10 of the Coolest Niche Bookstores From Around the World

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We all know about the plight of independent and specialty bookstores, so we won’t lament it again here. Suffice it to say, fellow book and bookstore lovers, that all is not lost! We recently found out about Singularity&Co, a new specialist Sci-Fi bookstore opening up in Brooklyn with a specific mission: to rescue and preserve vintage, out of print sci-fi titles. We’re so excited about this shiny new (and also very old) bookstore that we decided to round up a few more awesome bookstores specializing in everything from murder mysteries to the sea, just waiting to fill your every need. Click through to see some of the coolest niche and specialty bookstores in the world, and since no list like this can ever be really complete, be sure to pitch in with your own favorites in the comments.

Singularity & Co, Brooklyn

Just opened last week, we’re thrilled to welcome this bookstore to the neighborhood. The store’s Save the Sci-Fi campaign will rescue one out of print cult Science Fiction novel each month and make it available online for free — and fans can vote for which one they want the most! And then there’s always the brick-and-mortar store — chock full of the paper versions so you can browse to your heart’s content.

Libreria il Mare, Rome

As its name suggests, this bookstore is exclusive dedicated to that most essential of all compounds — water. Stocked with non-fiction, academic books, maps, picture books and novels, all somehow relating to their topic (there are whole shelves devoted to books about pirates, you guys), it’s the kind of store you could submerge yourself in for hours. Just don’t drown. Photo via.

Stanley & Livingstone, The Hague, The Netherlands

Dr. Livingstone, I presume? This gorgeous little travel bookshop is packed with everything you’d ever need to know about any spot on the globe, and boasts an impressive collection of maps to boot. It’s enough to give anyone a stiff case of wanderlust. Photo via.

Libreria Griot, Rome

This is a very specialized bookstore indeed — instead of being devoted to a certain topic, this Italian bookstore focuses entirely on African literature, both fiction and non-fiction. It also hosts courses in Arabic, Swahili, Somali, and Amharic, as well as journalism classes and writing workshops. Photo via.

Bibliotheca-Culinaria Kochbuchantiquariat, Berlin, Germany

This is a bookshop for food lovers to be sure, but it’s not your run-of-the-mill cookbook store. The underground shop is packed with over 15,000 carefully curated vintage cookbooks on its shelves, and comes complete with a knowledgable owner who will likely offer you a coffee and invite you to sit and browse for as long as you like. Photo via.

The Sleuth of Baker Street, Toronto, Canada

This North Toronto bookshop — named, of course, for everyone’s favorite mastermind, Sherlock Holmes — is a haven for mystery lovers of all kinds. Often patrolled by animals (that’s Sir Percival above), the shop is cozy and the proprietors are welcoming and extremely knowledgable. They even have a brick from the original 221B Baker Street! Now that’s commitment. Photo via.

Partners & Crime Mystery, New York City

Yes, another mystery book shop — we just couldn’t help ourselves. This wonderful NYC gem, which also made our list of the best bookstores in the US, has an extensive collection of rare, out-of-print, and first edition books and a mystery-obsessed staff to go with them. Partially subterranean, as befits its specialty, the store boasts creative sub-sections like Great Tough Guys, Tough Girls, and Out-of-Print Pulp as well as a fantastic staff-curated and annotated section entitled “100 of the Best We’ve Ever Read.”

Bookmarks, London

The only bookstore in London that specializes in socialist and radical material, Bookmarks is a treasure trove of hard-to-find Leftish pamphlets and publications — as well as some not so out there but still left-leaning lit. Whether you’re looking for literature on the environment, anti-globalisation, women’s rights, or the history of class struggle and labor movements, or any other “socialist” information, you’ll find it here. Photo via.

Librairie des Femmes, Paris, France

Like Chicago’s Women and Children First, this specialty shop is stocked largely with books written by women, about women, and for women. Part of a larger collective organized by Antoinette Fouque, which also publishes books and hosts a gallery and various events throughout the year, it’s a lovely must-see.

Cow Books, Tokyo

This tiny little bookstore specializes in out of print books from the ’60s and ’70s, often with a distinct radial bent, focusing on progressive politics, the Beats, and even first editions of “forgotten modern authors.” The founder, Yataro Matsuura, is a fixture on the local literary scene, serving as editor-in-chief of the magazine Kurashi no Techo and an author in his own right.