The Bookstores of Vienna

Vienna…. I love this city too. You would think that I probably love every European city…It is true to some extend but there are some that you would really love to go back to. Vienna is one of them. Whether it’s art, culture or food, Vienna will charm you away!! Today I am taking you for a virtual tour to see some of the bookstores I visited in Vienna. Let’s start!
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 Vienna 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


 

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The Bookstores of Vienna Pic Credits: Shakespeare & Company
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The Bookstores of Vienna: My buy!

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.

Schulerstraße 1-3

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The Bookstores of Vienna: Another Frick in the wall (Sorry!)

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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

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The Bookstores of Vienna: Not a great picture, but you get the idea

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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

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The Bookstores of Vienna: We need more English books here!

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Overall, I expected a more international vibe from Vienna. Maybe I didn’t go to the right stores and still have a lot left to explore but these were my short findings. There are several second hand bookstores in the city with great deals and if you know German and 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.


 

21 thoughts on “The Bookstores of Vienna

  1. How very interesting that there are so many bookstores in one city. I especially like the look of the Shakespeare & Company one as it has such an old world look and brings back some great memories of yesteryear for me. How easily one can lose hours in a great bookstore. Now days, it tends to be more my library for me. Books!! reading!! as vital as breathing.

  2. It’s lovely to see Vienna again, and especially Shakespeare & Co. I spent many hours in there and bought all my Robbinses and Vonneguts. I remember more English bookshops there at the time (until 1996, haven’t returned since) but don’t remember any details. The ones you found, Leporello, Frick and Tyrolia, don’t ring any bells, but I wasn’t buying German books. I loved the area around Shakespeare & Co. as well. Great memories.

    1. Trip down memory lane for you….. I’d love to go to this bookshop again. I couldn’t find more English stores in central Vienna. I am pretty sure there are in the Univ area though

  3. I always have to check out the bookstores in every city I visit. As much as I hate to admit it I do judge them a little based on their architecture etc. Thanks for sharing these. I can’t wait to visit Shakespeare & Co. this summer when I am in Vienna.

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