books featuring bookstores

Bookstores feature on our list of favourite reading spaces right after that corner that we love to curl up in at home, and the library. Bookstores are a magical world on their own – they’re where we dream our literary dreams, spend hours going through the available books, taking in the smell of new books and finding our next read. Maybe that’s why we are always curious about books that involve bookstores.

Here, we have a list of books set in bookstores and books about bookstores, both fiction and nonfiction, that reflect our love of all things book-based! From a cosy mystery set in Scotland to a collection that talks of 300 of the most bizarre and wondrous bookstores around the world, this is one list you shouldn’t miss.


The Shadow Of The Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Lucia Graves (Tr.)

To ease Daniel’s sadness over losing his mother, his father brings him to Barcelona’s Cemetery of Lost Books, a humongous library filled with the rarest of rare titles. Daniel chooses Julián Carax’s ‘The Shadow Of The Wind’. Enthralled by the book, he sets out to find other books by Carax. But he is not the only one. Rumours spread of a horribly disfigured man who is on a mission to find and destroy all of Carax’s books. This man calls himself Laín Coubert, the name given to the devil in Carax’s book. But when uncanny parallels between Carax and Daniel’s lives begin to emerge, the latter gets involved in a race against time to find the man who hunts books, before he becomes a victim of the hunt himself. Full of mystery, subplots within subplots and our beloved books, this is a work of literary fiction to die for.

Buy it here.


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon, a former web designer, becomes the newest employee of the eponymous bookstore after being made redundant at his former job. After working for a few days though, Clay notices his customers behaving in a strange manner – none of them buy books, choosing to borrow them instead. Not just that, the borrowed books are large and mysterious-looking and taken from the less-frequented parts of the store. Determined to find the truth, Clay takes the help of his friends and uncovers a secret society that communicates in codes hidden within the books. Clay gets into trouble when he takes on more than he can handle, and what follows is a mystery worth reading. For those who have always dreamt of discovering hidden codes in books and mysteries around bookstores, this book is definitely meant for you.

Buy it here.


Paper Moon

Rehana Munir

While on his deathbed, Fiza’s estranged father leaves her money to open a bookshop. Fiza’s life changes overnight as she gets thrown into the world of book-buying, dealing with eccentric staff, and decision-making. The bookshop, Paper Moons, operates out of an old Bandra mansion and brings romance into Fiza’s life, when a mysterious customer starts wooing her, even as she struggles with confused feelings for her ex. A tale of books, Bombay and romance, Rehana Munir’s Paper Moon is a book worth reading.

Buy it here.


The Little Paris Bookshop

Nina George, Simon Pare (Tr.)

Jean Perdu runs a literary apothecary on a barge on the river Seine. He is famous for accurately recommending books for every mood. The only person he cannot cure is his own self – the one that is suffering from a broken heart ever since the love of his life left him, leaving only a letter behind. When Jean finally dares to read it after 21 long years, the contents of the letter send him on a journey to the south of France, where he, and his enigmatic travel companion, will meet a host of characters and solve the mystery of his past. Adventures across France, a bookstore that floats and book predictions for every mood – how can you go wrong with this?

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The Bookseller Of Kabul 

Åsne Seierstad, Ingrid Christopherson (Tr.)

After the fall of the Taliban, award-winning journalist Åsne Seierstad spent four months in Kabul, living with a bookseller and his family. The bookseller, Sultan Khan, had stood against the authorities for over 20 years by hiding and distributing books to the people. He was arrested and questioned over the years, and had seen his books falling victim to the Talibanis who would burn them rather than learn from them. But, along with being a bookseller, Khan was also a devout Muslim, and that meant adhering to the traditions of the religion. Seierstad, in her book, shows us her experiences of the public life of the men in Kabul, and the private world of the women. Relying on truth, this book gives us an account of life in Kabul like none other, while portraying the power of books

Buy it here.


The Bookshop Book

Jen Campbell

There are books being stored in barns, converted factories and churches, in boats, and even in secret underground places all around the world. Fascinating, isn’t it? You can read about these places (and more) in The Bookshop Book – the ultimate book for book lovers. Not only does it give us an interesting history of books, but it also gets authors to talk about their favourite places around the world, while recommending their favourite bookstores at times. The book also introduces us to 300 of the most bizarre and wondrous bookstores around the world, including a floating bookstore, a book enthusiast who sells books to the herders of the Altai mountains, and even the world’s first vending machine that spills out rare books. This is a book every book lover covets, and with good reason.

Buy it here.


Footnotes From The World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales And Lost Moments From Book Buyers, Booksellers, And Book Lovers

Bob Eckstein

Local bookstores have a charm of their own – the rare titles, the daily customers and the bookstore owners who know their preferences. These are bookstores that have been a part and parcel of our communities for years. In Footnotes From The World’s Greatest Bookstores, New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein gathers untold stories from 75 famous bookstores from around the world, along with an exquisite illustration of the store. The stories are compiled from some of the most famous people in the world, including Neil Gaiman, David Bowie, Ann Patchett, and Amitav Ghosh, amongst others. A keepsake for all eternity, this book is a must for every bibliophile and book collector.

Buy it here.


Parnassus On Wheels

Christopher Morley

Helen McGill is 39 and tired of taking care of her older brother Andrew. When Andrew decides to write about life in the countryside, he becomes an instant phenomenon and a celebrated author. Suddenly he begins travelling everywhere, being utterly unhelpful, and takes his sister for granted. When one Roger Mifflin arrives with a horse-drawn bookstore in tow to sell to her brother, Helen realises that she has had enough. She buys the bookstore from Mifflin and sets out with him on the journey of a lifetime. Written in 1917, this charming story of a woman and her adventure with books will make you want to go on an adventure of your own! If you like it, read its sequel, The Haunted Bookshop.

Buy it here.


The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery

Paige Shelton

Looking for adventure after losing her job in Wichita, Kansas, Delaney Nichols moved halfway across the world to Scotland to work in a bookstore. Her boss, Edwin MacAlister, has given her the cryptic task of finding long-lost artefacts. To her delight, her co-workers become her newfound family. But when Edwin’s sister is found dead, he confesses that he had left a priceless item with her, which might have been the reason for her murder. Delaney desperately wishes to help, but begins to wonder if everything is as simple as it seems. Will she escape unscathed from the investigation? A cosy murder mystery set in a Scottish bookstore, this book will make you want to curl up with a cup of coffee and devour it in one sitting.

Buy it here.


The Storied Life Of A. J. Fikry

Gabrielle Zevin

A.J. Fikry’s life has been on a downward spiral – his wife is dead, his bookstore sales are crumbling. Adding to his miseries, there is a rare book that has gone missing. He is understandably grumpy, and starts withdrawing from the community, even though they try to help him. Help finally comes in the form of a child, Maya, who is left on the bookstore’s street. Will Maya and his books finally act as the catalyst needed to reawaken the will to live in this sad man? Who knows, maybe the journey of finding out if books save Fikry’s will prove life-changing for us as well.

Buy it here.