Selexyz bookstore (Maastricht), a temple of literature
In Maastricht the walls of a 13th century church contain a surprise for book and architecture lovers. It is the bookstore regarded by The Guardian journalist Sean Dodson as the best in the world. A meticulous spatial reworking by Merkx + Girod has turned this old bicycle centre into an ode to literature. Since it was opened in 2006, it has had the honour of being the most-visited church in the Netherlands.
El Ateneo (Buenos Aires), a remodelled theatre
The boxes are tiny reading rooms. The old stage, a café. An original makeover for the Buenos Aires Ateneo, into the bookstore regarded by Sean Dodson as second best in the world.
Livraria Lello (Porto), warmth and colour
With a tradition of more than a century, it is housed in a building whose facade gives no clue of what is inside. Ornately carved wood, stain glass windows and a striking staircase.
4.- Secret Headquarters (Los Angeles), much more than strip cartoons
The furnishings and décor of this comic store take the visitor back to the early days of strip cartoons. A different bookstore quite unlike the usual ones of its kind.
5.- Shakespeare & Co. (Paris), a bookstore worth a film
Following the closure of Borders, the Scottish bookstore ranked by Dodson in this position, Shakespeare & Co. is a worthy substitute. Near Notre Dame and the Seine, it offers travellers accommodation in exchange for work, and the cinema, with films like Before Sunset, has made it popular. Its speciality is Anglo-Saxon literature.
6.- Scarthin's (Cromford, UK), old style and good coffee
The chief of appeal of this little English bookshop – in which both new and second-hand books are to be found – is the coffee served in it and a room with a display of curiosities.
7.- Posada (Brussels), a cradle of art
The great asset of this house converted into a bookstore is its large stock of art books. Also its central location and the temporary exhibitions held in its pretty interior.
8.- El Péndulo (Mexico City) a new bookstore concept
"Its founders call it a ""cafebrería"" or “café-bookstore” – a term to describe a cultural venue framed by a bookshop. It contains a small café, a projection room, small exhibitions and, naturally, hundreds of volumes."
9.- Keibunsha (Kyoto), for the enlightened
It is said to be one of the best-lit bookstores in the world. With a large store area, the visitor will find gems of Japanese art and a few English-language books.
10.- Hatchards (London), favoured by monarchs and literati
It is regarded as the oldest bookstore in Britain. According to the chronicles it was opened to the public in 1797 and its illustrious customers have included Wilde, Byron and members of the royal family.