10 Beautiful Bookshops That Will Stop You In Your Tracks

The World's Most Beautiful Bookshops Will Stop You In Your Tracks

A bibliophile cannot walk past a bookshop without slowing their step. We will linger at the window, gazing through the glass at stacks of books we have not yet read. We hover, telling ourselves we must read the pile on the nightstand before buying another. But we can't resist the lure. Before long, we open the door, sounding the tiny bell that rouses the shop cat. We're in, and we're going to be a while.

The only thing that tops a bookstore full of amazing books, is a beautiful bookstore full of amazing books -- a bookstore so charming not even a TV-addict can resist it. Many stunning bookstores list their books for sale on the AbeBooks marketplace, so we rounded up a few of the most alluring storefronts from Paris to Boston and everywhere in between. Even those immune to the magnetic pull of the smell of old books will stop dead in their tracks at the sight of these pretty AbeBooks bookstores, so before you step inside to bury your nose in a book, take a moment to enjoy the view from outside.

Brattle Book Shop
Located in Boston, MA, Brattle Book Shop first opened its doors in 1825. George Gloss took ownership in 1949 and his son Ken (pictured above) runs it today. The three-story building in downtown Boston is home to over 250,000 books, including two floors of used books and one floor of rare & antiquarian books. The books have even poured into the neighboring outside lot, nestled under the watchful eyes of Toni Morrison, Kafka, and Yeats.


Eureka Books
For most of the 20th century this charming storefront in Eureka, CA was a rough-and-tumble speakeasy called the High Lead Saloon, where in 1933 the two owners had a shootout in the back hallway. Only owner Tom Slaughter survived, and his family owned the building into the 1970s. It's also said that author Raymond Carver indulged at the High Lead, and a picture of the building can be seen in his book Carver Country. Today, the building is occupied by a slightly softer crowd. Eureka Books moved in in 1992, and all signs of scandal seem to be gone. One of the last classic antiquarian booksellers on the westcoast, Eureka Books offers first editions, ephemera, and new and used books.


Peter Harrington
A list of beautiful bookstores isn't complete without a proper London shop. Peter Harrington has been dealing in the rare books business since 1969 and boasts an impressive selection of exquisite modern first editions, manuscripts, and more.


Librairie Jousseaume
Paris, France might be one of the most beautful cities in the world, and Libraririe Jousseaume fits right in. Selling books since 1826, Librairie Jousseaume offers everything from history books to travel literature and poetry. There's no more romantic place to browse books than here.


Antiquariat Michael Solder
There's something about books and bricks. Located in Münster, Germany, Antiquariat Michael Solder offers a vast catalog of out-of-print books, special editions, and antiquarian treasures.


Neusser Buch & Kunst Antiquariat
At first glance, this might not seem like a bookstore at all. Cornelia Storch opened the rare & antiquarian shop in this stunning 200-year-old heritage home in Neuss, Germany. In fact, the home was built over an existing cellar that dates back 300 years. What was once a dark and damp cellar is now a beautiful candle-lit nook and home to incredible leather-bound books. Watch the video below for a look inside this gorgeous bookstore.


More beautiful bookstores:

Hugues de Latude
This bright bookshop in Paris, France specializes in science & medicine books, natural history, and early printed books. Hugues de Latude has been selling books since 1988. Browse the books.

Capitol Hill Books
Located on historical Capitol Hill in Washington DC, this two level bookstore is brimming with used, rare, and first edition books - it looks as though the windows can barely keep them from pouring onto the street!

Twice Sold Tales
Seattle, WA was made for drinking coffee and browsing books. A grinning cat invites bibliophiles into a large brick building where they can browse a huge selection of used books.

Hudson City Books
Located in historic Hudson, NY, Hudson City Books opened in 2006 in a building built in 1865. Their inventory includes over 12,000 used and hard-to-find books.

Before You Go

The original scary book for children, Struwwelpeter was one of the first books written explicitly for kids -- and it didn’t exactly coddle them. The book consists of cautionary tales for children, who are warned that if they suck their thumbs, a “great tall tailor” will chop said thumbs off with giant scissors. Yikes.
Where the Wild Things Are
To an adult, this classic picture book’s gorgeous illustrations are familiar and comforting -- but as a toddler, the thought of going to bed and finding oneself transported to a wild jungle full of vicious monsters was pretty scary. It may have even merited a few extra glances under the bed after lights-out. Thank goodness Maurice Sendak returns little Max safely to a hot dinner and a warm bed at the end!
The Velveteen Rabbit
The possibility that your toys may be alive is a particularly eek-inducing proposition for kids. They spend so much time with their favorite playthings, manhandling, drooling on, and sometimes mutilating them. Like Toy Story, The Velveteen Rabbit terrifyingly posits that kids who get rid of toys, or play with them … creatively... are actually brutalizing innocent and loving companions. Though the Velveteen Rabbit is ultimately saved from destruction, what kid isn’t left wondering what happened to the scarlet-fever-infected toys that didn’t earn an escape from the flames?
Grimms’ Fairy Tales
This classic compilation collected folklore and fairy tales into a volume that purported to be for children -- but these stories hardly resemble the sanitized fairy tales of Disney movies. The Grimms’ version of "Cinderella" describes the evil stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet to try to fit into the glass slipper -- only to have their tactic given away by all the blood. And "Snow White"? Let’s just say this take involves attempted cannibalism.
There are 62 books in the original Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. But it would feel wrong to pick just one. Whether Stine was spooking us with a main character who turned out to have been a ghost without knowing it the whole time, or squicking us out with gross egg monsters from Mars, he knew how to give millions of kids the serious creeps.
The Witches
Roald Dahl can always be counted on for some creepy plot twists. But it was The Witches that filled my young heart with the purest horror. When our hero is transformed into a talking mouse, it turns out there’s no easy fix. Even after the witches have been defeated, he remains doomed to live out his (now much fewer) days as a mouse. This fatalistic ending seemed like a betrayal of all that I had come to expect from children’s reading, though his cheery, glass-half-full view on the situation may be a good lesson for neurotic readers.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Alvin Schwartz’s folk tales and urban legends, adapted for kids to bone-chilling effect, provide nonstop eerie thrills. Each story seems to offer the perfect dose of horror, leaving kids jumpy enough to hide under the covers, but not too scared to fall asleep. And with so many frights per books, there’s bound to be one that prods a kid's darkest fear -- and sticks in her memory for years.
Harry Potter
Sure, Harry Potter is fantasy, and the first book describes a world that seems like a delightful escape from Muggle reality. But the rapid intrusion of horrific elements like Dementors, giant snakes, and killing curses makes the series a very dark and threatening space for the young readers who have always made up its broadest and most passionate fanbase.
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle’s brilliant young adult novel pits a teenager and her young brother against the forces of evil. The maturity of the theme is so marked that, as L’Engle later admitted, publishers wondered whether it was really a children’s book at all. But generations of kids have proven that they’re eager to confront the possibility of a tangible, evil force in the universe. Despite the eerie scenes of mind control and suffering that fill the book, it’s remained a perpetual favorite among young readers since its publication in 1962.

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