Despite the fact that Istanbul is a bustling metropolitan with a huge population, there are not nearly as many quality bookstores as one would expect to find. Still, this doesn’t mean that you cannot find a decent bookstore that sells titles in English and other languages. On the contrary, some of these bookstores are not only full of interesting titles, but they are also works of art in themselves. Whether you’re looking for a book as a holiday read or a coffee table book to take back home as a gift, you will surely find what you’re looking for in these locations. We recommend combining a trip to these stores with a tour of their neighborhoods to explore opportunities for real estate in Istanbul.
Once upon a time, while walking down Istiklal Avenue from Taksim to Tünel, you could notice a beautifully designed, old bookstore at No: 389, a few hundred meters past the Galatasaray Square. It was a bibliophile’s dream spread on two floors with a meticulously curated selection of novels, books on Istanbul, art and philosophy as well as rare coffee table books. However, due to the rapid transformation in Beyoğlu in recent years, the area became extremely popular among Istanbul real estate investors and property prices rocketed. Due to the steep increase, many old shops are being forced to move out. The same thing happened to Robinson Crusoe in 2014. It was literally moved book-by-book, each one being passed through the hands of the bookstores’ loyal customers to its new location not far from the old shop, to the fourth floor of SALT, a non-profit institution for the arts and culture. The new place is a spacious attic with lots of titles on display and it’s worth combining with a visit to SALT to view the latest featured exhibitions and performances.
Assouline is a global luxury brand on culture with the tagline “the most sophisticated books in the world”. It has branches all around the world and the Istanbul store offers over 1,200 titles as well as a large selection of curated Vintage Collection tomes, an extensive gift and accessories line including leather book totes, limited-edition travel trunks, bookends and book stands, collectibles, stationery, and scented Library Candles. Assouline redefines the term “coffee table book.” The chic store is located in the most chic neighborhood of the city, featuring some of the most valuable Istanbul apartments for sale.
This is the first Arabic bookstore in Istanbul. Located in the historical neighborhood of Ayvansaray in Fatih, it is spread over three floors with one floor dedicated to children’s literature. Also carrying books in Turkish, English and French, the bookstore/café serves authentic Syrian dishes as well. It is not far from the famous Chora or Kariye Church, which was first a Byzantine Church, then an Ottoman mosque and finally a museum. Inside, you can see some of the most beautiful Byzantine-era original mosaics and frescoes. The area is also close to old historic neighborhoods full of old wooden houses that are being transformed into luxury Istanbul property.