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Five Unusual Bookshops Worldwide


There’s something special about walking into a bookshop. It’s like walking into a room full of friends, there’s a spark of recognition as you spot your favourite books, and excitement as you notice a new release. But some bookshops take the browsing experience to a whole new level with their unique locations and beautiful decor. Here are some of our favourite unusual bookshops from around the world.


Chongqing Zhongshuge Bookstore



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Location: Chongqing City, China

This architectural masterpiece employs the clever use of mirrors to create a seemingly endless maze of books. The Instagram image above shows the ‘ladder hall’ but this bookshop has several more unique rooms including the lobby with lamp-shaped shelving, the colourful children’s room and a hallway filled with curving shelves to make a tunnel of books. To see more pictures of this unusual bookshop, check out this article.


El Ateneo Grand Splendid



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Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

This beautiful theatre has been transformed into a breath-taking bookshop. The original frescoed ceiling, elegant theatre boxes and graceful balconies add to the luxurious atmosphere. The theatre was built in 1919 and hosted tango performances. In 1929 it became a cinema and it was the first in Buenos Aires to show sound films. It was converted into an opulent bookshop in 2000 and remains a stunning piece of history.


Word on the Water



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Location: London, England

What’s better than a bookshop? A floating one. This self-proclaimed book barge is a cosy haven for book lovers filled with interesting reads and beautiful editions. If you’re planning a visit be sure to check their social media as they also have musical events! Here are their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts.


Bart’s Books



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Location: Ojai, California, USA

This unusual bookshop is the ‘largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the USA’. Readers can browse in the sunshine and enjoy a nice breeze as they pick through an eclectic mix of books. The bookshop started its outdoor expansion when the owner Richard Bartinsdale ran out of space and began lining the sidewalk with bookcases. He now stocks almost a million titles!

To see how this bookshop copes with the rain check out their Instagram.


Livraria Ler Devagar



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Location: Lisbon, Portugal

This restored factory is not just a bookshop but also a library, exhibition gallery, auditorium, music shop, café, bar and restaurant. The iconic flying bicycle hanging from the ceiling gives the open space a wonderfully modern feel. This place has become a community centre with a variety of events and workshops. The bookshop has a great name, Ler Devagar, which means ‘read slowly’.

For more information on the history of this space visit their website.


These five unusual bookshops are all beautifully unique and amazing to learn about. If you’ve had the opportunity to visit any of these or other wonderful bookshops let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram @FairlightBooks.


Stay tuned because we’ll be continuing this worldwide exploration of bookshops in another blog!