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El “cofre del tesoro del mundo”: las librerías más bonitas de Palma

09/03/2023

When Johannes Gutenberg printed the very first book in history - his famous 42 Line Bible - between 1450 and 1455, could he ever have imagined the repercussions his invention would have over the centuries?

The history of humankind cannot be explained without books which, aside from the knowledge and tales they contain, are in themselves objects of incomparable beauty.

Bookstores are “the treasure chest of the world”, in the words of the writer Ben Carson. And Palma has a series of these chests containing beautiful books which cover endless subject matters, either for entertainment or with the aim of making us a little wiser with each day that passes.

What better place to start this tour than Rialto Living? As soon as you enter the shop, on the left, the tall bookshelves fill the hallway with colour, capturing the attention of visitors. XL tomes on architecture, design and interiors, gastronomy or travel, signed off on by formidable publishing houses like Assouline, TeNeues, Rizzoli or Thames & Hudson, among others.

In addition, the Rialto Living book department is the only space in Palma where one can find books of this quality written in English, ideal for starting to read in the Café Rialto whilst enjoying a good breakfast, a glass of wine or a cocktail.

Between La Rambla and the historic Calle San Miguel, La Biblioteca de Babel has been nominated one of the 20 most brilliant bookshops in the world, according to the Financial Times. Its innumerable nooks and crannies with shelves stacked up with books are like a labyrinth illuminated by the presence of the great classics of universal literature. This bookshop also offers a meticulous selection of wines, either to purchase or for trying on the store’s own delightful wood-decked terrace.

Managed by the people who run La Biblioteca de Babel, the Caixaforum bookshop specialises in large-format books on painters, photographers, artists, architects and destinations around the world. As well as the enjoyment offered by its rich selection of books, this store stands out for its location on the ground floor of the Gran Hotel de Palma, built in 1903.

With its markedly industrial character, Rata Corner is a bookshop with a difference. In this space one can find all types of books, vinyls and graphic work. It also has a space for book presentations and conferences.

Two doors down from the main bookshop, Little Rata is the place for young readers, with books for children and young adults, toys, ingenious objects and carpeted corners for enjoying the magic of reading.

In the Santa Catalina neighbourhood, a former fishermen’s quarter and now one of Palma’s most fashionable areas, we find La Salina. This warm, well-decorated space brings together the literary classics in different languages, including Spanish, English and French.

“The book for understanding life hasn’t been written yet”, says Sergio, the owner of Literanta, located in Palma’s former Jewish quarter. Sergio likes to recommend volumes by Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Anthony Burgess, Bruce Chatwin or Nabokov to his clients, along with other authors.

Romanticism, ideals, dreams and beauty form part of La Librera del Savoy, where María moves among volumes of all genres with a single mantra: “to read is to dare to live”.

Touching, caressing, breathing, giving, sharing, possessing and making notes on the pages of a book are sensations that can never be felt with a screen. Which is why things tangible have such an important meaning, and bookshops are becoming temples of essence in the face of the maelstrom of the impersonal virtual world.

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