Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Livraria Lello e Irmão is too popular for its own good. The moment we were there, late morning on a Thursday, was crazy with an endless stream of people coming in and out, who did nothing but stop to take pictures, climb up and down the winding staircase and then leave. I can only imagine the arena-like crowds that happen on weekends – I would have to have the patience of Job if I ever worked there. One curious thing is whether the rush of people going in translates to sales at all. Keeping an eye at the cashier while I was there, I found it dubious that it does. Matter of fact, the sheer number of people coming in and out, for such a small space, would likely turn anyone off from buying a book, especially if they want to enjoy it over a cup of coffee (yes, the small space does include a coffee corner on the second floor). Given that bookstores are closing left and right, it’s a good thing the Livraria has its age as insurance and, luckily for the traditionalists, will most likely be around for a while.


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