For World Book Day (23 April), we’ve rounded up the best bookstores in the world that offer more than just a library to park the tush at. Bibliophiles come for rare collections, speakeasy loungers, open mics and stellar tipples from Istanbul, Los Angeles, New York City to Hong Kong. Purists, tourists and bookworms, dig in.
Lok Man Rare Books, Hong Kong
If it’s signed, first edition or hard-to-find vintage tomes you seek, Lorence is your man. Titles range from children’s tales to books on philosophy, economics and ancient China. Also offers sourcing and restoration.
Lok Man Rare Books, 6 Chancery Lane Central, Hong Kong, lokmanbooks.com
Arcana Books, Los Angeles
Bibliophiles, art and design lovers, musicians and gourmands will go gaga for Arcana’s warehouse-sized cache of more than 10,000 rare, out-of-date and lim-ed tomes and ephemera spanning the genres. Warning: you may lose hours trawling through the shelves, so pack supplies accordingly.
Tip: Pick up and delivery options available.
Arcana Books, 8675 Washington Boulevard Culver City, Los Angeles, arcanabooks.com
The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles
Tumble through the looking glass into this labyrinthine bibliophile’s blisstopia of new and used tomes and vinyl exploding from shelves, hanging from ceilings and propping up counters. Drink in the dizzying supply, but take heed of the poignant – but sadly, probably accurate – moniker. Get in while you can, because as they say, they won’t be there forever.
Tip: Check the website for live readings and speakeasy open mic nights.
The Last Bookstore, 453 S Spring St Downtown, Los Angeles, lastbookstorela.com
Idlewild Bookshop, New York
Exit the Barnes & Noble megastore and set foot in this cosy haven to hold a whole world of wanderlust-inspiring literature in your hands. Settle in, Sue – if some of the seats look like they were salvaged from an American Airlines jet, well, that’s because they were.
Tip: Language classes available as well.
Idlewild Bookshop, 170 7th Ave South West Village, New York, idlewildbooks.com
Brooklyn Art Library, New York
Cosy book nook home to the Sketchbook Project, a collection of 30,000+ illustrated tomes by global artists. Pick a specific volume or artist from the in-house iPad (or opt for a random selection), and the librarian will track it down for you. Chic pens, notepads and blank sketchbooks for sale after – and if you’ve had your own Picasso moment, you can even submit your own book to the shelves.
Brooklyn Art Library, 28 Frost Street Williamsburg, New York, brooklynartlibrary.com
THESE Library Lounge, Tokyo
Wall-to-wall tomes and shab-fab furny set the scene for this congregation of bookworms and discerning drinkers, all sipping signature fruity bevs and basking in chill vibes. There’s certainly no quiet time enforced in this library!
Tip: Retreat to the secret room behind the bookshelves.
THESE Library Lounge, 2-15-12 Nishi Azabu, Minato-ku Minato-ku, Tokyo, these-jp.com
Robinson Crusoe Bookstore, Istanbul
Four floors above bustling İstiklal is this local literary institution, lined floor-to-double-height-ceiling with Turkish and English titles across fiction, fine art, history and travel. With rolling ladders, a reading table and piano, it exudes a library atmos; patrons are positively encouraged to park their bot and browse before buying.
Tip: The sunny rooftop terrace is the perfect spot from whence to debate the merits of the latest Orhan Pamuk.
Robinson Crusoe Bookstore, Yeni Carsı Caddesi 34A, Galatasaray Beyoğlu, Istanbul, rob389.com
See also: The World’s Most Beautiful Bookshops
Hero image: Arcana Books
Literary lovers, get more tips from our LUXE City Guides…