The Definitive Global Art Bookshop Guide 2023

Arcana Books. Source: Perdiem World

Every individual embarking on a journey holds unique expectations for a destination. Some seek to explore historical sites; some yearn to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature, while others indulge in retail therapy.

In our upcoming exploration, we will venture into the realm of retail therapy with a distinct intellectual focus: the most enchanting art bookshops around the world. 

Get ready to uncover a world where artistic literary treasures await amidst a variety of diverse destinations!

Art Bookshop Guide | Printed Matter
Printed Matter. Source: New York Times

Printed Matter | New York, NY

Printed Matter, a non-profit publisher, exhibition venue, retail store, and community center in the downtown arts scene, is a focal point for avant-garde artists. Because they produce in large quantities, the organization’s publications and works are reasonably priced, with the purpose of promoting art. 

The bookshop was one of the first organizations that solely focused on distributing these publications, therefore addressing a market need. By accomplishing this, it gave artists the ability to be in direct control of their creation and to reach an audience outside of organizations.

Art Bookshop Guide | Mast Books
Mast Books

Mast Books | New York, NY

Bryan Leitgeb and James McKee created Mast Books, a bookshop and artwork space in the East Village of New York City, in 2010. The bookshop gathers a wide range of contemporary works from small press publishers along with out-of-print and rare books. 

Since it was established, Mast Books has taken a significant part in cultural events and programs, such as public talks, readings, performances, and exhibitions. Mast Books provides consultation and library building services. 

Dashwood Books | New York, NY

Dashwood Books is a prominent destination for art enthusiasts. Its primary emphasis lies in contemporary photography, with a scope that extends beyond publications limited to the US. Dashwood Books curates a meticulously selected range of rare post-war books, distinguishing itself through this careful compilation.

The bookshop builds collections for museums, educational institutions, and reference libraries for designers and fashion houses. It is a valuable resource for people interested in artist’s books and monographs as well as the fashion, advertising, and film industries. 

Art Bookshop Guide | Arcana Books
Arcana Books. Source: Perdiem World

Arcana Books on Arts | Los Angeles, CA

This visual arts bookshop has been known since 1984 for its distinctive and meticulously selected collection of the greatest books, catalogs, and ephemera connected to photography, art, fashion, design, architecture, film, and music. 

Rare modern, contemporary art, and photography findings are the primary focus of the bookshop. Arcana also includes fascinating sections on tattooing, surf + skate culture, African and African-American artists, graffiti, and fashion photography. 

Art Bookshop Guide | The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore | Los Angeles, CA

The Last Bookstore is on a quest to keep the independent book stores alive in the age of e-readers and digital downloads. Visitors are greeted on the mezzanine level by books hanging from a bookcase in an original and eye-catching display. Along with freestanding sculptures and mobiles, the area has book-made tunnels, secret side chambers with a huge range of used books for sale, and other elements. 

The Spring Arts Collective, located in the upper level, is a diverse gallery featuring the creations of artists, including metalwork, paintings, sculptures, and graphic prints. It enhances the overall bookshop experience by adding a creative and visually pleasing element. 

Art Metropole | Toronto, CA

Founded in 1974, Art Metropole is a nonprofit visual arts center, focuses on contemporary art forms conducive to wide dissemination: artists’ books, video, audio, electronic media, and multiples. It aims to foster collaboration and idea exchange among artists. 

Art Metropole’s distribution occurs through its space, pop-up locations, satellites, and online. The center produces exhibitions, talks, screenings, and performances related to distributed art practices, managing a public art collection and archive. 

Art Bookshop Guide | Livraria da Esquina
Livraria da Esquina. Source: Shop in Porto

Livraria da Esquina | São Paulo, Brazil

Esquina Livraria e Papelaria, which opened its doors in 1972, initially served as a neighborhood bookshop specializing in modern literature. Over time, there was a gradual shift in focus towards acquiring and appreciating rare and exceptional antiquarian books, showcasing their preciousness and historical value.

Presently, the store specializes in antique books, particularly those from the 16th and 17th centuries, but they additionally stock books about art, genealogy, and regionalism. Known for their collection, it has had the honor of harboring a remarkable assortment of the finest and most rare works of classical Portuguese literature. 

The Argumento Bookstore | Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Argumento Bookstore, which was founded in 1978 in São Paulo and later opened a branch in Rio de Janeiro, became well-known for its enormous book selection, particularly in the Social Sciences. It stood out in particular for encouraging a substantial number of artistic works and providing intellectual and artistic freedom amid the oppressive “years of lead.” 

This literary sanctuary turned into a gathering place for ideologists and its creative strategy—which included the opening of Café Severino in 1993—led to outstanding success. For his soap opera, renowned author Manoel Carlos drew inspiration from the bookshop to show how it has influenced culture. Argumento still stands as a literary and creative heritage today, symbolizing a place where the spirit of discovery and artistic collaboration can flourish.

Art Bookshop Guide | Artwords

Artwords | London, UK

Committed to the realm of contemporary visual arts and culture, Artwords was founded in 2001. Their specialized collection encompasses a wide array of titles, including books on fashion, graphic design, architecture, photography, fine art, as well as visual and critical philosophy.

Artwords operates two London outlets – one in Shoreditch and another in Hackney’s London Fields, each separated by a brief twenty-minute walk. Nestled in these creative and residential neighborhoods, the bookshops are surrounded by art galleries, cafes, and thrift stores, embodying an aspirational London lifestyle of literature, art, and relaxation. 

Tenderbooks | London, UK

Tenderbooks is a distinctive spot devoted to independent publishing that is situated in Cecil Court. A variety of activities are held at the bookshop, including signings, performances, and installations by contemporary artists who use printed materials in unusual methods. They also organize exhibitions of uncommon avant-garde prints and other ephemera. 

Tenderbooks also buys rare books about art, design, and architecture, with an emphasis on artist books. The shop offers a venue for showcasing and appreciating imaginative printed works as well as an invaluable resource for both artists and art lovers.

Art Bookshop Guide | Architectural Association Bookshop
Architectural Association Bookshop

Architectural Association Bookshop | London, UK

The UK’s Architectural Association bookshop, a major architectural bookseller, relocated to enhance the shopping experience, boost customer attraction, and create more shelf space, aligning with a tight budget of £400/m2. 

A 3D laser survey aided in creating flexible, context-sensitive furniture. About 1000 birch plywood pieces, computer-cut and waxed, were assembled on-site with durable woven vinyl floors. NEX crafted distinctive lighting fixtures attached to bookshelves. This innovative approach enhanced functionality and aesthetics within budget, presenting a fresh take on bookshop design. 

Motto Berlin | Berlin, Germany

Motto‘s journey began with Alexis Zavialoff, a French photographer. He founded a Swiss book and magazine distribution firm, inspired by his photography. Traveling through cities like Barcelona and Prague, he tackled distribution challenges while collaborating on art magazines. In 2006, his magazine distribution drive across Switzerland laid the foundation for Motto’s inception in Zurich. By 2008, Motto had expanded to Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.

Motto’s assortment has grown vastly, embracing global perspectives and cultural nuances. Its clientele, including artists and researchers, relish the rare and diverse publications offered. The store’s unique selections, unpredictable discounts, and collaborations with institutions define its distinctive identity.

Art Bookshop Guide | Neurotitan

Neurotitan | Berlin, Germany

Neurotitan is an eclectic shop with books, art, short-run comics, and a small but varied vinyl record selection. The wares are generally very niche by independent local artists and illustrators. You can easily spend a few hours in here satisfying your curiosity. 

Neurotitan’s low-threshold cycle comprises an average of thirteen art shows annually, alongside numerous events and collaborations within the Haus Schwarzenberg community and with external partners. Its aim is to captivate art enthusiasts of all ages, including the myriad of tourists who stumble upon their exhibits serendipitously.

do you read me?! | Berlin, Germany

do You read me?! is a bookshop founded by graphic designer Mark Kiessling in 2008. It is located in the thriving Mitte neighborhood. Books and periodicals around the globe are carefully curated. 

The range of customers is diverse since there are books on a variety of topics; including art, architecture, interior design, photography, fashion, graphic design, food and drink, philosophy, literature, business, sports, music, film, typography, digital culture, and even children’s books. 

Art Bookshop Guide | Yvon Lambert Gallery
Yvon Lambert Gallery

Yvon Lambert Gallery | Paris, France

A broad selection of artistic materials can be discovered in Yvon Lambert Gallery‘s bookshop, including art books, exhibition catalogs, artists’ books, elusive out-of-press editions, small print runs, posters, DVDs, CDs, fashionable t-shirts, and fascinating artwork. The bookshop provides a place for working on projects with well-known artists from around the world, whether they are established names or up-and-coming artists. 

The location fosters deep ties between artists and visitors. Its wide range of publications on art, which ranges from books to exhibition catalogues, as well as rare and difficult-to-find editions, are all part of its comprehensive collection. 

Librairie Galignani | Paris, France

The oldest English bookseller on the continent, Librairie Galignani holds the distinction of being recognized as Paris’s most magnificent bookshop. Since its establishment in 1801, the Galignani family has proudly stewarded this independent business through six generations. In addition to offering an extensive collection of English books spanning fiction, politics, and history, the store boasts a fine arts section great for art enthusiasts.

The adept team excels in fulfilling customers’ literary needs, no matter how specific or esoteric, leveraging their rich experience of over a century. The window displays at Librairie Galignani are equally noteworthy, meticulously curated and refreshed every 15 days to mirror current cultural events and concerns.  

Art Bookshop Guide | Tai Yip Art Bookshop
Tai Yip Art Bookshop. Source: Vogue HK

大業藝術書店 Tai Yip Art Bookshop | Hong Kong, China

This store, affiliated with the Hong Kong Museum of Art, offers an extensive array of publications tailored to the preferences of art enthusiasts. The collection encompasses Chinese-only, multilingual, and picture books.

Whether you have an expertise in the field or are a complete novice, you are bound to uncover something noteworthy here. Adorning the shelves are sizable volumes covering diverse subjects such as pottery, paintings, costumes, bronzes, jade, as well as Buddhist and Western art. These volumes are adorned with captivating photographs. Additionally, the store provides replicas of artworks by renowned Chinese painters and publications sourced from various museums. 

Art Bookshop Guide | Muse Art
Muse Art. Source: The Loop HK

Muse Art & Books | Hong Kong, China

In the basement of the Jordanian Hotel Stage lies a gem: Muse Art and Books. It offers a thoughtfully curated collection of handcrafted books, sourced from both national and global origins. The common thread among these books is their meticulous printing and their focus on diverse cultural subjects.

The selection encompasses specialized topics, including illustrated books created using textured silk screens, and vintage pharmacy labels presented in the Hong Kong style. Even the Yau Ma Tei neighborhood finds its dedicated section. Despite its primary focus on English, the store also houses works in Cantonese and even Sanskrit. Alongside the books, Muse Art and Books features an art gallery where different artists exhibit their work.

Daikanyama Tsutaya Books T-Site | Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo’s Daikanyama Tsutaya Books, designed by the architectural firm Klein Dytham, serves as a remarkable cultural hub and bookshop. It garnered acclaim at the World Architecture Festival for its distinguished design. The store caters to a wide variety of interests, offering an exceptional collection of items related to food, travel, music, and art.

Amid Tokyo’s charming shops and restaurants, Daikanyama Tsutaya Books stands out as a sprawling bookshop. The first-floor hosts numerous reading areas, while the second floor houses the music section in a well-lit and roomy space. Throughout the central structure, one can find diverse language titles, art books, vintage publications, and multimedia zones. 

Papercup | Beirut, Lebanon

Motivated by the owner’s passion for literature and their personal dissatisfaction stemming from the absence of a cozy local establishment, Papercup embarked on its journey in June 2009 as a specialized bookshop with a unique focus. Nestled on a charming lane within Beirut’s diverse Mar Mikhael district, visitors are greeted by bookshelves filled with exquisite volumes that encompass art, architecture, design, photography, and fashion.

These offerings are further enriched by a thoughtfully curated selection of periodicals, children’s literature, graphic novels, and delightful stationery finds. Going beyond, the store extends a tailored ordering service. 

Art Bookshop Guide | Bookpark
Bookpark. Source: Korean Dramaland

Bookpark | Seoul, Korea

Within Seoul’s cultural hub, Blue Square, lies Bookpark, a unique café-bookshop boasting almost 3000 books, ranging from fiction to technical materials, within its meticulously curated library. The collection places emphasis on the natural sciences, arts, and humanities.

At the BOOK’PARK Lounge, the venue provides a sophisticated café experience along with several serene reading areas. Beyond its literary selection, Bookpark hosts complimentary public lectures, events, and book clubs. The assortment encompasses both Korean and English-language books. 


Contact us

Fill in the form below to inquire about this artwork.

Join our newsletter and grab your free copy of Best Exhibitions Around the World in 2024.


Plus, continue to stay updated on the contemporary art world through a weekly digest of headlines and our own new articles!