Opened since 1906, the history of Livraria Lello is above all a story of daring, that starts in the 19th century, when the brilliant French bookseller Chardron bet on the portuguese market when most of the population was still illiterate.
Daring, as well, with the opening of a remarkable neoclassical building that, in 1906, stood out in the surrounding landscape, and that, today, is recognized as Monument of Public Interest by the General-Directorate of Cultural Heritage, being in the final phase for the reclassification as National Monument. The same daring rescued by the founding family of Lionesa Group, in 2015, when they aquired the majority of the capital and gave a second life to Livraria Lello.
Firstly, with the implementation of the innovative literary voucher system, which regulated entries in one of the most visited Bookshops in the world, but, above all, rescued the viability of the bookselling business. This initiative allowed carrying out extensive restoration and conservation work, investing in a comprehensive cultural program and for free, investing again in publishing, investing in the acquisition of rare, old and first edition books and becoming the largest exporter of national literature.
With the mission to reach new audiences and put everyone to read, Livraria Lello had actions as relevant as the launch of a Public Acquisition Offer of fundamental literary works - Lusíadas, Gazeta da Restauração and Harry Potter and the Philosophal Stone -, started, during the pandemic, of the world’s first bookstore drive-thru offering more than 10 000 books, and made partnerships with relevant brands such as Time, Pantone, Zara or Cristie’s.
Investment in Culture is priority for Livraria Lello: from the acquisition of the oldest theater in the city, Teatro Sá da Bandeira, to the building next to the bookshop, where its offices now operate, and where a new cultural space will be born with the signature of the award-winning architect Álvaro Siza, to the 42 unique love letters from Bob Dylan acquired in auction for half a million euros.
Since 2015, as its orgins, Livraria Lello dreams big, and achieves it in the same extent. The purpose is always the same: to value the Book, to contribute to a more cultured world, with more readers and more books, and therefore a happier world.