Now read this

    Munich Readery bookstore
    © Franz Marc Frei
    Von Lois Hoyal

    Expats and Germans alike are drawn to reading books in English. Why? For those expatim Ausland lebende Personexpats who are from the English-speaking world, of course, it’s easier to read books in their native tongue. For Germans, it’s an absorbing way to to get to grips with sth. (ifml.)etw. in den Griff bekommen, mit etw. klarkommenget to grips with the idiosyncrasyEigenart, Besonderheitidiosyncrasies of the English language. For those wondering where to buy the relevant books in Germany, here are some top English-language bookshops: two in Munich and three in Berlin.


    The Munich Readery

    With some 40,000 second-hand books in stockvorrätigin stock, The Munich Readery to billhier: anpreisenbills itself as the largest second-hand English-language bookshop in Germany.

    “We specialize in variety,” jokes manager John Browner. “One of the reasons we’ve been so successful is that people are surprised at the selection we have.”

    The store’s biggest seller is contemporary fiction, followed by thrillers and children’s books. “German parents are often anxiousdarauf bedachtanxious that their child learns English,” says Browner. In about 80 per cent of cases, the shop’s books are cheaper than new ones sold by the online retailerHändler(in)retailer Amazon. That is how the store continues to to attractanziehen, anlockenattract strong customer support. besidesaußerdemBesides, by now, “younger people in particular think e-books are boring and bookstores are interesting”, says Browner, who opened the shop in Munich’s Maxvorstadt neighbourhood in 2006.

    German parents are often anxious that their child learns English

    “I owned used bookshops in America and had often visited Munich,” Browner says. “I noticed that my German friends had a couple of shelves of English books in their home, so it was always in the back of my mind that there was a market here that people didn’t really understand.”

    The market exists mainly among German and other non-native speakers of English, he says. Normally, expats from the English-speaking world have other ways of to acquireerwerbenacquiring books, such as buying them during trips back to their home country or asking friends to bring them when they visit.

    The Munich Readery also offers a programme of readings and writing workshops. ultimatelyletztendlichUltimately, it sees itself as a community centre for people interested in English, whether it’s their first language or not.

    Browner loves his work. “What is most fun for me — and what is different from selling books in America — is that people ask me much more often to recommend books to them. Germans come in and say they want to improve their English and ask me what they should read. It’s fun because, if you’re a professional bookseller, what you want to do is find the right book for that person.”

    The Munich Readery
    Augustenstr. 104, 80798 Munich



    Words’ Worth Booksellers

    to set uperöffnen, gründenSet up in 1985, Words’ Worth has become an institution in Munich’s university district. In 2006, the original shop closed and moved its holdingsBeständeholdings down the road to its secondary, more “academic” shop and current premisesRäumlichkeitenpremises — close to Munich University’s Department of English and American Studies. At its current address, Words’ Worth to stock sth.etw. führen, vorrätig habenstocks a large range of contemporary literature, English classics, thrillers, children’s books and humanities as well as non-fiction titles.

    “We’re an independent bookstore so we have the advantage of stocking books that a big chain wouldn’t, as the books would be sitting on the shelves for too long,” says Barbara Goldschmit, who to runführen, leitenruns the shop together with Günther Knust and Claus Melchior. All three studied at Munich University and share a passion for books.

    For a while, we had a difficult time because people were buying books online. Now, people realize that they have to support small, independent shops

    Students are important customers for the store, but Germans who need English for their work or who simply want to brush up their language skills regularly buy books here, too. The expat community also comes in to buy books and stock up on DVDs and gift itemArtikelitems, such as tea, marmalade and other traditional English things. Popular choices include printed mugBecher, Tassemugs, calendars, organic soaps and puddings, says Goldschmit.

    “Young people in particular realize that we run a cool shop here, and they also like what they see in terms of gift items. For a while, we had a difficult time because people were buying books online. Now, it’s getting better again. People realize that they have to support small, independent shops.”

    Words’ Worth Booksellers
    Schellingstr. 3, 80799 Munich



    Saint George’s Bookshop

    Paul Gurner set up this new and second-hand English-language bookshop in 2003 with his twin brother, Daniel. “The area of Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg, where we’re located was ripereifripe for a bookstore even then, so we picked a spot and got on with it,” he says.

    The shop stocks around 25,000 books. Its strengths lie in translations, poetry and philosophy, although its speciality is simply the English language.

    Events in the store range from poetry readings to music. “We take the shop seriously and put the relevant effort in. That it’s a meeting point for expats is a positive by-product, which is always nice to see.”

    In view of the shop’s success, the brothers aim to open a second English-language bookstore, in the Schöneberg area of the city. At twice the size, the new store will have at least 40,000 titles. The stock will be similar to that of the original shop, namelynämlich, und zwarnamely with a hand-picked, second-hand selection refreshed every month with more than a thousand books, complementedergänztcomplemented by 10–20 per cent of new books priced to compete with Amazon. The new store will also have the capacity to organize larger events, seating more than 100 people.

    Saint George’s Bookshop
    Wörther Str. 27, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg


    Do you read me? bookstore
    Do you read me?! in Berlin


    Do you to readlesen; hier: verstehenread me?!

    The humorous name of this shop has a double meaning. Apart from the obvious one, it also contains a reference to what radio operators would ask if they wanted to know whether the person at the other end could hear what they were saying. Do you read me?! offers a wide range of books and international magazines, 90 per cent of which are in English.

    Mark is a graphic designer, and I am a bookseller. Our different backgrounds come together and work perfectly for the shop

    The focus is on art, interiorInneneinrichtung, Innenausstattunginteriors, photography, design and anything interesting for the creative industry, says owner Jessica Reitz. Reitz set up the shop in 2008 with co-owner Mark Kiessling. “Mark is a graphic designer, and I am a bookseller. Our different backgrounds come together and work perfectly for the shop.”

    Their aim was to fill a gap in the market. “We were interested in these types of magazines and couldn’t find them in Germany, so we were picking them up in places like London and Paris,” Reitz says.

    “We thought maybe there are more people like us out there.” The shop continues to attract customers by offering “something that they really like”.

    So far, it hasn’t been threatened by the dawnDämmerung; hier: Beginndawn of the digital age and e-books, says Reitz. “For the type of books and magazines we sell, digital isn’t a problem, because long sections of text and photos aren’t the same online.”

    Do you read me?!
    Auguststr. 28, 10117 Berlin-Mitte



    Marga Schoeller Bücherstube

    Situated in Berlin-Charlottenburg, this bookshop stocks a mixture of German- and English-language books, the latterletztgenanntlatter taking up around a third of the shop. The selection consists mostly of literature, with a large arraySpektrum; hier: Angebotarray of non-fiction volumeBuch, Bandvolumes, including books on politics, philosophy, history, religion and language learning.

    The shop was founded by Marga Schoeller around 1930. Directly after the Second World War, she became one of the first people in Berlin to to obtainerhaltenobtain the rights to sell English-language books. Ever since, English-language publications have been a major focus.

    “It is the history of the shop that makes it special, as well as the atmosphere and the selection of books we have on offer,” says Marlene Schmidt, who works at the store. “While other bookshops in Berlin have a big selection of English-language books, they are more mainstream, whereas we have a lot of academic books.”

    Customers include tourists, expats and local residentOrtsansässige(r)local residents. The regular customers the shop attracts aren’t the types of people who would change to reading e-books, says Schmidt. And while they hunt for books online, they still consciouslybewusstconsciously choose to buy them in the store instead.

    Marga Schoeller Bücherstube
    Knesebeckstr. 33, 10623 Berlin-Charlottenburg