The 15 Most Instagrammable Bookstores in the World

We are lucky to have a world full of beautiful bookstores (if we have nothing else, at least we have). Books are so loved and revered that we house them in stunning architectural feats and in the most unique settings. Independent bookstores, in particular, have a scope and longevity that most franchise bookstores lack.

Many of these pretty, pretty bookstores have already caught the attention of Instagram, and it definitely makes sense: it’s a photo-focused social app. Book lovers (and I can say this with authority because I’m one of them) love to take pictures of books in cute or iconic places and love to visit bookstores, so of course we upload those photos to IG.

We wanted to know which bookstores in the world are the most popular on Instagram: Of all the bookstores (I can’t even guess how many), which ones are the most popular on the app?

Fortunately, someone has already done this research. Last February, The Knowledge Academy, a UK-based business training provider and market leader, collected the total number of Instagram hashtags for bookstores around the world and found which bookstores were the most popular on Instagram by the number of hashtags attached to each bookstore. Shelf Awareness reported this finding shortly after, and we were surprised by the results.

Let’s break down why these bookstores in particular are among the 15 most Instagrammable bookstores in the world. Of course there are other beautiful bookstores out there, so what makes these 15 different? Maybe it’s not just how beautiful they are: maybe their location, or their history, or their connection to the literary world. Join me on this journey, bookworms, as we discover what makes these bookstores so popular.

15. Atlantis Books

Location: Santorini, Greece

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The experience begins even before you walk into the Atlantis Book Company in Santorini, Greece. This is one of the few bookstores that, if not more, can be perfectly picturesque and Instagrammable, which is why it’s on this list. The brightly coloured walls and bookish wall art of the bookstore, combined with the classic Cycladic white walls and blue accents, make for a captivating and memorable photo.

14. Elpendulo

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Tags: 9,521

A bookstore is also a cafe, how can it go wrong and a forest? Cafebrería El Péndulo in Mexico City, Mexico is a two-story open concept with full walls of books, wooden floors and plants on shelves. It’s easy to see why this gorgeous bookstore is often photographed, especially since it encourages you to grab a coffee at the cafe and sit in one of the comfy chairs to read or admire the bookstore. The local chain actually has two locations, but the one you see most on Instagram is the Polanco location on Alejandro Dumas Street. However, don’t discount the San Angel location! It has a huge palm tree in the middle of its bookstore and some amazing architecture.

13. Radwag

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Tags: 10,552

Ler Devagar in Lisbon, Portugal only a bookstore. The space it occupies used to be a print shop, and now it’s a bookstore, a café, an exhibition space and a concert space (wow!). The old printing press can still be seen, and it has a beautiful outdated grand staircase that is often the star of its Instagram photos. The entire building has an industrial aesthetic derived from its actual manufacturing history. Pair all of this with some fine art hanging from the ceiling and you have a strong entry on this list.

12. El Ateneo Grand Splendid

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Tags: 13,952

This is a bookstore located in a historic old theatre. You can’t get more instagrammable than that. Grand Splendid was built in Buenos Aires in 1919 as a performing arts theatre, later a cinema and now a bookstore. Not only does El Ateneo have an extensive collection of books, but the theater also retains its original frescoed ceilings and theater boxes. In 2019, National Geographic named El Ateneo the most beautiful bookstore in the world. With such a gorgeous and grand interior, we can see why.

11. Barter Books

Location: Alnwick, England

Tags: 14,331

Barter Books, based in Alnwick, England, made the list because of its charming location in an old train station. The owners restored and preserved the station to bring you the bookstore you see on Instagram today: glass skylights, working fireplaces, exposed brick and original timetables to give you a snapshot of the past. There are also literature-themed art and cafés where you can read with a cup of tea. This bookstore gives you a section of history and books, so it’s no surprise that it made the list of the most photographed bookstores on photo and Instagram.

10. Scary Books

Location: London, UK

Tags: 21,121

Welcome to the one-of-a-kind Edwardian bookstore. Daunt Books in London started out as an antiques bookstore in 1912 and has since evolved into a bookstore specialising in travel books. Undoubtedly, the bookstore is often photographed for its glass ceiling and floods of sunlight pouring into a gorgeous old hall full of books. They organize travel fiction by country and also carry other non-fiction books. Taking pictures and wandering around is a beauty.

9. City Lights Books

Location: San Francisco, California, USA

Tags: 21,452

San Francisco’s City Lights is an iconic West Coast bookstore with a well-known history, which is no doubt a reason for its inclusion on this list. Opened in 1953 by Beat poets Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin, it attracts literary tourists from around the world to visit one of the homes of the Beat generation’s nerds. This bookstore also gives people a warm and warm feeling, and the history of the bookstore is lined up on the walls of the three-story book.

8. Books are actually

Location: Singapore

Tags: 24,635

This quaint little bookstore in Singapore is filled with books, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. Books actually has something unique outside of bookstores: book vending machines. Not just any books – gift-wrapped books so you can buy yourself a surprise blind date with the book. Dare I say, book vending machines, gifts, unique collectibles, books, and that handsome bookstore cat are all solid reasons why Books is actually on Instagram so often.

7. Cărtureşti Carusel

Location: Bucharest, Romania

Tags: 36,854

Oh, this is a beauty. Cărtureşti Carusel in Bucharest, Romania, is a three-story Greek column and spiral staircase with undulating balustrades spanning the second and third floors for elegance. It was built in 1903 as a bank, then confiscated from the family that built it in the 1950s, and restored in 2007 by the grandson of the original builder. He renovated the building and turned it into the amazing bookstore it is today. There’s a nice teahouse on the top floor, lined with wooden balustrades with potted plants, allowing you to sip a drink overlooking the bookstore below. Powerful entry to most instagram bookstores.

6. Libreria Acqua Alta

Location: Venice, Italy


Now we come to Venice to visit a gloriously unkempt, totally unique bookstore along the canal. Libreria Acqua Alta offers you a small room full of books. Because flooding was so frequent, the books were housed inside boats, bathtubs and a large gondola to keep water out of the bookstore. There is also a walkway at the back of the store, lined with old flooded books on either side, leading to a staircase made of books, which eventually leads to the canal. With this unique way of preserving and presenting their books, it earns a place on this list.

5. Livraria Lello

Location: Porto, Portugal

Tags: 76,042

This bookstore is gorgeous, and we’ve written a full article on it before. Livraria Lello was built in 1906 by the Lello brothers who built one of the most gorgeous bookstores in the world, whether they planned to do it or not. Visitors can admire Neo-Gothic and Art Deco interiors, stained glass roofs, and a stunning grand red staircase in the center. Finally: a bookstore that matches the grandeur and magic of the outside with the inside. Since the entire building is a work of art in itself, it’s no surprise that it’s the fifth-largest Instagram bookstore in the world.

4. Shakespeare & Company

Location: Paris, France

Tags: 80,660

Shakespeare & Company needs little introduction. This Paris English-language bookstore has long been a pilgrimage site for book lovers all over the world, and that hasn’t changed. It is in an excellent location along the Seine, with the Notre-Dame Basilica in the background. This is a meandering, cozy, narrow, very interesting bookstore, and it came here because it is the most famous bookstore in Paris. It’s also one of the few bookstores that allows people to live in it for a period of time, as long as they’re willing to work there for a few hours a day to earn lodging fees.

3. Books and beds

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Tags: 83,989

Speaking of bookstores that will keep you staying: Tokyo’s books and beds double as hotels and a bookstore. You can book a single capsule room surrounded by books for around $40 a night here. You can also go in and peruse their book offerings and have a drink at their cafe. With books and pages hanging from the ceiling and the opportunity to spend the night in the bookstore, it’s very reasonable to come in third.

2. Powell

Location: Portland, Oregon, USA

Tags: 94,241

The world’s largest independent bookstore came in second. Powell’s Bookstore on Burnside Street in Portland is a beautiful maze, a bookstore icon with one of the widest selections of books an independent bookstore can offer you. It’s an entity in itself: it occupies an entire block and carries a million books at any given time. You read that right. It has 3,500 different sections and a famous rare book room. It’s a book lover’s paradise.

1. The Last Bookstore

Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

Tags: 110,498

Welcome to the world’s hottest instagram bookstore. The last bookstore in Los Angeles is located in an old bank, so visitors can read books around luxurious marble columns under vaulted ceilings. You’ll find books hidden in old bank vaults, books arranged by color, and books artfully displayed in popular ways. But the most famous are The Last Bookstore’s oval cutouts in the shelves (perfect for selfies!) and the arched book tunnel, both of which probably make up more than half of the bookstore’s IG photos. It’s a delightful labyrinth of bookstores where you can easily spend hours exploring and admiring: you should definitely take some pictures there.

We’ve taken you to the world’s largest instagram bookstore. But you and I both know there’s more beauty and wonder out there. For more bookstore tours, check out the following posts:

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