A photo of McNally Jackson Books

The Bookstore Project

I have liked books for a long time since I was a kid. I remember getting Jules Verne’s book Journey to the center of the earth when I was around 8 years old, and I loved it. My uncle Carlos had a small bookstore in Guadalajara, Mexico and my Dad used to bring me when he visited the bookstore to exchange his books and get a few magazines. And since then, I was always thrilled to go to this bookstore and look at all these book covers, magazines, etc. It was magical to me.

Verne’s book was a treasure for me, and while I don’t remember what happened to that book, it definitely was essential in awakening my interest in reading books. So as I am writing this, I did a quick search and found that the book is still in print, and I will definitely buy it – but not online. So instead, I will aim to get it at a small bookstore.

Like many people, I have many books around the house that I haven’t read yet. For me, it’s hard not to buy a book every time I go to a bookstore. While I don’t read all books immediately, I do read them. But the experience of visiting a bookstore, looking at all the books, decorations, and everything about them is very romantic.

A few years ago, I watched a video on YouTube where Max Joseph visited beautiful bookstores in Portugal and Argentina. In his video, he travels to Portugal to visit what’s considered the most beautiful bookstore in the world, while also talking about how to read books faster, and create a habit of reading. It’s a great video, and it’s very inspiring too.

I decided to watch the video again, and since my son had asked me to go with him to a Barnes and Noble near hour house, I was excited to go. While visiting the bookstore with my son, I found a book titled “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores,” it is as if the universe had a plan, and was laying it in front of me. I bought the book.

With newly found inspiration and ideas from the YouTube video and the book about the world’s greatest bookstores, I decided to try a new project. The idea is to visit the most unique and beautiful bookstores worldwide and take some videos and photographs of these bookstores. This isn’t going to be a single trip around the world, but instead, I will try and visit at least one or two bookstores in every city I land. And since I travel often, this should be doable, and also very fun.

This summer, we are traveling to Europe, and one of the first places we’ll visit is Porto, Portugal. And guess what? Porto is home to what is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, the same one featured in that YouTube video. This bookstore is also where it is said that J.K Rowling got the inspiration for some of the Harry Potter decorations. This bookstore will mark the beginning of this project, and I am really excited about it.

I don’t know what this project will be like in the end. Maybe it will be a collection of photos, videos, or both. Perhaps it will be a collection of essays where I write about each one of these bookstores, their story, etc. I don’t know, but having a specific project like this to focus on is exciting to me. It also gives me yet another excuse to find and visit more bookstores everywhere I go.

Do you also like visiting bookstores? Do you have any recommendations? One of the coolest bookstores I visited recently was in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The bookstore’s name is McNally Jackson Books, and it is beautiful. They have a large collection of books, and the place is amazing. The photo featured in this blog post is from that bookstore which I visited in May of 2022.