By the Book: When a digital device just won't do
Collected by Derk Richardson, AFAR Staff
Bookstores and libraries offer the traveler places to retreat into the world of the mind and to get deeper glimpses of the local literary and popular culture.
Karlovo nám. 2097/10, 120 00 Praha-Nové Město, Czechia
One of the best things about Prague is the fact that there is excellent public transportation - a metro, buses and even trams. There are still many of the older ones around, which look great gliding past the 19th & 18th century buildings. Get to...
Via della Vite, 102, 00187 Roma RM, Italy
Anglo American Book Co. is my best source for English-language books in Rome. They have an amazing inventory of beautiful books on the city. 39/06-679-5222. By Pepi Marchetti Franchi, as told to Elizabeth Minchilli. This appeared in the...
1521 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
The Elliott Bay Book Company is the Seattle bookstore and, thankfully, survived its move from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill with soul and towering cedar bookcases intact. Elliott Bay lost a significant chunk of square footage during the move...
Av. Santa Fe 1860, C1124 CABA, Argentina
Buenos Aires is a city of readers—it supports more bookstores per capita than any other place in the world. The crown jewel of the librerías here is the Ateneo Grand Splendid. Housed in a theater where music legends such as Carlos...
Montclair, NJ 07042, USA
Montclair is known for many things, among them its many amazing writers. That's what happens when you become the suburb of choice for so many former Manhattan and Brooklyn-nites. Tucked on a side street, the Little Free Library is just one in a...
Josefsplatz 1, 1015 Wien, Austria
Entering the Austrian National Library is a momentous moment in one’s life. This place looks like something out of Harry Potter. I wasn’t allowed to use my tripod inside for this triple exposure four-shot panorama but it obviously...
18 Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin, D01 T3V8, Ireland
835 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, USA
My favorite independent bookstore, located in Seaport Village, is Upstart Crow—a mix of eclectic nostalgia items amongst coffee drinks and stacks of books. Here is where you find peace amid the tourist busy bodies.
37 Rue de la Bûcherie, 75005 Paris, France
Located at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, a stone’s throw from the Seine and draped in the shadow of Notre Dame, is what should be proclaimed one of France’s national treasures: the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This is...
Salzstraße 31, 79098 Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Maybe even all of Germany. Buchhandlung zum Wetzstein is located just off of Augustinerplatz. Upon entering, you will be greeted by the friendly and helpful staff, and then you will be completely absorbed by beautifully displayed books,...
476 5th Ave, New York, NY 10018, USA
The main branch of the New York Public Library is one of the country’s grandest Beaux Arts buildings, a temple to learning on Fifth Avenue between 40th and 42nd streets. At the end of the 19th century, John Bigelow, who oversaw the Tilden...
Zehdenicker Str. 16, 10119 Berlin, Germany
A special antique shop in Berlin named The Bibliotheca Culinaria devoted to second hand cookery and baking books from around the world. The German owner personally greets you at the door and offers you a coffee while showing you some of his...
4035 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
An artist and an architect curate a cool mix of practical things here. You’ll find books on furniture and design, and interesting items like wooden radios and pencil sets. Lots of it is handmade. The store also sells chairs and tables that Luke...
Piazza dei Cavalleggeri, 1, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
I completely stumbled upon this gorgeous library in Florence on accident while wandering around the city by myself. It's about a 3 Euro entrance fee but being a book lover, there are few things more impressive than a reading library designed by...
210 Morningside Rd, Edinburgh EH10 4QQ, UK
I love old books, and this secondhand shop has a huge range, from classics to modern literature. —Gaynor Salisbury 204–206 Morningside Rd. 44/(0) 131-446-9169. This story appeared in the November/December 2010 issue. See all of Gaynor Salisbury’s...
1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
An iconic name in Portland retail—as well as among readers who have never been to the city—Powell’s has multiple locations on both sides of the Willamette. The downtown store remains the one best suited for visitors to explore,...
6 Place de Paris, 27200 Vernon, France
After touring the village of Giverny, I headed down the road and across the river to the town of Vernon. Nice place. The nicest part was finding an antique-cum-book store. I cannot get enough of books! I actually collect Hemingway and Kerouac...
686 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217, USA
At this independent bookstore, sunlight streams onto industrial tables covered by books. They’ve got a range of titles about New York, Fort Greene, and photography.—Jason Lampkin
See all of Jason Lampkin’s favorite places in Fort...
See all of Jason Lampkin’s favorite places in Fort...
5751 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
For 50 years, it has been growing in the basement of the seminary located at 5757 South University Avenue. Back in 1961, 17 book lovers each pitched in $10 a piece and founded The Seminary Co-Op Bookstore. When you arrive, you won't think you're...
84 Marylebone High St, Marylebone, London W1U 4QW, UK
Daunt Books really is special. Even if you are not a big reader, it is well worth a visit because the space is so beautiful and filled with exceptionally well-chosen books. Daunt is the ultimate antidote to the Amazon generation and connects you...
6 Liberty Street, Savannah, GA 31401, USA
Nothing makes me happier than stumbling upon a really great bookstore, and this one in Savannah takes the cake! While strolling down East Liberty Street in gorgeous Savannah—my favorite of all the beautiful Southern cities—my husband...
Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam, Netherlands
We woke up on day two, intending to wander around, grab lunch and then spend the rest of the day in the park. However, our host suggested a book market only open on Fridays. Within minutes of the suggestion, we were out the door, armed with...
4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
In an age when many independent bookstores have surrendered to the advance of chain stores and Amazon, City Lights is a true survivor. Since it was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, it has served as a gathering place for San...
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