Hello, and welcome to the Bee’s Knees, the weekly column showcasing some of the many creative ways words and pictures can be combined! Bookstores have been a part of modern culture for a long time, but the arrival of e-books is perhaps the most vicious foe they’ve ever had to face. How can they win against such low prices in such a competitive market? This week, I’m going to take a look at some of the most eye-catching bookstores in the world. Even if you’re not a big reader (which you totally should be!), you’ve got to appreciate the artistic feel of some of these places.

SelexyzFirst in our tour is the Selexyz Bookstore in Maastricht, Holland. The store is big if nothing else, complete with grand columns and stained glass windows, giving the books an almost holy feel. The reason for this atmosphere is that the Selexyz Bookstore is actually built into an old church. Giant, majestic, and the perfect place to rendez-vous with your favorite classic book.

 

Lello BookstoreThe next bookstore we’ll take a look at is the Lello bookstore in Porto, Portugal. This store is gorgeous, if nothing else. Polished wood carvings and an elegant spiral staircase can give you the feeling that you’re not only about to find the best book in the world, but about to enter it as well. Not to mention the feeling that you have suddenly been whirled away to a strange land where you are hailed as king of the books. No, you’re definitely not in Kansas anymore!

 

Text Bubbles

 

Our last stop, and arguably the most creative, is Tokyo’s Tokyo in—you guessed it—Tokyo. Are you a fan of comics? Then this is the store for you. Every bookshelf and display table is formatted to look like a page from a graphic novel. Just by entering the store, you’re diving into the heart of the action!

That’s the bee’s knees for this week! Please join me next Friday for another way people blend words and pictures to create all-new forms of art. In the meantime, feel free to tell me in the comments section if there’s something you know of I should write about. What quirks do your favorite bookstores have? I love finding out about new things!