Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Bookstore of my dreams
The bookstore landscape in Berlin has changed a lot over the past decade, with a number of smaller local shops closing unless they cater to a specific neighborhood clientele, most often children. By far the city's most happening bookstore is the massive Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus (culture department store) on Friedrichstraße just a block from the S-bahn/U-bahn station. Dussmann is huge (75,000 sq. ft. according to its website) and stays open delightfully late—10 a.m. to midnight every day but Sunday. This massive bookstore sports remainder tables, CDs, foreign-language books, gift trinkets, and all the chain-y charm of a Barnes & Noble. What it doesn't have is a particularly good selection of literary books. If what you want is poetry, fiction beyond the mainstream, and a good selection of books on philosophy, sociology and other "academic" fields, the best place to go is clearly the Autorenbuchhandlung at Carmerstraße 10 just off Savignyplatz. They have the largest selection of poetry I've seen anywhere in Berlin—shelves and shelves of it—and the staff is well-read and happy to chat books with you.