6 Indies From Around the World For Independent Boo...

6 Indies From Around the World For Independent Bookstore Day

Happy Indie Bookstore Day!  Despite claims that indie bookstores are in danger of becoming extinct in the face of behemoths like Amazon, indies are fighting back. With support from big league publishing houses such as Penguin Random House and Ingram, and with over 400 bookstores participating, the third national Indie Bookstore Day promises to live up to the hype.  To celebrate, here are six innovative indie bookstores from around the world.

Morioka Shoten in Tokyo, Japan

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Morioka Shoten, Photo: PR

Designed to mimic the tranquility of a Japanese tearoom, this miniature store only stocks one title at a time. The title changes weekly, and there are events and art exhibitions to accompany the book.  This minimalistic philosophy appeals to customers, who are constantly inundated with endless choices. Morioka Shoten also fosters community of readers, as authors often make special guest appearances.

Drawn and Quarterly in Montreal, Canada

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Drawn and Quarterly, Photo: Studio Happy Birthday

Drawn and Quarterly doubles as a physical store as well a comic book publisher. Their curated selection of new releases and more obscure zines, in both French and English, makes this nook a one-stop shop for comic and graphic novel lovers.

Lello & Irmão in Porto, Portugal

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Lello and Irmão, Photo: Joana Rebelo Reis

This architectural feat opened in 1906, and began as a hub for authors and artists to collaborate and gather. Today, tourists and locals alike take pilgrimages to the Neo-Gothic beauty, which is routinely rated amongst the top bookstores in Lonely Planet and The Guardian. JK Rowling also frequented the store when she was teaching English in the area, and it is said that the stunning architecture inspired her descriptions of Hogwarts castle.

powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn, NY

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powerHouse Arena, Photo: Barbara Eldredge

The powerHouse Arena specializes in art books, children’s picture books, as well as new literary fiction titles. PowerHouse also boasts a packed events calendar, where authors such as David Sedaris and celebrities such as Anthony Bourdain come to launch their new titles. The Dumbo location also houses a publishing company, powerHouse Books, in the store.

Motto in Berlin, Germany

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Motto, Photo: Mary Scherpe / Stilinberlin

Motto began as a distribution company in Switzerland and stocks more than 10,000 titles. The fledgling enterprise, founded in 2007, then expanded with locations in Berlin and beyond. Motto focuses on indie magazines and fanzines. Although Motto is only 90 meters, they host regular gallery openings and nurtures a cozy environment with a large wooden table in the center of the store for extended browsing.

Papercup, Beirut, Lebanon

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Papercup, Photo: Zomato

This bookstore café, tucked away in the blossoming Mar Mikhael neighborhood, offers, “coffee infused book therapy.”  Papercup encourages browsers to leaf through architecture, design, photography, fashion books and more with one of their specialty cappuccinos.

Kay Craddock, Melbourne, Australia

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Kay Craddock, Photo: Bazeer Flumore

We didn’t forget the used bookstores. Kay Craddock specializes in rare and used books.  Fun fact: founder Muriel Craddock turned 104 this April! Stroll in for unique, out-of-print finds like storybooks from the 1950’s and romance novels from the 1980’s.


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Liz is the author of the unpublished novel "Human Eclipse" (shout out to all the publishers out there) and does event coordinating at The Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo, Brooklyn. You can find her trying to write another novel-child on her cell phone during her lunch break and/or appreciating art.