[Editor’s note: In celebration of the holidays, we’re counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #1, was originally published January 31.] With Amazon slowly taking over the publishing world and bookstores closing left and right, things can sometimes seem a little grim for the brick and mortar booksellers of the world. After all, why would anyone leave the comfort of their couch to buy a book when with just a click of a button, they could have it delivered to their door? Well, here’s why: bookstores so beautiful they’re worth getting out of the house (or the country) to visit whether you need a new hardcover or not. We can’t overestimate the importance of bookstores — they’re community centers, places to browse and discover, and monuments to literature all at once — so we’ve put together a list of the most beautiful bookstores in the world, from Belgium to Japan to Slovakia. Just so you know now, all you bookstore fiends: neither the Strand nor Powell’s is on this list. They’re both great bookstores, of course, but not particularly pretty (at least in our minds), and thus disqualified. Click through to see our picks for the most beautiful bookstores in the world, and as always, if we’ve left off your favorite, be sure to add to the collection in the comments!
A gorgeous converted Dominican church gives the power of reading its due diligence. Selexyz Bookstore, Maastricht, Holland