Okay, confession time: whenever I go to a new city, one of the first things I do is look for all the bookstores.
What can I say? I’m very predictable.
Because of that, I have found some really amazing bookstores! Some are famous, some are less well known, all are wonderful. Let’s take a trip and visit a few of them!
Daunt Books (Marylebone) | London, UK
You can’t spend much time in London without seeing someone with a Daunt Books tote bag. What makes this store special, aside from its beautiful setup and decor, is that it’s organized geographically. You can find novels from certain parts of the world alongside guidebooks and history texts. Walking through this bookstore is like taking a tour of world literature!
Foyles (Charing Cross) | London, UK
One of the biggest and most well-known stores in the UK, Foyles truly is a bookstore paradise. I can (and have) gotten lost in these shelves for hours at a time. Basically anything you’re looking for, you can find in Foyles.
Hatchard’s | London, UK
Hatchard’s is London’s oldest bookstore, which is something you can feel when walking through it. The floors are creaky and uneven, the shelves are weirdly arranged, and everything is wood-paneled. But that’s part of what makes this bookstore so special! You really get a sense of history and importance walking through it – not to mention it’s huge and absolutely packed with books.
Shakespeare and Company | Paris, France
I couldn’t not put one of the most famous bookstores in the world on this list! Anyone who’s been to Shakespeare and Co., Paris’ English-language bookstore on the bank of the Seine, can attest that it’s a truly special spot. At this point it’s basically a pilgrimage for book lovers. And the smell of old books and old wood when you step inside… *happy sigh*
Strand Bookstore | New York City
Another pretty well-known spot, which I included because every time I step into this store I feel like I’m stepping into a better world. Even though it’s always crowded with people and maybe a little disorganized sometimes, there’s a reason this bookstore is so beloved. Plus, its rare books room has some really cool stuff!
Books of Wonder | New York City
This all children’s and YA bookstore in New York is one of my favorite spots on earth. It’s impossible for me to leave this store without buying anything – and every book I’ve bought there has been signed! This is a truly magical spot in the middle of the city. Plus, they have signed copies of some of the Harry Potter books…for only $2000.
A Room Of One’s Own | Madison, WI
My friends and I call this “the feminist bookstore” and we have to go there every time we’re in Madison. Seriously, it has a huge section of feminist literature! And a whole room for sci-fi/fantasy! *heart eyes* Not to mention it’s the place where I met Becky Albertalli, so it has good memories attached to it.
Elliott Bay Book Company | Seattle, WA
This is just one of those bookstores that you walk into and it immediately feels like home. It’s the perfect spot to peruse for a book, then curl up in one of their armchairs or in the cafe and read for ages. Not to mention, it has this beautiful wood warehouse-esque aesthetic that I love.
Village Books | Bellingham, WA
This is another store where I can spend hours wandering the shelves or reading in the cafe. Of all of these bookstores, this is the one where I’ve spent the most time – I could tell you without looking where all my favorite books are located and probably what a lot of the staff picks are (since I’ve gotten a lot of recommendations there). I can’t leave this store without at least five new books added to my to-read shelf on Goodreads.
Have you been to any of these bookstores? What are some of your favorite indie bookstores?