On July 24, 2014 CNN released their list of World’s Coolest Bookstores, and we can confirm the coolness of five that are located in cities we know well from our handbooks.
To start, The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles started as an online store but is now located in an old bank, vaults included. On the top floor, there is a section called the Labyrinth with over 100,000 books all priced at a dollar. Along with their wide collection of books (making them the largest independent bookstore in California), Last Bookstore also sells records and holds book signings/readings. If that isn’t enticing enough, the book structures (such as the desk and tunnel to the Labyrinth) will make the visit worth your while.
The next couple of shops are Stanfords and Foyles Flagship, both of which are in London. Stanfords carries the world’s largest stock of maps and travel books, which comes as no surprise since the store initially opened as a map shop in 1853. If you are traveling through London and need assistance with your next excursion, the attentive staff at Stanfords can help with your research. Foyles Flagship, on the other hand, originated in 1903 when brothers William and Gilbert Foyles started selling textbooks based on an exam they had failed. Now the store is thriving with five locations, one of which is where the Sex Pistols first performed.
Another of CNN’s coolest bookstores is The Strand in New York City. The Strand was started by Ben Bass on 4th Avenue in book row amongst 48 other bookstores and is the only one left standing today. Currently on 12th and Broadway, The Strand carries over 2.5 million new, used, and rare books. According to their website, the store is still kept in the Bass family, and they expect to continue this tradition, not seeing online stores like Amazon as a threat.
And last, but certainly not least, is Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR. It might be a little biased to say this, but Powell’s is a book-lover’s paradise. The store takes up a whole city block and is packed up to three levels with books. Powell’s carries 122 subjects and 3,500 subsections, making it hard to not find a book on their shelves. If you do find something they don’t carry (because it has been self-published), Powell’s can print it right in the store with their Espresso Book Maker.
Those are the bookstores from CNN’s list we know from our Newcomer’s Handbooks. And if you’re moving to any of these cities, we suggest checking these stores out.
Written by: Kristin Monteith
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