Book Stores

The world's cities with the most bookstores and libraries per capita

Over the past two years, 18 cities have reported how many bookstores they have, and 20 have reported on their public libraries. Hong Kong leads the pack with 21 bookshops per 100,000 people, though last time Buenos Aires sent in its count, in 2013, it was the leader, with 25. New York does OK, with around 840 bookstores for 8.4 million people, but London, whose population is only slightly bigger than New York, counts only 360 stores.
From The world's cities with the most bookstores and libraries per capita — Quartz

Buenos Aires's El Ateneo bookstore: Books fill the balconies in this 100-year-old theater

Built in 1919 (Spanish), the theater was designed by architects Peró and Torres Armengol, with its dome, which remains today, created by Italian painter Nazareno Orlandi. The theater’s performances included tango, until 1929, when it became a cinema house. In 2000, the gorgeous theater was converted to a bookstore, and today it stocks around 120,000 books in its balconies, boxes, and former orchestra area. While that may not sound like much compared to the 2 million titles at New York’s Strand Book Store, the Ateneo has an ambiance all its own.
From Buenos Aires's El Ateneo bookstore: Books fill the balconies in this 100-year-old theater — Quartz
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Tunnel of Books: Curved Shelves Wrap Bookstore Walls & Ceiling

Paired to fantastic effect, a series of arch-forming shelving units and a black-mirrored floor create a wraparound tunnel in a Chinese bookstore, punctuated by a fracture leading visitors through the resulting passageway.
From Tunnel of Books: Curved Shelves Wrap Bookstore Walls & Ceiling | Urbanist
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B&N to Sell Self-Published Books In Stores

The big news about Barnes & Noble is that after twenty years of battling with Amazon they have finally made a competitive move that Amazon cannot match. Barnes & Noble, with 640 bookstores in 50 states, is giving self-published authors a chance to get access to their hallowed bookshelves. Meanwhile, Amazon runs one bookstore in Seattle (albeit with 3 more slated). Barnes & Noble wins this contest hands down. The news reads best at a quick glance: “…authors have the opportunity to sell their print books at Barnes & Noble stores across the country… participate at in-store events including book signings and discussions, where they will be able to sell their print books and meet fans.”
From B&N to Sell Self-Published Books In Stores
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The Secret History of Holywell Street: Home to Victorian London’s Dirty Book Trade

Victorian sexuality is often considered synonymous with prudishness, conjuring images of covered up piano legs and dark ankle-length skirts. Historian Matthew Green uncovers a quite different scene in the sordid story of Holywell St, 19th-century London’s epicentre of erotica and smut.
From The Secret History of Holywell Street: Home to Victorian London’s Dirty Book Trade | The Public Domain Review
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Interview with a Bookstore: Galiano Island Books, on a tiny Canadian island

The owners of this family-run bookshop on Galiano Island (population 1,258) talk about getting bitten by the ‘bookstore bug’ and surreal customer exchanges
From Interview with a Bookstore: Galiano Island Books, on a tiny Canadian island | Books | The Guardian
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Capitol Hill Books Has DC's Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner

Capitol Hill Books’ Jim Toole (“If you have to put an age down, say 110”) had already lived a fairly full life before he took on running the secondhand book shop after its original owner passed away in 1994—he earned a degree in history from UCLA, a masters from American University, and served in the Navy for 30 years. Now he says he spends 85 to 90 hours a week tending to and stocking the stuffed-to-the-brim store across the street from Eastern Market, which he expanded to fill the basement and top floor of the rowhouse.
From Capitol Hill Books Has DC's Most Curmudgeonly Store Owner | Washingtonian
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People are hungry for real bookstores - Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving

Blume doesn’t have to write because, at 78, she has embarked on a new career: she’s an independent bookseller. Together with her husband, George Cooper, she has opened a small, nonprofit bookshop in Key West, Florida, where she’s working almost every day. And she’s loving it. She had planned “to take a gap year” after she finished writing and promoting her last novel, In the Unlikely Event. “I was going to relax and read and have this whole time with no pressure. And then bingo – the chance comes along to open a bookshop, and there you go. I guess I like that in my life … To learn something new like this, at 78, makes it all the more exciting.”
From 'People are hungry for real bookstores': Judy Blume on why US indie booksellers are thriving | Books | The Guardian
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Chill. It’s Not Books vs. Amazon. You Can Have Both!

According to Wired, books, and bookstores, can coexist with the dominant e-tailer Amazon just fine thank you.

"Print books have persisted, but ebooks are not going away. Amazon is powerful, but physical bookstores are still here. The book is not immune to the powerful digital forces that have re-shaped so much of the rest of the world. At the same time, books have been able to resist the forces of change because books really are different."

Why Do Cats Love Bookstores?

So how did they end up in bookstores? Look to Russia and a special decree issued by Empress Elizabeth in 1745 looking for “the best and biggest cats, capable of catching mice” to be sent to the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg to protect the treasures contained within from rats (this tradition lives on to the present day, with dozens of strays living in the basement of the museum). Not long after, sometime in the early 1800s, with Europeans still sure rats caused the Black Death (this idea has been mostly debunked, although now scholars believe gerbils might be to blame), and rat catchers unable to stop the rodents from overrunning filthy urban centers, governments started to pay libraries to keep cats in order to help bring down populations of book-loving vermin.
From Why Do Cats Love Bookstores? | Literary Hub
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