About The Guide

Hello! We are Sonja and Ivan. And this is our Bookstore Guide - an amateur guide to book shopping throughout Europe. We hope this Guide will help you find the book(stores) you are looking for.

Housmans, London

Housmans Logo

Where? London, UK

Recommended by Abi Rhodes

Abi said: "Housmans is one of London's oldest radical, independent bookshops. Open since 1945, it has the feel of a bookshop that knows what it is talking about and with regular events it keeps itself up to date. On the 14th November 2009 Housmans' celebrate their 50th anniversary"

Housmans bookshop is indeed one of a radical sort - a bookshop with both a good reputation and a long tradition. It opened its doors over 60 years ago - the official date of opening being October 26th 1945 although the concept and its roots go back as far as 1930s and the great upsurge of the British pacifist movement. During those years, young people would gather at what used to be a temporary bookshop. They would debate and listen to the lectures of Dick Sheppard - the founder of the Peace Pledge Union. The following period of its operation is characterized by working on and off and constantly changing locations pre- and during the Second World War. During these turbulent years, writer and a playwright by the name of Laurence Housman suggested the bookshop found a permanent location and tried to promote pacifist ideas and human rights. Thus, in 1945, in the honor of his name, Housmans Bookshop started its long voyage. Throughout the bookshop's long history, many interesting events have taken place - perhaps the most shocking ones to mention would be the IRA bomb which blew up the pillar box outside the shop in 1974, the letter bomb of 1978 which caused burns to a staff member's hands and other, luckily, not so successful attacks on this radical little place.

Naturally, the bookshop of such calibre specializes in politics, political theory, peace studies and world affairs (even those very hard-to-track publications). Furthermore, various materials promoting peace, the environment, sexual freedom, equality can be found within the store, as well as various zines and periodicals, newspapers and magazines, and even fiction and non-fiction - both new and second-hand (and for the price of £1!).

Located near the edge of London's very center - just a few minutes from the famous King's Cross, Housmans prides in both being the first and one of the last remaining radical bookshops, its main goal being to promote peace and human rights and it has undoubtedly managed to stay true to its strong political stance. And although the bombs shattered the bookshop's walls, they never succeeded in shattering the ideas behind them, so we have all the reasons to believe that the people of London will be able to enjoy its presence for a long time to come.

Housmans LondonHousmans
5 Caledonian Road
London N1 9DX
Housmans bookshop


Phone and Email:
020 7837 4473

Working Hours:
Mon-Fri 10-18:30
Sat 10-18

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Goga Bookshop, Novo Mesto

zalozba goga logo
Where? Novo Mesto, Slovenia

Recommended by:
Matic Bobnar

Matic said: "Goga Bookshop is located in the town of Novo Mesto in the south-east of Slovenia, and it is basically an NGO. What makes it special in our country is the fact that it is specialized in selling only high quality books (most bookshops in Slovenia also sell office material such as pencils, paper clips...), it also offers a small collection of CDs (namely jazz and world music) and off course coffee. Goga bookshop is an integral part of Goga publishing house."

Goga bookshop most definitely belongs to that rather rare and precious category of bookshops which deserve to be called an institution. The scope of Goga's cultural activities is really impressive Judge for yourselves: it is a publishing house, focused mainly on out-of-mainstream titles, but it also publishes music - jazz and world music being its specialties. The publishing house preceded the bookshop by 2 years as it started operating in December of 1998. The publishing of their first book in the early 2000 was soon followed by the opening of the bookshop, which started welcoming customers in its modest premises in the old town part of Novo Mesto in 2000. The millennium year was very busy for Goga, as it also witnessed the launching of the Goga Music record label.

Besides this, the bookshop also works as a café and it houses a wide range of cultural activities. An important part of the bookshop is its atrium, which you can see in one of our pictures. This space is often used for exhibitions, performances or discussions organized by Goga, which is known for supporting young artists. Saying that Goga Bookshop is an integral part of the local cultural scene is definitely not an exaggeration as the bookshop organizes or participates in more than hundred events every year. And although Goga is active in many fields, it's still primarily a bookshop and the vast majority of its activities have to do with the literary scene.

As of now, Goga doesn't pay any special emphasis to English books, and its English stock consists mainly of editions distributed or published by Slovenian editors. However, if you're interested in finding out more about Slovenia, its culture, nature, history or literature, you'll surely be able to choose. If you'd like to discover a country through its literature, you'll surely appreciate English translations of selected Slovenian authors such as France Prešeren, Srečko Kosovel, Vladimir Bartol and others.

Goga bookshop atriumGoga Bookshop
Glavni trg 6
8000 Novo mesto
Goga bookshop novo mesto


Phone and Email:
+386 7 3930801

Working Hours:
Mon-Fri 9-19

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Bergli Bookshop, Basel

bergli bookshop basel logo

Basel, Switzerland

Recommended by:
Martin Hirsch from Basel

Martin said: "All I ask of any city I live in is a few cozy cafés, some nice restaurants, a good record shop and a book store that feels like a second home. As an expat New Yorker living in Switzerland, I've found the latter in my adopted home of Basel, where Bergli Books quickly became a regular stop on my Saturday jaunts through town. It has a homeyness and hospitality that I've always found wanting at the larger English bookstore a few blocks away. And despite its miniature dimensions it houses a wonderful, well-organized and diverse selection of the latest novels and nonfiction from America and around the world, along with classics, self-help and language books and everything you could ever want to know about Switzerland. And if they don't have it, they'll order it, in a flash. Anything I've ever sought, from Paul Auster to Elmore Leonard, Philip Roth to Italo Svevo - Bergli's proprietress Dianne Dicks or her staff have found for me on the shop's shelves or quickly looked up online and had in my hands within a few days to a couple of weeks for really difficult-to-find selections. Add to that the shop's extraordinary calendar of special events - book discussions, writers' evenings and poetry readings - and you've got much more than a book shop: you've got a little cathedral of enrichment in the middle of a quaint, central European city. Basel may not have a decent record shop, but I hope it always has Bergli."

The name Bergli is associated with the publishing house Bergli Books and the independent bookstore Bergli Bookshop. Both of these institutions were founded by Dianne Dicks, an expat living in Switzerland, and the story behind it is definitely an inspiring one. As Dianne was unable to find a publisher for her collection of stories about life in Switzerland entitled Ticking Along with the Swiss, she decided to take matters into her own hands and in 1990 she founded her own small publishing house - Bergli Books. Even today, the titles published at Bergli are focused on the specifics of the Swiss way of life. Twelve years later, in 2002, Bergli became involved in selling books as well. Bergli Bookshop in the very center of Basel at the Rümelinsplatz has slowly become known as a place which offers a pleasing collection of English titles but also a very diverse selection of (mostly) book-related events - just to illustrate, we even found a report describing a whiskey tasting evening held at Bergli.

Bergli can be translated from German as a "little mountain" and this little mountain of English language literature surrounded by the tall peaks of the Swiss Alps deserves to be noticed. Whether you're a Swiss native wishing to perfect your English skills, an expat keen on staying in touch with the latest events on the English language literary or someone eager to find out more about Swiss culture, cuisine or even humor, if you pick the Bergli Bookshop as your starting point, you certainly won't be disappointed.

bergli books basel insideBergli Bookshop
Rümelinsplatz 19
CH-4001 Basel
bergli bookshop basel


Phone and Email:
+41 61 373 27 77

Working Hours:
Mon-Fri 18:30
Sat 9-17

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