The 15 Coolest Bookstores From Around the World

TIME

Rumor has it J. K. Rowling was inspired by Livraria Lello while writing Harry Potter (and teaching English) in Portugal. It doesn’t take long to appreciate Lello’s potential as muse: a stained-glass atrium puts the spotlight on the bookshop’s deep-red staircase, spectacular enough to stop you in your tracks.

It’s one of the distinctive bookstores that—against industry odds—continue to thrive across the globe. For travelers, these shops go beyond well-curated selections of books: they pack in an abundance of beauty, quirky character, and local history within their walls. And they serve as community hubs, where you can tap into the creative pulse of a destination.

In Paris, the romance between Left Bank fixture Shakespeare & Co. and the city’s literary set dates back to the era of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. And it continues to attract luminaries like Zadie Smith, who recently read to a packed house.

Brooklyn…

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