roy Lire (@leroylire) on Dec 15, 2018 at 3:45am PST

You don’t need a TARDIS; simply visit France’s UNESCO town of Provins and slink into the 13th-century underground cavern bookstore to go back to the medieval times. The name is a play on the French title of Shakespeare’s King Lear (Le Roi Lear), but the manuscripts, books, DVDs and maps, all tell the story of the medieval past.

The Book Barge, Britain

 
 
 
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A post shared by The Book Barge (@thebookbarge) on Nov 7, 2015 at 6:04am PST

Books may take you floating to Neverland, but this bookshop is actually sailing down the canals of Britain, with resident rabbit Napolean Bunnyparte. It’s a 60-feet narrowboat for a shop, and you’ll have to follow their Insta page to know where it's currently sailing.

The Open Bookshop, Wigtown

 
 
 
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A post shared by David (@johnny.cassettes) on May 28, 2018 at 4:05pm PDT

Dream of opening your own bookshop one day? Head to Wigtown, Scotland’s The Open Bookshop, to get a hands-on experience of running a bookstore. A bookshop with a B&B, guests get to manage the bookstore during their stay here.

Barter Books, Alnwick

 
 
 
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A post shared by Barter Books UK (@barterbooksuk) on Jan 22, 2020 at 12:28am PST

Keep calm and visit Barter Books in Northumberland’s Alnwick Station because this is exactly where the original World War II poster ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ was first uncovered. What started as a shop to buy books on barter is now one of Europe’s largest secondhand booksellers with a model train running between book columns and poetry lines written along its shelves. 

Read | 12 Quirky Bookstores from Around the World - Part 2


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