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30 Most Beautiful Bookshops Around The World

30 Most Beautiful Bookshops Around The World

With the ease of acquiring e-books in one click, the brick and mortar bookstores seem to be sadly reducing in popularity. However, book lovers argue that a traditional temple of books can be an eclectic atmosphere that propels discovery, fantasy, entertainment, solitude and social networking. These spectacular bookstores encourage readers to put aside technology and enjoy the pleasures of the printed word on page.

1. Libreria El Pendulo, Mexico City, Mexico

Besides browsing through the shelves, you can sip a mojito, munch on food, enjoy live music or stand-up comedy at this cross between a cafe and a bookshop. It even offers valet parking, elevating the cafe/bookstore concept exceptionally well. Be sure to give a nudge to the sand-filled pendulum that sways back and forth making patterns as customers give a gentle push.

Cafebrería el Péndulo

    2. Polare, Maastricht, Holland

    Transformed from a 700 year old Catholic church to an ornate bookstore, the Polare (formerly Selexyz) is indeed a class apart. It houses a massive three storey bookshelf with staircases, elevators and walkways. Strangely enough, before the Amsterdam based architecture firm, Merkx+ Girod, designed the current structure, it used to be a bicycle shed.

    Polare

      3. Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina

      El Ateneo Grand Splendid is a gorgeous renovated movie theater, that is now home to a variety of books. It retains the 1920s glamor using theater boxes for reading rooms, painted ceilings and crimson stage curtains. It is believed that over a million people visit this majestic bookstore every year.

      ElAteneoGrandSplendid

        4. Kid’s Republic, Beijing, China

        Opened in 2005, Kid’s Republic is the first bookstore in China to specialize in children’s books. The bold and bright rainbow colored design makes it a fun and comfortable place for kids, encouraging them to enter their realm of imagination. Although it is a haven for kids, I can’t help imagining myself tucked away in one of their reading cubbies, with a book in hand of course.

        KidsRepublic

          5. Shakespeare and Company, Paris, France

          For those who love books stacked over books in narrow hallways, don’t look further than Paris’s left bank. Hiding behind the shadows of Notre Dame, Shakespeare and Company is an English language literature bookstore opened in 1951 by George Whitman. It was featured in Woody Allen’s film, Midnight in Paris.

          ShakespeareCompany

            6. Bart’s bookstore, Ojai, California

            Overwhelmed with his collection of books, Richard Bartinsdale built a collection of bookcases in 1964 by a California sidewalk so that passers-by could browse through them. Today Bart’s is the largest outdoor bookstore in the world. Not only that, it boasts of an extensive collection of rare books.

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            Barts

              7. Ler Devagar, Lisbon, Portugal

              This state of the art modern bookstore occupies multiple stories of a former factory in Lisbon, a building built in 1864 to manufacture thread and fabric. Readers can delve in Portuguese and international paperbacks on various subjects while a bicycle with wings overlooks them.

              LevDevagar

                8. Librería Acqua Alta, Venice, Italy

                Only in Venice, can you find thousands of books inside a rowing boat, gondola and even bathtubs! Its owner, Luis Frizzio, a 70 year old Venetian, has many cats who love to roam through the books. The shop overlooks one of Venice’s famous canals.

                LiberiaAcquaAlta

                  9. Livraria Lello e Irmao, Porto, Portugal

                  For Harry Potter fans, this bookstore may seem familiar, as it has been featured several times in the movie series. The neo-gothic façade, heavily decorated walls, stained glass ceilings along with ornamented pillars are sure to impress you.

                  LivariaLelloIrmao

                    10. The American Book Center, Amsterdam, Netherlands

                    The American Book Center or simply ABC, plays an important role in the promotion of English literature in the multicultural city of Amsterdam. For a book lover, ABC is more of a department store with an organized selection of books and magazines, in the backdrop of a pleasant interior. Their Treehouse section witnesses many events, conferences, workshops, courses and performances by upcoming artists.

                    TheAmericanCookCenter

                      11. Plural Bookshop, Bratislava, Slovakia

                      Plural Bookshop may be smaller in size than more established stores, but its smart and innovative design makes it well worth the visit. It has a climbing wooden floor sandwiched between bookshelves, that serves as seats for browsers as well as an auditorium for spectators during talks and events. There is also a coffee shop at the floor’s peak.

                      PluralBookshop

                        12. Librairie des Colonnes, Tanger, Morocco

                        Oozing French charm, this historic bookshop is a famous landmark boasting of wonderful architecture. It is long associated with authors that made Tanger their home permanently or for a few months. The owners, Pierre Bergé and Simon-Pierre Hamelin, often organize events such as book signings, film screenings and musical evenings.

                        13. Books Actually, Singapore

                        Specializing in fiction and literature, this independent bookstore deserves a visit. Although it is relatively new (opened in 2005), it has already make a mark for itself as one of Singapore’s most beautiful places. In an inviting and warm setting, you can lust over a treasure of books as well as retro items such as typewriters.

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                        BooksActually

                          14. Librairie Avant-Garde, Nanjing, China

                          In 2013, CNN named Libraririe Avant-Garde as China’s most beautiful bookstore. It is located at a mammoth parking lot spread over 4,000 square feet, which was once used as a bomb shelter. Instead of a shelf for best-selling books, visitors are welcomed by a replica of Rodin’s “The Thinker” sculpture.

                          LibrairieAvantGarde

                            15. Livraria da Vila, São Paulo, Brazil

                            What really makes the design of Livraria da Vila unique is how it utilizes books not just as a product to be sold, but as a decorative element. Isay Weinfeld has beautifully designed every corner of this store, including atriums on the ground floor so that visitors can peek at other floors.

                            LivrariaDaVila

                              16. Bookabar Bookshop, Rome, Italy

                              The Bookàbar is located in Palazzo delle Esposizioni, the largest inter-disciplinary exhibition area in central Rome. It has three large, airy rooms, two of which are devoted to books, catalogues, DVDs and CDs, while the third contains a stylish museum store. Next to the bookstore is a café, with a menu inspired by current collections on view at the museum.

                              Bookabar

                                17. John K. King Used And Rare Books, Detroit, Michigan

                                This houses more than a million books in an abandoned glove factory in Detroit’s industrial wasteland. Need I say more? You can spend hours here, finding one gem after another. The cardboard signs and musty paperback aromas add to the industrial feel of the store.

                                JohnKing

                                  18. Barter Books, Alnwick, UK

                                  Back in 1991, and in the face of a rather large overdraft, Mary Manley decided to open a secondhand bookshop in an old train station – one that would be based on the swap system and called Barter Books. It hit the headlines in 2001, when the owner discovered an old World War II poster with the slogan, “Keep Calm and Carry On”, and the simple design has turned it into an international phenomenon.

                                  BarterBooks

                                    19. Cook & Book, Brussels, Belgium

                                    Conveniently located on the main line of the metro in Brussels is a whimsical bookstore cum restaurant. Don’t be confused by the name, Cook and Book, does not specialize in books on cooking. Instead, it is a unique combination of good food with good books, following the motto read while you eat.

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                                    CookandBook

                                      20. Atlantis Books, Santorini, Greece

                                      A neglected old village house was converted to a magical place,  when two young friends decided to open a bookshop on the island over a bottle of wine. It was the only thing the Mediterranean island was missing – a haven for readers and writers. Atlantis hosts festivals and sunset readings on their terrace with sea views. They even started their own publishing house in the back room of the shop.

                                      AtlantisBooks

                                        21. Brazenhead Books, New York, USA

                                        After the rent at his Brooklyn retail space shot through the roof, Michael Seidenberg moved his secondhand bookshop to his Upper East Side apartment, where it exists under the radar, unknown even to many who live in his building. To visit, all you have to do is call him and make an appointment. Good luck finding him in the phone book, if you have one.

                                        22. Le Bal Des Ardents, Lyon, France

                                        French for “the burning ball”, this is a quant little bookstore with an eye-catching arch entrance. Born in 2003, it is committed to defending unknown authors, publishing houses or independent themes, that are little prized by traditional stores.

                                        LeBalDesArdents

                                          23. Librairie Ptyx, Brussels, Belgium

                                          La Libraire Ptyx is famed for its dictionary-esque façade featuring images and brief bios of some of authors whose books are held within. It offers a wide variety of literature, with a focus on facilitating conversation and exchanging of views.

                                          LibrairiePtyx

                                            24. Book Now, Bendigo, Australia

                                            Old books are packed tightly onto shelves, laid out on tables and categorised into little alcoves. Creaking, timber floorboards and stairs lead up to a book-filled mezzanine. It would be difficult to come into Book Now and not find something of interest among the 60,000 or so secondhand titles that they carry.

                                            25. Livraria Cultura, Sao Paulo, Brazil

                                            Livraria Cultura was founded in 1948 by Eva Herz, who had left Berlin in 1938 to escape from the Nazis. She started by using a spare room at her house as a rental library, and eventually paved her way to Brazil’s largest bookstore. There are massive dragon statues to play on, areas to lounge, and four stories of pure book-filled aisles to wander through.

                                            LivrariaCultura

                                              26. Brattle Bookshop, Boston, USA

                                              Founded in 1825, this is one of the largest antiquarian book shops in the country. The store got its name from Brattle Street in Boston, where it originally was located. Today is stands on West Street in downtown Boston. The vacant parking lot next to it serves as an outdoor wing of books, weather permitting of course.

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                                              BrattleBookShop

                                                27. Powell’s Books, Portland, USA

                                                Powell’s is enormous and you will need a map to find your way around (the store provides one). It was previously a car dealership that has now become a Portland landmark selling old and new books.

                                                PowellsBooks

                                                  28. Daunt Books Marylebone, London, UK 

                                                  Books arranged in elegant style line the walls of this Edwardian building, providing the perfect setting for one of London’s most treasured, independent bookshops. A glorious mezzanine and a quiet ambience give the building an air of academia, like an old university library.

                                                  DauntBooks

                                                    29. Munro’s Books, Victoria, Canada

                                                    Munro’s Books has been described by journalists as the most magnificent bookstore in Canada, and possibly in North America. Since 1984, the store has been located in the centre of Victoria’s Old Town, formerly a Royal Bank of Canada building.

                                                    MunroBooks

                                                      30. Liberia Altair, Barcelona, Spain

                                                      The largest travel specialist in the world is possibly one of the most beautiful bookstores too. For decades they have been inspiring travelers to start their next adventure. Take a guidebook, sit on the couch below their ornate iron columns and let your imagination take flight.

                                                      LiberiaAltair

                                                        Pictures in this post are sourced from Creative Commons.

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                                                        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                                                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                                                        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                                                        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                                                        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                                                        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                                                        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                                                        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                                                        • (1) Research
                                                        • (2) Deciding the topic
                                                        • (3) Creating the outline
                                                        • (4) Drafting the content
                                                        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                                                        • (6) Revision
                                                        • (7) etc.

                                                        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                                                        2. Change Your Environment

                                                        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                                                        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                                                        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                                                        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                                                        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                                                        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                                                        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                                                        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                                                        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                                                        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                                                        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                                                        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                                                        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                                                        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                                                        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                                                        6. Get a Buddy

                                                        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                                                        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                                                        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                                                        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                                                        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                                                        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                                                        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                                                        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                                                        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                                                        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                                                        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                                                        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                                                        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                                                        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                                                        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                                                        Reality check:

                                                        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

                                                        More About Procrastination

                                                        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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