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Submitted by caroline on Fri, 10/02/2015 - 10:56

October Shop of the Month

When did it all start ?

Actually it started many many years ago, when I was a kid I have spent all my time in bookstores around Teşvikiye and Nısantasi district in Istanbul. Especially one of them called Sander bookstore, was a mysterious place for me. Then, after spending 25 years in architecture and construction business, together with my wife we decided to open up a bookstore, to share the same excitement that we had years ago with other people. It took four years to plan and getting it all prepared. Accordingly, since 2011, even before opening up the store we’ve started to attend to the major global bookfairs especially in Frankfurt and in London. In the meantime we built our core team, selected the initial stock of books and constructed the store as we’ve always imagined. Then, on a hot August day in 2015, we opened our doors.

What was the reason behind the opening of the store?

Apart from the idea being one of the major dreams I’ve always had since childhood, we believe opening an independent bookstore has actually been a responsibility for us - to give a little back to Istanbul city - that has gave us so much to us. A city that is also being ruined by us because of mainly economic reasons, growing population and insensitiveness since the last 50 years. Like those independent bookshops that we’ve discovered and envied in other international cities that we’ve visited during our trips, we wanted to have a “different” bookstore in Istanbul too. With a great team, we selected our books from many different genres mainly in English and Turkish. We also wanted create a different, an authentic atmosphere for books and booklovers. We believe that to be a good bookstore and have really a good collection of books takes years.

Could you describe the neighborhood in which the store is located?

The neighbourhood is actually our neighbourhood. I’ve been living here since 2000 and my wife was born here, in the very same building where our shop is located. Besiktas is one of the oldest residential neighbourhoods of Istanbul at the Bosporus. The last palace of Ottoman Empire (Dolmabahce Palace) is couple of minutes away. The area’s name Akaretler is coming from the houses that were built for the workes of the palace such as doctors, architects, soldiers or painters. Once Atatürk; the first president and hero of Turkish Republic, lived 3 buildings away from our shop. Sultan Abdulhamid II’s painter Fausto Zonoaro had a workspace here, just down the road - which is a pizza restaurant right now.

What are your favorite Gestalten books?

Hide and Seek, Building Better, The Monocle Guide To Better Living, and The New Nomads.

What are your customers' favorite Gestalten books?

Monocle Travel Guides, Hide and Seek, The Outsiders, The New Nomads.

Do you do anything at your store besides sell books? Do you, for example, have any events or exhibitions there?

We have a café inside our store – which also has a small garden. All the pastries, sweets and snacks that we serve to our customers are cooked in our own kitchen. You can have a really good espresso or a glass of selected Turkish wines while reading your book or chat with friends. You can write your own book if you like. We’ve started to organize small reading events, literature conversations. Some afternoons we’ll have pop-up mini concerts, some nights, there is live music. Within several weeks, we are including a new additional space to the shop where we will sell second hand books.

Is there anything else about the store that you'd like us to mention?

By the end of the September we will be extending our store 70 m2 more. We are especially enlarging our cookery books and Istanbul books sections, we will also allocate more space for magazines. At the moment we’re carrying magazines such as such as Drift Mag, Kinfolk, Cornucopia, new ones will be added soon. Also, where we are starting sell second-hand/used books in this new, extended part of the shop – hopefully starting from October this year. In 2016, another aim is to start publishing a variety of books especially on topics such as art, health, farming, cookery and architecture.