Book lovers rejoice: Sydney and Melbourne are named in a global listing for its library and bookstores as we see the resurgence of physical book sales around the world.
The world's biggest Instagram account dedicated to book lovers and libraries, @1000libraries, has revealed its rankings of the top 15 libraries and bookstores globally - with the State Library Victoria and Ampersand Bookstore in Sydney securing the 12th and 11th spots.
With 485,000 followers, the account is renowned for profiling the most captivating literary sanctuaries from around the world.
The social media account’s following has ballooned over the past year, mirroring a global trend of people embracing ‘analog’ pastimes such as vinyl records, film photography, notebooks, jigsaw puzzles and board games and books - with 2.2. billion sold globally (2023) and 70.9m books sold in Australia in 2022, up 7.2% from the previous year.
In the category of libraries, Ireland's Trinity College Library emerged as the crowned jewel, securing the top position with a remarkable 21.3% of votes.
The French National Assembly Library (France) and The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading (Portugal) followed closely behind, with 12.4% and 10.7% of votes, respectively. It is a testament to the enduring love for literature and learning that transcends borders and cultures.
Vincent Phan, the Melbourne based curator of @1000libraries, expressed his enthusiasm for the winners.
"Trinity College Library, with its awe-inspiring Long Room housing over 200,000 of the world's rarest books, has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1592.
"The library's long oak bookcases, reaching for the sky, instil a sense of wonder and reverence, making it a pilgrimage site for any book lover. It is not only a treasure trove of knowledge but also an architectural marvel that captures the essence of academia and scholarship.
“It’s interesting to note while eBook sales are down 21% since their peak in 2013, physical book sales have soared. Readers love the tactile feel of books, the smell, the simplicity (no need for constant charging), and the aesthetics – they look beautiful on a bookshelf! And our libraries deliver these attributes in spades.
"In Australia alone, books bounced back with sales increasing by 7.2% last year, selling 70.9 million books (2023).
"Celebrity book clubs like those belonging to Oprah and Reese Witherspoon have also been highly influential."
In a notable achievement, the State Library Victoria, claimed 12th position among the world's best libraries.
Over the past year the library has witnessed the highest annual visitation number in its 167-year history with 2,115,000 visitors, a 2.1% increase from 2016-17, when the library was last in full operation.
What’s more, 79% of library goers were younger than 35 years old (2023).
Visitors to the library can see priceless items from Victoria’s history such as Ned Kelly’s armour and Jerilderie Letter, take part in a storytelling workshop or activities for young people, gain business advice for your startup, view a 4000-year-old clay tablet showing one of the world’s earliest forms of writing and much more.
Meanwhile, Ampersand Café and Bookstore, located in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, secured the 11th spot in the top 15 bookstores globally. This cozy and vibrant bookstore has captured the hearts of many, becoming a cherished destination for bookworms and café lovers alike.
Vincent (Vinny) Phan has always been passionate about books. Born and raised in Paris, he found solace and inspiration in the city's rich culture, architecture, and literary lifestyle.
His love for books and libraries led him to create a side hustle that became a viral sensation @1000libraries, which has grown into the largest online community of book lovers in the world, with half a million followers.
His other job is co-founder of BookSmart, which innovates traditional book clubs by making them digital-age-friendly and infusing them into workplaces.
He will now use his @1000libraries community to realise a lifelong passion of his: a coffee table book celebrating the world's best libraries and bookstores.
The coffee table book, a guided literary expedition through more than 100 remarkable literary landmarks and hidden gems, will take readers on an unforgettable journey around the globe. From magnificent libraries and bookstores to book cafes, book markets, and even book hotels, the book promises to be an immersive print experience that will enchant and inspire book lovers.
Vinny and his team are working with world-class designers, illustrators, and book printers to create a collectors limited run that will be both exquisite and affordable, keeping the project community-focused and accessible to all book lovers.
Top 15 Libraries
Trinity College Library | Ireland | 21.3%
French National Assembly Library | France | 12.4%
The Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading | Portugal | 10.7%
The Municipal Law Library of Munich | Germany | 10.4%
Admont Abbey Library | Austria | 9.6%
Tianjin Binhai Library | China | 8.9%
Wiblingen Monastery Library | Germany | 5.1%
Nakajima Library | Japan | 3.5%
French National Library | France | 3.4%
Morgan Library | USA | 3.2%
Austrian National Library | Austria | 3%
State Library Victoria (Australia) | Australia | 2.6%
Cuypers Library | Netherlands | 2.4%
Jose Vasconcelos Library | Mexico | 1.8%
Library of Alexandria | Egypt | 1.6%
Top 15 Bookstores
Livraria Lello | Portugal | 20.5%
Shakespeare & Co | France | 14.7%
Dujiangyuan Zhongshuge | China | 8.3%
El Ateneo Grand Splendid | Argentina | 7.2%
Cartusesti Carusel | Romania | 7%
Boekhandel Dominicanen | Netherlands | 6.6%
Word on The Water | UK | 6.1%
Atlantis Books | Greece | 5.3%
Albertine Books | USA | 5%
Librairie Jousseaume | France | 4.5%
Ampersand Café and Bookstore | Australia | 4%
The Last Bookstore | USA | 3.6%
Daunt Books | UK | 3.4%
Minoa Bookstore | Greece | 2.3%
Barter Books | UK | 1.5%