I went to Livraria Lello about 2 years ago. It’s pretty, but it’s overcrowded by tourists who just want to take selfies/pictures at the famous stair. It was slightly underwhelming. You are also charged an admission fee to enter the shop, but at least the fee counts toward your purchase at the shop.
I went there a few months ago. It’s very tiny but also quite charming. It’s right next to the absinthe bar too.
There’s another “famous” bookstore in New Orleans, called the Arcadian Books and Prints. The place is completely crammed with books, it’s pretty hard to navigate through the tiny shop.
Asheville, North Carolina is just about ruined by untrammeled tourism and the hotel building that is incumbent with that influx of more and more temporary visitors, and the traffic…lordy!.. BUT if you must come, we have some EXCELLENT bookstores here. Even though Asheville is a small town, Malaprops is one of the best bookstores you may visit. It’s an independent and the offerings are well thought out…there are fewer of the overly popular titles, mass market books or pulp type trade books. Also a must visit: The Captain’s Bookshelf, Chan Gordon owner. His shop is stocked with excellent used books, mostly hardbacked, with a terrific art section. Chan Gordon specializes also in first editions. He also has a fair number of author signed works there as well. Downtown Books and News is another great used bookstore, one of the finest general purpose used bookstores I have ever visited. They have an eclectic collection of books, local art and a very esoteric magazine section.
I’m also a big fan of Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It has a wonderfully cozy feel and a good selection of books, but more importantly, it’s also home to this regal cat:
I didn’t know the cat had its own Instagram! And follow
The first time I went to that bookstore I followed Tiny to the back of the store, which led me to the little back garden where a young girl then showed me the turtle that lived in the pond. It was a magical bookstore experience
Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis is the best kids book store I’ve ever been to! They have a pet chicken, cat (weirdly they get along fine) and incredible stuff on every surface. It’s worth a stop as an adult even just to buy a gift for a young person in your life!
We are book lovers and wanderers here and of all the places I’ve been and all the bookstores I’ve browsed, nothing beats the Book Barn in PA. Heck, the building itself is worth a visit, but so many neat little alcoves and stairs covering 4 floors will keep you busy for many happy hours. Spent happy days there as a child and so has my own daughter. Longwood gardens and the Brandywine river arts museum are nearby as well so you’ve got a perfect weekend trip. *I’ll be darned - the Book Barn is one of the places listed here on AO!! Now you all have to go!
I love this whole story.
This reminded me about Books of Wonder in Manhattan! Great, friendly bookstore with a great collection of L. Frank Baum and Wizard of Oz memorabilia!
Oh man, I can’t believe I forgot to add the Book Plate in Chestertown, MD - great place!
HPB is a chain, sure, but their flagship store in Dallas is always a treat to visit!
If this small chain hasn’t been mentioned, it sure is worth a visit if you’re in the general areas.
McKay’s Used Books in TN. & NC, and I understand there is now one in Northern Virgiina. I have rarely seen such a massive and well organised used bookstore. The clerks are very helpful and knowledgeable. They also carry vinyl and CDs, and oddly, used LEGOs.
Karen Wickliff Books, Clintonville, Columbus OH. Almost no organization. Go without a plan, enjoy what comes your way.
I second Farley’s Bookstore in New Hope, PA which is a delightful historic little town on the Delaware. The bookstore itself is charming and chock full of all kinds of books—and a particularly good poetry section.
And if in Paris and looking for an English language bookstore, don’t miss The Abbey Bookstore on Rue Parchminerie in the Latin Quarter—charming Canadien owner and great selection of quality books.