Nowadays, purchasing books entails surfing web pages and pressing the download button to select a book in digital form. It’s a procedure unknown to previous generations of book buyers. Their only alternative was to browse text shelves and buy wonderful bargains at a typical bookstore.
Though electronic books have captured over 3.2 billion dollars in book sales, the cherished state of physical books is still alive and strong. In fact, there are now more bookstores on the planet than there were in 1930. There are around 10,000 bookstores in the United States alone.
Let us go through time and pay homage to booksellers everywhere by visiting six of the world’s oldest bookstores.
1. Galignani (Paris)
This bookstore has been in operation in Paris since 1801. It is located at 224 Rue de Rivoli. It is considered to be the world’s oldest English bookstore. Furthermore, many people see it as the most fashionable bookstore in Paris. There are many books in its hallways. If you can’t find a book in your local bookshop, don’t worry since Galignani has everything you need.
The Galignani family has a long history in publishing, and the company began in Venice, then migrated to London, and finally settled in Paris. There is also a reading space in the bookstore. Through the years, the bookstore attracted prominent customers such as Ernest Hemingway, André Malraux, Orson Welles, and Marlene Dietrich.
2. Buchhandlung Weyhe (Germany- Salzwedel)
Its history dates back to 1840. Unfortunately, the bookstore closed after its owner died in December 2020. Helga Weyhe used to close her bookstore and head upstairs to her apartment every night. She had been doing the same thing every day since World War II, as had her father and grandpa before her. The bookstore first opened its doors in 1840. After 31 years, Helga Weyhe’s grandpa purchased it. It resisted the Nazi government and the Weimar Republic during World War I.
In 1965, four years after East Germany completed the Berlin Wall, Helga Weyhe took over the store from her father. She closed her bookstore for the last time one night in December 2020. He passed away at the age of 98. Her body was discovered in her residence in early January 2021, and she died around the end of December 2020.
3. Livraria Lello (Porto)
The history of the bookstore dates back to the second part of the nineteenth century. However, it was purchased in 1894 by José de Sousa Lello, who christened it Livraria Chardron De Lello & Irmo. The bookstore was originally located at 18/20 Almada Street in Oporto, but in 1906 it transferred to its current location on Carmelitas Street. The area of the bookstore was designed by Francisco Xavier Esteves, a well-known Portuguese architect. It is well-known around the world due to its architectural style (neo-gothic architecture).
4. Eleftheroudakis (Athens)
Greece is represented on this list by Eleftheroudakis bookstore in Athens. The Eleftheroudakis bookstore has been in operation since 1898. Costas Eleftheroudakis, a book lover, was inspired by the entire effort. By the 1980s, the bookstore had expanded to many sites throughout Athens. Eleftheroudakis bookstores can now be found throughout Greece, with the exception of Athens. The family firm continues to own all of the bookstores.
5. Dom Knigi (St. Petersburg)
It debuted in 1919 in the former Singer Company building. Dom Knigi was placed under state control when the communists assumed complete control of the country. During this time, many renowned people began to frequent the bookstore. The writers Alexey Nikolayevich Tolstoy, Olga Forsh, and Samuil Marshak were among its renowned guests. The bookstore remained open during the Second World War, although only for a brief period before being forced to close in November 1942 due to a lack of electrical energy.
The bookstore, of course, reopened after the war, specifically in 1948. Since then, it has remained one of Russia’s most well-known bookstores. It’s worth noting that the structure is noted for its vast ground-floor windows, as well as an elongated dome and glass sphere at the top held aloft by him and her pair of massive statues.
6. Marga Schoeller Bücherstube (Berlin)
Marga Schoeller, at 24, founded this bookstore in 1929. When Adolf Hitler was in power, the owner of the bookstore opposed the Nazi regime’s ideological policies and refused to sell propagandist publications. Following the Allies’ conquest of Berlin, this bookstore was among the first to get a license to continue operations as well as authority to sell English books. Since then, the bookstore has served as a focal point for book enthusiasts in West Berlin. Marga Schoeller died in 1978, but her son took over the business, which is still in existence today.