Berlin revels in its brainy reputation. A center of intellectual discussion. A place for debate. A literary capital.
So it makes sense that the city is full of bookshops. Berlin has quirky little shops that offer rare editions and sleek modern stores with top-tier readings. While most bookstores cater to a German clientele, this metropolis is also accustomed to satisfying the needs of an international crowd. Most have a selection of foreign-language books from English to French to Spanish to Turkish. Many shops also offer the option of ordering specialty books.
But for a wider selection of new and used books, there is an even better option. Here is an extensive list of the best English-language bookstores in Berlin.
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Address: Riemannstraße 7, 10961 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
The community at Another Country is as far removed from the reputation of cold Berliners as could be. The eclectic store and its owner, British expat Sophie Raphaeline, have an almost cult following. People gather here for everything from concerts to quiz nights.
Along with shelves of English-language books, the shop is unique in its borrowing system. This allows readers to buy a book and then return it when they are done for a €1.50 reading fee. Genius! Don't want the minute trouble of taking a book home? Try their reference library of books available to read in-shop.
02 of 14
Address: Goethestraße 69, 10625 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
This shop was opened by an American in 1993 and continues to grow with the regular addition of both used and new books. They will order books not in stock and provide language-exchange nights and readings by local authors.
03 of 14
Address: Flughafenstraße 22, 12053 Berlin
This site has been transformed from one of the ubiquitous seedy casinos to a truly charming bookshop for children and adults. Opened by two Irish expats, there are new and second hand books, stationery and gifts. While you browse, strike up a conversation and partake in the complimentary cake and cup of tea.
04 of 14
Address: Auguststraße 28, 10117 Berlin (Mitte)
Founded by a graphic designer and a professional bookseller, "Do You Read Me!?" is a stylish marriage of the two fields. They stock international magazines, art books, obscure zines and regular old books focusing on art, culture and fashion. If you're having trouble locating what you like, the knowledgeable staff can provide advice and recommendations. And if you're not in the area, there are several satellite shops.Continue to 5 of 14 below.
05 of 14
Address: Friedrichstrasse 90, 10117 Berlin (Mitte)
One of the few big chains to make the list, this location's considerable English section is worth noting. Books, DVDs, children's books, calendars and trinkets are all sold here. Head into the mall, take a right at the sphinx and into the bookshop (past the piece of the Berlin Wall signed by American president Ronald Reagen) and up the stairs to find a well-stocked English section and plenty of comfortable alcoves to read a good book.
Other large bookstore chains that can be found in most malls and satisfy your English-book lust are Thalia and Hugendubel. Both offer at least a few new novels, classics, thrillers, non-fiction (often Berlin-based) and travel guides.
06 of 14
Address: Unter den Eichen 96, 12205 Berlin (Dahlem)
Formerly known as Buchexpress, this shop is student adjacent as it is located next to the English Institute of Freie Universität. There are racks and racks of new books - many dedicated to learning/teaching English, literary theory, history, etc. - with some space dedicated to second-hand titles. Also keep an eye out for a great selection of fiction and children’s books.
07 of 14
Address: Dieffenbachstraße 58, 10967 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
Two English teachers opened the store in December 1984 with just five books. They took consignment and donations and grew their collection to the store it is today. They have around 20,000 books in both English and German (with some in French and Spanish) which range from popular fiction to classics.
They still buy used books or offer trade-in, but pride themselves on an exemplary selection. As seen on their website, "There is no 'junk' in our shop".
08 of 14
Addresse: Knesebeckstraße 33, 10623 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
Few things pair better with books than coffee and cake (or Kaffee und Kuchen auf Deutsch). Marga Schoeller Bücherstube knows this and occasionally provides free samples of both to entice readers along with their excellent book selection. This is one of the best sites in the city for new English titles, particularly in non-fiction.
While you are reading about the world, take a moment to appreciate the history of this shop. Marga Schoeller opened the Bücherstube in 1929 and it became a star of West Berlin’s literary scene, even though Frau Schoeller refused to sell Nazi literature. After World War II, the Allies gave her a license to sell English books and the bookshop became one of the best English-Language Bookstores in Berlin. The shop has since moved from Ku'damm to its current location and is still run by Frau Schoeller's son and colleagues.Continue to 9 of 14 below.
09 of 14
Address: Skalitzer Straße 68, 10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
This outlet for Swiss distribution group Motto is located off of Schlesisches Tor. They specializes in the niche markets of zines, international publications, small-press prints, art books, posters and self-published items. The staff is dedicated to special requests like finding elusive back issues. The site also has an active calendar of exhibitions, discussions, screenings and presentations.
10 of 14
This Address: Rosenthalerstraße 39, 10178 Berlin (Mitte)
This quirky hold-out from the gentrification of Hackescher Markt (along with places like Kino Central and Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt) must be sought out above the crowds and up a graffitied staircase. People often look a little lost wandering among the colorful comics, graphic novels, avant-garde prints, small print runs and philosophy books. But the products speak for themselves and most people stay and browse a while. If you continue to the back, there is an art gallery where you can extend your stay.
11 of 14
Address: Wörtherstraße 27, 10405 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
Voted the best bookshop for English-language second hand books in Berlin, this cozy store has an impressive collection of new and used books that is constantly changing. The English owners take pride in their hand-picked selections and still travel back to London to add to their treasury.
Located near charming Kollwitzplatz, the shop is tidy and comfortable, allowing shoppers to browse, lounge and become readers of the more than 30,000 books on offer. Saint George's specializes in hard-to-find, rare and out-of-print collections (and also provides express ordering plus shipping overseas), but is not too snooty to feature the latest and most popular American and British titles. Foreign magazines like The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, and n+1 can also be perused and purchased.
Have more books than cash? The shop buys back used books and takes trade-ins for credit.
12 of 14
Address: Brunnenstraße 181, 10119 Berlin (Gesundbrunnen)
Billing itself as "not just another bookstore", this modern shop and café has over 2 million titles and over 300,000 digital products. Unlike many of the other bookstores on the list, Ocelot is relatively new - opened in 2012.Continue to 13 of 14 below.
13 of 14
Address: Bergmannstraße 25, 10961 Berlin (Kreuzberg)
This is not just Berlin's, but Germany’s, number one bookshop for sci-fi, fantasy and horror. Though most of their material is in German their English language collection is one of the best of its kind. If you want to get your geek on with others, the store also hosts gatherings for sci-fi and fantasy book clubs.
14 of 14
Addresses: Warschauerstrasse 74, 10243 Berlin (Friedrichshain)
Shakespeare & Sons is less the stiff English shop its name indicates and more a Bohemian book-lovers' dream. There are stacks of Eastern European literature in English, one of the best French-language sections in Berlin and plenty of philosophy books to keep visitors scratching their head over brainy debates.
Almost as enticing as its book selection is its well-stocked cafe. They serve the increasingly less-rare bagel, delectable cakes and coffee to go with the laid-back atmosphere. For a little more excitement, refer to their events calendar for readings and concerts.