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Walking around São Paulo, I came across three remarkable bookstores.  Two in the downtown area and one in a luxurious shopping mall in the business district. My short visit had become an unintended bookstore tour and I was delighted. I will dedicate a post for each one of them.

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This one owned by Livraria Cultura is situated in a downtown shopping mall in the mid-section of Avenida Paulista (the equivalent of 6th Avenue in midtown New York, or any section of Nathan Road in Hong Kong). The company’s web page is here.

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I wandered into the store via the mall entrance and was really surprised by how the space suddenly opened up.

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There is a wide ramp that gently rises up to the first floor. Flat platforms served as seats on the sloping ramp. The interior was warm and inviting, playful and dramatic.

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I think there are at least three floors each with a balcony above the big atrium space in the middle.

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Love getting lost in this bookstore. One could see most departments of the bookstore when standing near the top of the atrium.

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The place was packed with people browsing and socializing, and importantly buying books too.

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The top floor has a music and video section.

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What they lacked, which is always present in a US bookstore, is a cafe. Or did I miss it ?

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The Arts department is in a separate unit in the mall and not connected to this big space. When I walked in, it was hosting a book signing party – but it must have just finished – I did not see the writer but there were waiters walking around with trays of wine and finger food. It was a Wednesday night and people were out and about enjoying a decent urban cultural life.

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The squiggly handrails and criss-crossing barriers make a very strong visual statement throughout the store.

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I suspect that this is their flagship store as it is mentioned first in their company web page.

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For those who are interested in bookstores, I toured several university bookstores in Boston last year and blogged about them here and here.

Two more Brazilian bookstore posts to come.

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