Here are the coolest bookstores in our capital to go and check out. These printed goods still make some of the best gifts. Go ahead, take a sniff of those pages. Just don’t be too creepy about it.
The largest purveyor of academic literature and handbooks in the capital city. The huge, but hidden, lone-standing building in Hatfield’s Burnett Street is the official store and subsidiary to the publishing company, Protea Boekhuis. This shop buys and sells these academic books on their upper floor, plus they have a titanic selection of books of all genres and natures on their ground floor. This is a must-visit for any bibliophile, especially those with a special interest in Afrikaans history, Afrikaans fiction, and translations into Afrikaans.
A secondhand bookstore located on Soutpansberg Road in Riviera. Operating out of an old adapted suburban domicile, this store consists of twelve rooms and trades in almost fifty-thousand books at any given time. They boast with shelves stretching more than one and a half kilometres long. Upon entrance, the labyrinth of printed goods can be quite intimidating, but any serious bookworm would be able to find their way in no time. They are a wheelchair friendly site, and selectively exchanges or buys secondhand books from patrons.
This retailer prides itself on finding and selling the rare varieties and prints of the books any reader would be looking for. They have several branches located in the suburbs of Magalieskruin, Monument Park, and in Equestria, but they also trade at flea markets and from their huge online store. They have also expanded in recent times to opening branches in Johannesburg, which is surprising in the current reading culture climate. They also offer self publishing opportunities to writers under their Lizmar Publishers wing. Their varieties and specialities are English and Afrikaans fiction, biographies, history & war literature, and Afrikaans children’s books.
In recent times, a deep interest and dedication to comic books and graphic novels has revitalised amongst readers old and young across the globe. There are currently more comic books on shelves than there were in the early nineties. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we include a comic book store on this list. Actually, the only true comic book and graphic novel purveyor, and tabletop gaming supplier, in our town. A compact store with quite a tiny selection. It seems they cater more towards tabletop gaming and collectables than books, but they are able to order almost any available item or issue upon request. For the time being, this is the only place to visit in the 012 to pick up a properly selected graphic novel, order a comic book, or to start the odd hobby.
Esanlu Book Shop
Started by Esme Van Bergen in June of 2008 out of a free standing building in Moreleta Park. The bookstore trades in somewhere around sixteen-thousand books, and they specialise in rare collectables and first editions. They proudly offer books in the genres of Afrikaans and English fiction, children’s, cookery, self-help and much more. They also buy secondhand books on a selective basis. Their website also functions as a complete catalogue for their stock and a book search platform for specifically sought and hard-to-find items.
They claim to exclusively supply “fine books for discerning people.” This tourist attraction in its own right, and a bucket list item for any bibliophile around, is a beautiful and rich bookstore in the Irene Village Mall. The shop, in its own words, sells those elusive collectables, africana, publisher’s overstocks, and quality pre-loved books. They trade in books covering botany, travel, hunting, zoology, and literary fiction. Everything for that matter, but purveyed in the classically styled fashion. They are also open seven days a week, providing “new books at used book prices.”
Honourable mentions: Exclusive Books Brooklyn and Bargain Books Grove Mall.
by David C. Steyn