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Lost in the Stacks: Art Bookstores Around the World

art bookstores
Daikanyama Tsutaya Books T-Site in Tokyo, Japan

By Tori Campbell

Art Bookstores

Art bookstores serve as community centres, cultural hubs for the neighbourhood, events spaces for artists and authors to promote their work, and places for inspiration to germinate new ideas or iterate on old ones. While many art bookstores have been closed for months, their publications live online or in wait for the day when visitors can stream through the doors again. In the meantime, let us provide you with this list of amazing art bookstores around the world, that can be used for online shopping, or a travel itinerary for the months to come!

BING Art Books: Chicago, Illinois, USA

art bookstore
BING Art Books, Chicago

Settled in Chicago’s Washington Park in the city’s South Side, BING art bookstore features a community event space, reading room, and bar. Co-founded by artist Theaster Gates and curator Hamza Walker, BING serves as much as a public community space as it does a private commercial bookstore, encouraging visitors to spend an afternoon browsing the stacks and enjoying their collection of books on art, architecture, and photography.
Give them a visit next time you’re in Chicago or support them from afar with a follow on Instagram.

Hennessey + Ingalls: Los Angeles, California, USA

Local Flavor: Hennessey + Ingalls | Travel + Leisure

The largest bookstore in the United States devoted solely to architecture, art, and design, Hennessey + Ingalls is a sprawling warehouse complex in Downtown Los Angeles. Recently having consolidated two stores into one, the huge independent art bookstore has been family run since its opening by Reginald Hennessey in 1963. Get lost in their endless stacks of exhibition catalogues, avant garde magazines, or extensive collection of monographs. 
Browse their website, here.

Daikanyama Tsutaya Books T-Site: Tokyo, Japan

art bookstores
Daikanyama Tsutaya Books T-Site, Tokyo

With an aisle of magazines so long it is now dubbed ‘Magazine Avenue’, Tokyo’s Daikanyama Tsutaya Books T-Site offers an extensive collection of design and architecture books throughout its series of three interlocked buildings. The architectural team responsible for the building, Klein Dytham Architecture, won an award from the World Architecture Festival for its design; housing an assortment of new and rare books (and two cafes!) within the stylish and peaceful architectural complex. 
Browse their stacks from afar at their website.

Artland Book Company: New Taipei City, Taiwan

art bookstores
Artland Book Company, Taipei

Operating in New Taipei City, Taiwan since 1985, the intimate (and amazingly named) Artland Book Company offers a trove of art and design books for the aesthetically minded. The den-like art bookstore imports international publications as well as featuring pillars of the Taiwanese cultural scene with a wide array of books on art, architecture, design, applied arts, fashion and more.
Take a look at their website and see for yourself.

Ooga Booga: Los Angeles, California, USA

Started in 2004 as a tiny shop in Los Angeles’ Chinatown, Ooga Booga originally carried independent art, books, clothing, and music but has since expanded rapidly. They now also publish art books and zines, as well as audiotapes and records of local musicians work. In addition to their publications, they offer events, film screenings, readings, and performances throughout their satellite locations such as the Kadist Foundation San Francisco, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, and Swiss Institute New York. 
Check out their online store and support them from home.

Papercup Bookstore: Beirut, Lebanon

art bookstores
Papercup Bookstore, Beirut

One of the first retail locations to open in the now booming Mar Mikhael neighbourhood of Beirut, Papercup Bookstore, established in 2009 by Rania Naufal, is now a local institution. The space is one of the best art bookstores in Lebanon and offers children’s books, magazines, travel guides, and graphic novels as well as art and design titles. The in-house cafe serves coffee, tea, and homemade cake; helping to fuel the hours upon hours of browsing that is sure to happen upon every visit.
Once an old painter’s storage warehouse, visit next time you’re in Beirut to check out the light and airy space.

Artazart: Paris, France

art bookstores
Artazart, Paris

Found in Paris’ Canal St. Martin, Artazart lies behind a bright red facade, a preview of the vibrancy found inside the lovely art bookstore. With books on art and design, you can find a plethora of titles no matter how unique your interest. From fashion and graffiti to landscape architecture and graphic design, Artazart is one of the unique art bookstores that truly has everything on offer.
Pay them a visit or celebrate their 20th anniversary with them online.

Printed Matter: New York, USA

art bookstores
Printed Matter, New York City

One of the most renowned art bookstores in the world, New York City’s Printed Matter helped to redefine how we interact with artists’ books. Founded in 1976 by a group of influential artists and critics (among them: Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, and Walter Robinson), the art bookstore soon became a community meeting place and a downtown hub for the art scene. With the intention of elevating artist books to collectable items worth respect (at the time they were often used as disposable promotional materials), Printed Matter was instrumental in changing our perception of the genre. 
Visit the site to see for yourself how they went from a small bookstore to a global cultural institution

do you read me?!: Berlin, Germany

art bookstores
do you read me?!, Berlin

Located in the cultural centre of the former East Berlin, do you read me?! offers art books, journals, and magazines in the tiny Mitte shop. Hosting established international titles alongside local independent publications, take a deep dive into their hand-selected art, architecture, design, and photography books. Though Berlin is not at a loss for amazing art bookstores, do you read me?! is arguably one of the best and most welcoming in the city. With a website that is just as aesthetically pleasing as the books they carry, you have to check them out.

EXILE Books: Miami, Florida, USA

art bookstores
EXILE Books, Miami

A former manager at New York’s Printed Matter and archivist for Yoko Ono, artist Amanda Season Keely brought her experiences and expertise to her home city of Miami, where she opened EXILE Books, the city’s first artist-oriented bookstore. Initially founded as a pop-up, hosted at over twenty locations throughout Miami, it has now set up a permanent location in the Little Haiti neighbourhood, allowing for more extensive collection and space for events. Devoted to establishing and promoting print culture in Miami, EXILE also serves as a publishing house and experimental inclusive artist space. 
Support their work, and see what they’re up to, here.

Relevant sources to learn more

Check out the 7 Essential Books on Collecting Art or if fiction is more your thing enjoy 15 Brilliant Novels About Art and Artists
Explore the Huffington Post’s favourite art and design bookstores