The Best Independent Bookstores in St Petersburg

 © ninocare/ Pixabay
© ninocare/ Pixabay
Photo of Anastasiia Ilina
22 September 2017

Finding your next favourite book is always a challenge. And St Petersburg makes the challenge even harder with so many different bookshops to choose from! St Petersburg locals are keen on their language and literature, and the city is not short of literary events and bookshops that host them. Here are some of the best bookshops in the city and where to find them. Many are open from morning till late, so book-hunting can be a relaxing pastime any time of the day.

Dom Knigi

Dom Knigi is a well-known Russian bookstore for its impressive selection of literature from all genres, giving it the name ‘House of Books’. The store is housed in an Art Nouveau building that once belonged to the Singer Manufacturing Company. Two floors of the building are occupied with all sorts of literature. On the top floor, there is a café with a spectacular view onto Nevsky Avenue. Open Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 to 24:00.

Poryadok Slov

The Poryadok Slov book shop, translated as ‘Word Order’, is one of the major independent bookstores in the city. You’ll find a large selection of books here, often stacked on top of each other in the middle of the hall. The shop also serves as an event spot for meetings with writers, journalists, philosophers and other members of the St Petersburg literati. Open: Monday to Saturday 11:00-22:00, Sunday 12:00-22:00

Books and Coffee

It’s hard to know whether visitors come here for the excellent coffee or for the brilliant range of books. Both work very well to make up a convenient spot to pick a book and read it on the spot. There’s also a whole range of events to watch out for, happening on a regular basis. Maybe not the best option for a quiet read, but definitely a good place to mix with art and book lovers. Open: Monday to Sunday 11:00-23:00

Knizhnaya Lavka Pisateley

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This is one of the oldest bookshops in Saint Petersburg, and in the whole of Russia. The bookshop is protected by the government, and has kept the same name since it was founded in the 1930s. The shop also doesn’t pay rent for the space it occupies, which makes its book prices significantly cheaper than elsewhere. Through history, famous poets have held poetic readings here and many continue to do so today. Open Monday to Sunday 11:00-23:00.

The Twenty-Eighth

The Twenty-Eigth is one of the few bookstores in St. Petersburg that specialises in selling comic books. The choice of reads are available in both Russian and English, some of which are exclusive specials. In case you are hunting for a particular one, it is also possible to reserve a pre-paid copy and pick it up freshly printed. Open Monday to Sunday 12:00-20:00.

Obvodniy Channel Embankment 60, St. Petersburg, Russia, +7 981 702 0228

Fahrenheit 451

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Fahrenheit 451 is a slightly chaotic bookstore with no alphabetical arrangements, or any order for that matter, on the shelves. Although the majority of books in the shop are new publications, there are also many old books, sourced from different places. On top of that, shelves are also dedicated to book-swapping, where you can donate old reads and pick up a book for free. The bookshop also serves coffee, and occasionally hosts lectures and meet-ups with writers. Open Monday to Sunday 12:00-22:00.

Vse Svobodni

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The slightly messy bookstore gave up tidiness for the sake of having as much space available for the books as possible. Even the chimney is put to use and is stacked with piles of books. Scavenging through, you can find just about any type of book from lesser-known works to contemporary bestsellers. This shop is also a good call when hunting for non-fiction. Open Monday to Sunday 12:00-22:00.

Podpisnie Izdania

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The collection of books here is fairly similar to any chain store, but this bookshop also has an impressive section filled with children’s literature. On the first floor of the building there is a special reading hall with a wide selection of specialist magazines, many of which are hard to find in local kiosks. Why not pick one out and enjoy it with a cup of tea too? Open Monday to Sunday 10:00-21:00.