3 Charming Bookshops To Visit in Berlin
03 February 2018
There is something about bookshops. Not the big commercial numbers but the appealing hole in the wall type. Somewhere that you could imagine finding a secret love note in a leather bound copy of The Count of Monte Cristo. Somewhere they have sofas for you to curl up whilst you read. Somewhere they may call you when a book comes in that they think you’ll like.
With the dawn of computer screens and e-readers, one could be forgiven for thinking bookshops beyond the internet are dying out. Surely not the easiest of times but they have a loyal following of people like me, and hopefully you, that err on the side of charm rather than on the side of practicality. I have picked out my three favourite Berlin Bookshops for your bibliophile pleasure.
Shakespeare & Sons
Where: Raumerstrasse. 33, Prenzlauer Berg & Warschauer Strasse. 74, Friedrichshain
Shakespeare & Sons’ became so popular the couple who opened the original store, Roman and Laurel, decided to open another in the neighbouring district. They offer new and used books, including a sizeable selection of French books, Philosophy and Eastern European literature in English.
As if books were not enough, they have lots of comfy seats and a small cafe selling the likes of sexy vegan chocolate cheesecake and (drum roll please) Bagels. Berlin up until the last couple of years has been a bagel-free zone. I have even seen threads on-line of people begging for the answer as to where they can find bagels. The answer is now Shakespeare & Sons. Books and Bagels, need I say more, literally no reason to leave!
Where: Wörther Strasse. 27, Prenzlauer Berg
St.Georges was the first English bookshop I frequented when I first moved to Berlin. They have a collection of around 30,000 books, with about 80% those being second hand. When you have read your books and as long as they don’t have 5 copies of it already, and its not some trashy beach-novel then they buy the books for a euro or two. Which is a pretty cool way to keep your library at home rotating.
They have an extensive rare and out of print collection. As well as the translated versions of Thomas Mann, Tucholsky and Fallada. They host a lot of book launches and readings so be sure to check out their website (or give them a ring) to see if there is anything coming up whilst you are in town.
Marga Schöller Bücherstube
Where: Knesebeckstrasse. 33, Charlottenburg
This bookshop has been in operation for nearly a century, which is no easy feat in a city with Berlin’s history. It was opened in 1929 by Frau Schöller, specialising in European literature.
As the Nazi’s came in to power, Schöller managed to keep the shop open, despite refusing to sell Nazi works. In fact quite incredibly she sold books banned by the Nazi’s, hiding them deep down in the cellar.
Post war the Bücherstube became the first shop in the city to receive a license to sell English books and thus attracted the glitterati of the literati including Mann and Hesse. Marga passed away in 1978 and it is now her son who runs the shop. They still have a cracking English section, although focus more today on German Literature.