When looking for the biggest bookstore in the world, one literally can’t miss it; it’s practically written in big, bold letters at the side of the building. There is a shop situated at Toronto, Ontario in Canada that boasts of being the world’s biggest bookstore; so much so that the claim had been made into its actual name.
The World’s Biggest Bookstore opened in 1980, founded by Jack and Carl Cole, formerly the owners of the bookstore Coles. The actual building used for the establishment was a converted bowling alley, and at the time of its opening, it was indeed the largest bookstore in operation. In fact, the store is known for housing more than 20 km of bookshelves. Since then, however, there had been a number of other bookstores that are perhaps much more qualified for the title of world’s largest. Nonetheless, the World’s Biggest Bookstore continues to go by that name, basing it on the definition of “biggest” as carrying the most number of book titles.
Currently, the title of world’s biggest bookstore in terms of floor space has been officially given by the Guinness Book of World Records to a Barnes & Noble branch located on 105 Fifth Avenue at18th Street in New York. This particular store occupies 14,330 square meters (154,250 square feet) and contains 20.7 kilometers (12.87 miles) of bookshelves. Meanwhile, the Barnes & Noble chain itself is actually the biggest book retailer in the US, operating 717 outlets across all 50 states, and 637 college bookstores serving almost 4,000,000 students and 250,000 faculty members all over the nation. Apart from being simply bookstores, many of their outlets also have cafes that serve Starbucks Coffee, and they also sell a diverse range of items such as newspapers, magazines, graphic novels, as well as music, games and DVDs.
Another New York-based book shop, Strand Bookstore, is regarded as the world’s biggest bookstore in terms of shelf space. Located in the East Village, it boasts of having “18 miles of books.” Indeed, this establishment is famous for having the city’s biggest collection of rare books, and the building itself takes up 55,000 sq ft. However, Strand Bookstore faces competition from the Portland, Oregon-based bookstore chain Powell’s Books. In particular, the chain’s main headquarters, Powell’s City of Books, covers a whole city block. Proclaiming itself the world’s largest independent new-and-used bookstore, its retail floor space takes up more than 68,000 sq ft (6,300 sq m), which is approximately 1.6 acres.