Perhaps that’s what the proprietors of the Selexyz Dominicanen Bookstore were thinking when they decided to house their establishment in a 13th century Dominican cathedral in the center of Maastricht, Holland. So how do you create a three-story bookstore in a cathedral when you can’t drill any holes into the building or attach anything load-bearing to its walls? Add to that a tasteful use of religious iconography (check out the cross-shaped reading table in the pic, above), a nice cafe located where the church choir once sang, and a slew of inviting nooks and comfy reading areas and the result is a bookstore that’s absolutely divine. What a cool design concept: Start with an all white bookstore interior—white floors, white ceiling, white walls, white stairs, white bookshelves, white everything—and to that liberally add rainbow splashes of bright color. Quiz question: Where and when was the first ever movie with sound shown to a public audience? With Amazon slowly taking over the publishing world and bookstores closing left and right, things can sometimes seem a little grim for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world.
Perhaps not the most beautiful bookstore but one of the most interesting in terms of engaging people in literary events is Book Passage in Corte Madera. One boookstore that did not make the list (and this list is quite impressive) is Barts Books in Ojai, CA. It’s funny that Selexyz Dominicanen made #1 on the bookstore list and it would be lucky to make #100 on the library list. Giant red lantern lights up in Tiananmen Square to celebrate the coming National Day on Oct. The world's first Boeing 787 Dreamliner for delivery arrives at Haneda airport in Tokyo, capital of Japan, on Sept. A Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) fighter shows what is believed to be human jawbone found inside a mass grave near Abu Salim prison in Tripoli, Libya, Spet.
Rescue workers and local residents search for survivors after a building collapsed in old Delhi, India, Sept. A visitor has flying experience in the windmill castle of Jinshitan National Holiday resort in Dalian, northeast China's Liaoning Province, Sept.
I think most readers tend to have a strong predilection for one or the other variety of bookstore, but I actually like them both pretty well. There was a nice little starbucks-inspired coffee bar, and the beanbag chairs and staggered risers were super comfy as well.
7 Amazing Bookstores and LibrariesThere's nothing better than curling up with a good book, but when you've got a spectacular space to take in all that prose, the experience can be just as enlightening as the words on your page. What began as 1,000 empty beer cartons was quickly pulled together by residents in East Germany into an incredible open air public library.
I don’t know about your town, but my town has a great little bookstore that we did not think would survive the arrival of the big box stores. Though, in truth, the cathedral hasn’t been a center for worship since Napoleon put the kibosh on services after he invaded Maastricht in 1794. A city ordinance required that the cathedral be completely preserved, meaning that no permanent modifications to the building of any sort were allowed!

It started its life in 1919 as the Teatro Grand Splendid; more than 1,000 patrons would fill the theater to watch operas and tango performances.
These two smaller used bookstores are really wonderful and provide cool old rarities on the cheap.
After all, why would anyone leave the comfort of their couch to buy a book when with just a click of a button, they could have it delivered to their door? A really fun place to visit where you can enjoy the open air and sit under a market umbrella to have a read.
The first time I was in Venice I found it by accident, as I went in through the back, through a small courtyard, and ended up in a long room which had a gondola in the middle. If you want a sterile, spacious bookstore with a searchable database, then go to one of the many chains around the world. I know I’m unlikely to ever get to visit many of them, but I enjoy getting to look at the pictures and read about them.
Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen (Dominican church bookstore), Maastricht, NetherlandsImagine what it feels like to read books in an ancient church with 800 years of history. 28, 2011, to commemorate the 2,562nd birthday of Confucius (551-479 BC), a Chinese thinker, educationist and philosopher.
You have your large, well-lit chain bookstores with broad shelves and fancy displays of the new soon-to-be bestsellers. These stores smell like musty, yellowed pages and their employees will not only recognize your requested author immediately, but suggest somebody else who is actually much better, really (they will then quietly judge you for your inferior taste). To me, the two are each enjoyable in their own way, but not directly comparable across categories. The selection of books was quite broad, although they didn’t have what I was looking for in English. It doesn’t have a dragon sculpture, but it does have five stories of books and around 30km of shelving.
Being the bookworms that we are, we've searched high and low for the world's most incredible bookstores and libraries. But it has and there continues to be a real culture surrounding this particular little gem in the downtown core. Included is the fantastic Buenos Aires El Ateneo, which is a traditional theatre that has been converted in to a book selling space and features the old theatre boxes that are now reading spaces. Since then the cathedral has been alternately abandoned, used as a warehouse and turned into what was probably the world’s most sanctified indoor bicycle parking lot.
Not so much the art nouveau exterior as the gold-accented interior with its red carpets, stained glass, wood paneling and flowing central stair case.
This bookstore isn’t as amazingly stunning or history-filled as the above five selections are. If you want a place that oozes stories from every pore, and not just from the books, then it’s the place to go.

Years ago, the Dominican Church was still a place for people to park bicycles in Maastricht, Netherlands.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, whose buyer is All Nippon Airways (ANA), will implement a flight of ANA on Oct.
The NTC on Sunday said they had found a mass grave containing the bodies of 1,270 people killed by Gaddafi's security forces in a 1996 massacre at Abu Salim prison in southern Tripoli. They smell like fresh ink and are filled with employees who will look your request up on the computer because they’ve never heard of that author. Today, in Sao Paulo, I wandered into what may be my favorite bookstore of the large-and-corporate type. Many of incredible architectural details remain, such as the red curtains and the wall sconces. Read on for our top 7 stunning picks - from an old church cathedral transformed into a stunning space stacked with books to an archaic theater revamped into a stage for modern and classic literature!
Next you are in Maastricht, Beijing, Porto, Buenos Aires, Paris or Mexico City, add these stores to your list of must-see attractions—even if you don’t plan on buying a book. The shelves and scaffolding are close to the cathedral’s walls but scaffolding never actually touch them. Our few photos below don’t really do this huge store justice so check it out yourself next you are in Beijing.
Walking into this bookstore, we had an insatiable urge to light a cigar (and we don’t smoke) because, well, this is the sort of place it seems like one should do that. Portuguese, English, Spanish, and even a few French and Italian titles all sat next to each other on the shelves, evidence of the patronage of a well-educated segment of the Brazilian population.
Actually, the lakeside pubs probably beat it for time-whiling-away (though with book in hand), but suffice it to say that bookstores can survive and can thrive. Happily, the El Ateneo architects included many homages to the building’s theater days including curtains and stage lighting.
Plus the store (and attached cafe) isn’t shy about using air conditioning, which makes El Pendulo a wonderful literary escape on a hot Mexican day.
I personally love bookshops where I can duck into nooks, browse around and find all sorts of gems in hidden corners, rather than standing in front of an alphabetised wall of books with 2-for-1 stickers on them. The store has kept the original architectural style and only changed a little bit in terms of decoration by adding modern elements, which also make the church seem new. Cigars are sold in the Livraria Lello’s upstairs four-table coffee shop along with port, coffee (obviously) and baked goods.

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