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Berlin is, for so many people, the literary capital of mainland Europe. So many of Earth’s greatest writers, poets, and philosophers have come out of Germany or etched their name into the history books through the German language: Karl Marx, Franz Kafka, Friedrich Nietzsche, Herman Hesse, Hans Fallada, the Brothers Grimm, Bertolt Brecht; I really could go on. And so, isn’t it only fitting that Berlin is home to not only the great legacy of European thinkers and authors but also some of the greatest bookshops in Europe? Beautiful houses of knowledge that celebrate these writers, and thousands more from the world over. When you visit, you’ll find yourself delightfully lost in one Berlin bookshop after another.
Here are five fantastic independent bookshops you must visit when you come to, and fall in love with, the great literary city of Berlin!
This little bookshop looks all fresh and neat and green; a perfectly organized treat for the eyes. The selection is deliberate, thought-out, and glossy, and the titles are arranged so aesthetically as to please all of our Instagram-corrupted souls.
There is a good selection of books on Berlin – not so many actual guidebooks, but many lesser-known books, from the memoirs of 1920’s bohemians to the testament of a guy who worked as a bouncer in the wild nightclubs of the ‘90. For a great range of books on Berlin, look no further. And isn’t that exactly what we all have the biggest urge to do when we’re in a place as exciting and dynamic as Berlin? Surrounded by so much wonder, you’ll only want to learn more about it in your downtime, so come get that at Buchbox.
Address: Kollwitzstraße 83, 10435
Fräulein Schneefeld & Herr Hund
This Berlin bookshop is an irresistible pairing of bookshop and chocolaterie. The books on offer are mostly literary fiction, historical non-fiction, classics reprints and, of course for a place that sells chocolate, hardback cookery. Strewn among the tomes are the ornately packaged chocolate bars and brown paper cachets of cacao powder. It’s a delightful, original, and slightly unusual blend that works perfectly. And the selection of books on offer is perfect for us hipsters who flock to Berlin for the best of its culture and literature.
Address: Prenzlauer Allee 23, 10405
Saint Georges English Bookshop
This is an explosion of books, to say the very least. Without the obvious demarcations of genre and theme, it felt for a few minutes as if I went blind – or, at least, really tipsy. That said, there is a huge selection of English-speaking books, many of them arranged by country. So, if you look at a shelf dedicated, say, to India, you would find travel writing, imperial biographies, and Indian-set fiction.
However confusing this sort of organization might be, I love it irrationally – both here and in the London-based Daunt Books. It’s also the kind of organization that should be done more in bookshops across the world. After all, what easier way is there to encourage people to read translated literature or culture and travel books from all over the world. Less of a focus on genre and more on cultural diversity is what the literary world needs more than anything. So, well done to Saint Georges!
Address: Wörther Str. 27, 10405
Antiquariat die Geisterschmiede
Love being lost in a good book? Try getting lost in a labyrinth of them. The walls inside of this shop by composed of books thickly stuck together in a sort of bookish Tetris. Removing one paperback is something you would do very. carefully. This is a sort of bookshop where, in movies, one would expect to find an age-forgotten manuscript or an artefact with sinister history – or, at least, a local nerd of a love interest (I found a historical novel about a girl oracle in the of the Ottoman Empire. It lay near a graphic novel biography of the last dancer of the Ziegfeld Follies).
Address: Prenzlauer Allee 198, 10405
Georg Büchner Buchladen
This Berlin bookshop has a very similar name to Saint Georges – moreover, they are even located on the same street. However, unlike its further-located brother, Georg Buchner is small, sleek, and unmistakably German (Although there is one little bookcase with popular fiction in English). There is a nice selection of books on Berlin, which is always welcome in any Berlin bookshop, and helps to reinforce just how culturally and historically rich this incredible city really is. This is, in many ways, the dream little bookshop, tucked away and so inoffensive, yet teeming with wonderful surprises and overflowing with atmosphere.
Address: Wörther Str. 18, 10405
If you enjoyed this post on Berlin bookshops, check out some of the best independent bookshops of Britain: