May 16, 2011

Phenomenal Bookstores from Around the World


El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires

Salon has a delightful slideshow of some of the world’s most astonishing, beloved, and unexpected bookstores, including bookstores in cathedrals, opera houses, and water mills. These stores are a tribute to how the “technology” of physical spaces still exceeds digital spaces in terms of serendipity, marvelousness, and pure pleasure. While gorgeous bookstores are certainly inspiring, I was most taken with the image and description of John King Books in Detroit. Here’s how Salon puts it:

Standing defiantly amid one of Detroit’s many surreal, post-apocalyptic ruin-scapes is a place that has to be experienced to be believed: John King Books. Converted from an abandoned 1940s glove factory, John King is a five-story wooden maze stuffed stairwells-to-ceilings with used and rare books — one of the largest and strangest collections in North America….Outside, it’s urban decay. Inside, it’s a creaking, pulsing monument to how much Kindles suck.


John King Books in Detroit