With a strong coffee house culture, Vienna is a great place to settle down for the long haul with a good book. Here’s a roundup of the best indie bookstores in the city where you can pick up a holiday read.
Shakespeare & Company
As the name suggests, this bookstore stocks English language books exclusively. There is a colourful and broad collection of fiction and nonfiction to browse, with many scintillating subjects to sink your teeth into, from philosophy to photography. Centrally located on Sterngasse – that is appropriately one of the oldest areas of Vienna – the exterior has an old-world feel and inside you’ll find that, pleasingly, books are stacked high. As well as being an excellent bookshop, Shakespeare & Company also host various events throughout the year, including readings and lectures from visiting authors.
Located on Burggasse in the hip 7th district, this intimate shop has a modest English language section that includes various fiction and nonfiction. The atmosphere is casual and cosy and the friendly owners are on hand to offer you their personal recommendations. Readings and events (mostly in German) are held in the store throughout the year and their website has an online portal so you can order books online and pick them up the following day.
Buchhandlung Orlando pride themselves on providing their visitors with a comprehensive collection of literature – employing a cooperative attitude when it comes to their stockists by allowing their customers to recommend their favourite novels. There is the chance to ‘test read’ their books, with the store rewarding participants with a free copy and displaying their review for all to see. ‘Orlando Culture in the Cellar’ beneath the shop is used to host events and readings, allowing book lovers to network.
Bookstore Anna Jeller
You may feel enticed to linger for longer than expected in this cosy shop, which doubles up as both a bookstore and coffee house. The owner, Anna, who opened up the shop on the Margaretenstrasse in 1985, is a passionate enthusiast of literature, always happy to give you her personal recommendations or advice on gifts. The shelves contain generous collections of fiction and non-fiction, with a particular focus on contemporary Austrian literature and a great selection of cookery books.
Up to date with the latest cultural book releases, Cafe Phil is multifaceted: part café, part second-hand furniture store and part artsy book and record shop. Autobiographies and pop psychology books are included among their wide-ranging collection – and, provided you return the copy in pristine condition – you can try-before-you-buy, and have some quiet time with a book over a coffee or beer, depending on the time of the day.
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