Are you ready for a virtual tour to see some of the bookstores I visited in Vienna??
Shakespeare & Company: If you are an English speaker in Vienna, chances are you will feel a little lost in the city. There aren’t a lot of stores selling good English books and the ones that sell, don’t have a great collection. But Shakespeare & Company turned out to be the only English book store in the city with an amazing collection! There are books covering each inch of the store which makes it therapeutic. Located in a quiet alley that also turns out to be the oldest and most prettiest corners of Vienna, the bookstore contains hundreds of translations and unknown authors. The service was super friendly and I was suggested to read Elena Ferrante by the owner. I enquired whether the bookshop is in any way related to the famous Shakespeare and Company of Paris, when the man at the counter smiled and politely said no. I could guess that he got that question a lot!
Sterngasse 2, Vienna
Frick International: A large and modern bookstore with a decent English books collection, Frick is a type of store where no one really cares if you buy anything or not. Frick is a popular name in Vienna and you will see many stores by the name of Frick or Frick International or Frick Bestsellers. The one I visited had a stationery counter on the first floor (that I ignored because of my inner voice) and a room full of English books at the far end of the floor. It seemed as if it was almost forgotten! But there were catchy titles and they turned out to be better than usual. I picked up a copy of 84, Charing Cross Road which surprisingly I didn’t own.
Graben 27, Vienna
Leporello: Almost sounds Italian to me but it is not. Leporello is an independent bookstore with a friendly service located behind the imposing St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Although located in one of the busiest areas, it is strangely quiet inside. The store however has a sad little English collection (as of Sept. 2016) There wasn’t much to browse because my guess is that they don’t sell as many English books because of low demand. Having said that, I still enjoyed the look and feel of the store and a friendly smile always helps.
Singerstr 6, Vienna
Tyrolia Buch: If you want to go and stare at books, go here! Seriously I am not kidding. Just next to the metro station, Tyrolia is another chain in the country. They have tons of books in German and if you are like me, fascinated by the same books read in English and comparing their covers in other languages, this store should be fun. That being said, Tyrolia’s English collection was a sorry state with just a rack.
Stephansplatz 5, Vienna
Overall, I expected a more international vibe from Vienna. Maybe I didn’t go to the right stores and I might have a lot left to explore but these are my short findings. There are several second hand bookstores in the city with great deals and if you know German and you are a student looking for academic books, you should see Manz bookstore on Kohlmarkt. I went there looking for fiction and came back empty handed.