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Most Incredible Bookstores in the World

Are you someone who refuses to believe the theory that “print is dead”? Who always makes room in a suitcase for a paperback? Who finds it easy to spend more time at a charmingly ramshackle bookstore than a crowded tourist attraction? You’re not alone.

The organizers of Independent Bookstore Day celebrate book havens and book lovers everywhere each spring, and what better way to mark the occasion than to seek out an indie book shop on your next trip?

“The idea of Bookstore Day, first and foremost, is to celebrate indie bookstores and the symbiotic community of authors, readers, booksellers, and book lovers of all stripes,” Bookstore Day Program Director Samantha Schoech told me via email. Participating bookstores in the United States celebrate Bookstore Day by offering up special collectables, limited edition novels, and hosting author signings and other events for one day only—but there are plenty of picturesque, print-hoarding spots around the world that are also worthy of a visit in spirit of the day year-round, even if this holiday doesn’t formally broaden its reach beyond the U.S.

“We’ve already had a lot of contact with our counterparts in the U.K. and Canada and know that both Australia and New Zealand also have their own takes on bookstore day,” Schoech says.

Here are some of the most storied bookstores to celebrate the bookworm in all of us.


By Shannon McMahon

Editor Shannon McMahon is always planning her next trip and often writing in her travel journal. Follow her on Twitter @shanmcmahon_ and on Instagram @shanmcmahon.

Shannon joined SmarterTravel in 2015. A former news reporter, she's lived in the south of Spain, spotted elephants in Sri Lanka, gone spelunking in the Caribbean, hiked Jordan's Petra Basin, interviewed Sao Paulo's Michelin-Star chefs, and explored China via bullet train. Travel trends, news oddities, and her visits to up-and-coming destinations are some of her favorite things to write about.

Her stories have also appeared online on USA Today, The Sun, Huffington Post, Business Insider,,, and more. Her educational background is in journalism, art history, gender studies, Spanish, and film. She's been quoted as an expert travel source by CNBC,, MarketWatch, The Washington Post, USA Today, and more.

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