Bookshops in Paris – Resilience and adaptation – Evolution 2003 - 2014

Bookshops in Paris – Resilience and adaptation – Evolution 2003 - 2014
This note shows how Parisian bookshops have evolved between 2003 - 2014. The work is based mainly on the BDCom, the Apur database, which gathers and regularly updates information on businesses making commercial use of ground floor premises in Paris.
In 2014, there were 756 bookshops in Paris, 239 of which were in the Latin Quarter (5th and 6th districts, which have become home to the highest national concentration of bookshops and publishing houses since the 16th century). Over half the bookshops in Paris are so-called “independent” (at least 50% of their retail space or sales revenue is attributable to book sales alone) and very often specialise in, for example, travel, youth, life skills, religion, academic books…
The number of bookshops in Paris has been going down since 2003 (-22%) but this trend has slowed up markedly since 2007, following interventions by the City of Paris (via the Society for mixed economies and commercial activities serving the territories -Semaest-) in support of the Latin Quarter bookshops on the one hand, and on the other, as a result of the gradual organisation of a network of associations (Libr’est, Paris Librairies, Canal BD). Faced with the competition of the internet and on-line sales sites, Parisian book shops seem to have put up a stronger fight than their European counterparts, in particular by developing their presence on on-line sales platforms (,,,  Above all, Parisian bookshops have understood the strategic role that they could play in their districts by livening up urban life, encouraging social contact and promoting culture. In 2014, an increasing number organised meetings, discussions, book signings and readings in addition to their purely commercial functions.  Some of them are even choosing to diversify, offering a mix of book shop + coffee shop, art gallery or games library…On June 3rd 2016, over a hundred shops will take part in the Pari des libraires-Book Sellers’ Gamble- an event organised by the Paris Librairies association and the City of Paris in partnership with the Paris City Transport Authority (RATP).


Documents to download

  • Note n°106 – Bookshops in Paris – Resilience and adaptation – Evolution 2003 - 2014

    Format : pdf, 5.17 MB