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With a considerable population of expats inhabiting the city, along with students studying in other languages, Istanbul has made a clear effort to provide books in other languages apart from Turkish. Aside from the mega bookstore D&R, which carries a large selection of English language books, the independent bookstores are preferred because of their down-to-earth vibe and more intellectually inclined selection. Check out our favorite bookstores.
When Robinson Crusoe’s original store on İstiklal Caddesi was forced to shut down due to new development, every dedicated bookworm was up in arms. Good thing that Salt Galata allowed the bookstore to move into the first floor of its building, with a smaller collection of books in Turkish, English, and French. Its second store in Galatasaray has a larger collection of books whose subject range includes everything from fine arts to economics, children’s books to medicine. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, the staff will be glad to order it for you.
📍Yeni Çarşı Caddesi No.34 Tophane, +90 212 245 54 39
📍Salt Galata, Arap Cami Mahallesi, Bankalar Caddesi No.11 Karaköy, +90 212 334 22 00
An independent bookstore through and through, Minoa is one of those places where you can buy a new book and then sit down with a coffee to read. With a good selection, including English language books, you’ll find attractive coffee table books as well as Penguin Classics. Make sure to wander downstairs, where more browsing is definitely encouraged, including a great section for graphic novel enthusiasts.
📍Vişnezade Mahallesi, Süleyman Seba Caddesi No.52/A Beşiktaş, +90 212 236 9452
One of the Bebek neighborhood’s most popular bookstores, there’s a very nostalgic Istanbul feel to this bookstore, that has been around for more than 40 years. Apart from the excellent selection of books that focus on Istanbul, Turkish cuisine, the Ottoman era, and Anatolian archaeology, you’ll also find things like Ottoman calligraphy and İznik ceramics for sale. If you’re looking for a novel in English or German, Envai is also a great place to look.
📍Cevdetpaşa Caddesi No.57/B Bebek, +90 212 358 00 47
Pedagogic aspirations are the main focus at this bookstore, and publisher of history and archaeology books. A major importer of American and British publications, Homer Kitabevi is the perfect place to dive into Turkish history from the deep end, while books on philosophy and photography, as well as children’s books, are also available.
📍Yeni Çarşı Caddesi No.12/A Galatasaray, +90 212 249 59 02
Opened in 1991, Pandora quickly became a prime location for book lovers looking for both Turkish and English titles. You’ll find bestsellers and paperbacks, as well as excellent academic books such as GRE (Graduate Record Examination) manuals, to books on specific cultural studies. There is, of course, a very large section dedicated to titles revolving around Turkish history and culture. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, make sure to ask the staff to order it for you.
📍Büyükparmakkapı Sokak No.3 İstiklal, +90 212 243 35 03