For voracious readers, a beautiful bookstore ranks up there with ocean views and new-baby-smell in the relaxation department. In honor of National Book Lovers Day, take a look at these seven examples of paginated paradise.
1. Libreria El Ateneo Grand Splendid // Buenos Aires, Argentina
Formerly a 1920s-era performance and movie theater, the Grand Splendid was the home of tango stars like Carlos Gardel. Everything inside has been repurposed: The box seats have been converted to reading nooks, while the stage is now a cafe. Visit in the afternoons and you might get to hear someone at the piano taking advantage of the building's amazing acoustics.
2. Livraria Lello & Irmão // Porto, Portugal
Remind you of Hogwarts? You’re not alone. Former Porto resident J.K. Rowling is rumored to have been inspired by this sprawling bookstore, which features a winding, split staircase, an art gallery, and a tea room.
3. Livraria Cultura // São Paulo, Brazil
Part of a shopping plaza, Brazil’s largest bookstore features four levels, including a “geek mezzanine” for comics readers; rows of bleachers encourage idling.
4. Selexyz Dominicanen // Maastricht, Holland
With the kind of grandeur available only to 700-year-old churches, the Selexyz is a place of book worship. Frescoes decorate the ceiling, and a cross-shaped table sits in the store’s café.
5. Atlantis Books // Oia, Santorini, Greece
Craig Walzer and Oliver Wise were touring Greece in 2002 when they decided it would be a good idea to open a bookstore in one of the famed white houses nestled in the rock cliffs of Santorini. The shop has a rotating staff that actually lives on the premises; the upper-level deck (shown above) has a terrible view, but somehow visitors get by.
6. Poplar Kid’s Republic // Beijing, China
Like cats, children enjoy stuffing themselves into tight spaces. Designers took that into account in developing the Poplar bookstore, which incorporates little circular reading spaces and bright color accents.
7. Carturesti Carusel // Bucharest, Romania
Six stories of books, books, and more books populate this 10,760 square foot establishment, which opened earlier this year. Formerly a bank building, the store appears to be a thriving business when it's not being seized by communists.