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Lonely Planet names the world's 10 best bookstores

Lonely Planet, a publisher in the business of providing guides to all corners of the globe, has posted its list of the 10 best bookstores in the world. It reads like a travelogue wish list for the bookishly inclined.

There's Lello Bookshop in Lisbon (pictured), a neo-gothic extravaganza with serpentine staircases that opened in 1906. Bookàbar in Rome, Atlantis Books in Greece, Selexyz Dominicanen in the Netherlands, Another Country in Berlin and Paris' Shakespeare & Company to round out the European selections. Their London bookseller of choice is travel bookseller Daunt Books.

Only a single Asian bookstore makes the list: The Bookworm in Bejing, which has, in addition to books for sale and for loan, an annual book festival and celebrations of wine and whiskey.

In the Americas, Buenos Aires' Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid, housed in a 1920s movie palace saved from destruction, is often cited as one of the world's most beautiful. And then there's City Lights in San Francisco, less gorgeous than iconic, known for being the literary hub of the beat scene.

Of the list of 10, three appeared in a similar list of the top 10 bookstores put together by The Guardian in 2008. One that made their list, which Lonely Planet missed, is Los Angeles' own Secret Headquarters, "known for being one of the neatest, friendliest comic stores anywhere."

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Lello Bookshop in Lisbon. Credit: Rafael Marchante / Reuters

Comments () | Archives (26)

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Oh so many bookstores so little time. I need to travel more.

What? The Strand isn't on the list? It has 8 miles of books. Does City Lights have eight miles of books?

The bookshop is not in Lisbon its in Porto.

OMG!!!!!!! How can they make such a huge HUGE mistake by printing the WRONG city for the Lello bookshop? It's NOT in Lisbon, it's in Porto, Portugal! The photographer/writer got lost by 300 km and didn't notice?

Lello Bookshop is in fact one of the most beautiful bookstores I have ever seen.
However, it is not in Lisbon but in Oporto.

Lelo is Porto Portugal .

How is Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon omitted? It is the biggest bookstore west of the Mississippi!

World's best bookstore? Amazon books.


What about the Borders at my local mall? You know the one where you have to wade through a quarter mile of DVDs, CDs, posters, coffee shop, bakery, tchochkes, and other crap before you actually find any books. How on Earth could it not make the list?

It may not have miles of books nor the incessant fawning love of millions of New Yorkers, but I still love Book Soup. It's the only place in the world where you can find Keanu Reeves trying to intimidate the staff there.

Well, getting Lello's location in Portugal incorrect is bad enough, but omitting Powell's City of Books in Portland, OR? Even as a former New Yorker, I can safely say The Strand doesn't hold a candle to Powell's.

Whatever--I need to stop reading these lists!

Casa Lam in Mexico City is one of the most beautiful I have seen and it is noted for its impressive selection of academic books.

I agree with James. Powell's Books in Portland is pretty awesome.

How can you not mention the footpaths of Mumbai?

Of the list, I've only been to City Lights. I was completely unimpressed.
I prefer Barnes and Noble.

Lello is an amazingly beautiful shop in Porto, not Lisboa.

I live in Argentina and without a doubt the bookstore that eclipses all others is Amazon.com. I can have a book on my computer in 60 seconds. Beats a trip to Buenos Aires.

ARCANA at 1229 3rd St. Promenade in Santa Monica....HENNESSEY & INGALLS, which is around the corner at 214 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica...and MOE'S at 2476 Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley....these are the only three serious dealers in art books west of the Mississippi......

POWELLS helooooo. It doesn't have the hep rep like City Lights but it occupies a damn city block.

What? No Powell's Bookstore in Portland, OR?

I know it's quality/iconic status--not quantity, but I would have put Powell's on the list.

Dear Bookworm-
That's fine--you sit in your little comfy chair at Barnes & Ignoble, and ponder the writers who came out of the City Lights/Beat Generation as you try to tune the muzak out. And WATCH that four dollar latte--you might get that pile of mass markets wet!

Those people need to come to Portland, Oregon and see Powell's City of Books. Now that is an awesome bookstore! Well, maybe next year...

This is another one of those snobby, too-much-time-on-our-hands cutsie stories from your Los Angeles Times. Patronize your local public library, people, before we lose them. Same to you...

My choice for one of best book stores is Banyen Books in Vancouver, Canada
Austin Repath


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