The world is slowly but steadily becoming a paperless place – especially when it comes to reading books. The popularity of Kindle, Sony Readers and iPads is taking off. While the trend may be better for the environment, the old-fashioned book is not dead yet.
And -in the era of tight budgets – both governmental and individual – second-hand bookstores offer a cheaper way to get your intellectual fix or just to grab some light reading for the beach.
Here’s where to go in Kyiv to get second-hand or, shall we say, pre-loved books:
Kupidon cafe is located on 1-3/5 Pushkinska St., near Teatralna metro station.
There are three rooms, one of which is Kupidon’s second-hand bookstore. In order to attract more customers, the shop assistant may let you take a book to read for a week or two without purchasing it. So you need to leave a deposit to prove the book will return to its shelf. Also, cafe visitors can leaf through books while having lunch or coffee. “We survive on donations from our regular customers,” said the seller about the store.
Telephone: 279-7171; Open: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Located on 42 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho St., near University metro station, this bookstore reminds people of the grandeur of Soviet-era academic book publishing. New books take the first floor, while upstairs all the secondhand titles are piled on the floor. Narrow corridors are filled up with history, science and fiction literature.
Some of the store’s employees sit under a huge air conditioner, but the rest of the place is hot now – not so good for browsing books. Staff complain that traditional books are not very popular now. The young prefer computers to paperbacks and only collectors are searching for unique copies. The rare books are hidden from public view, and are up for auction on the Aukro Internet site.
This second-hand bookstore isn’t very profitable and faces declining interest, after a spike of customers in 2009. Books come as cheaply as Hr 15, while an antique copy of the Bible sells for 2,000
Telephone: 234-0123; Open: Mon-Fri 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
You can find this bookstore close to the main street in Kyiv – on 4 Lyuteranska (Khreshchatyk metro station). Despite its central location, the shop is hidden in the basement of an old building, and is easy to miss.
It is small, but richly stocked. Art, architecture, literature and philosophy books are the focus. Out-of-print books and foreign language literature – Polish, German and English – can be found here. The most interesting items are also available on their website, where a customer can find and order books.
Eduard Lyndin, the store owner, keeps his entire inventory in his head. He talks to all of his customers and it's clear he has found his calling in life. “I have two postgraduate diplomas but now I sell books. It’s what I like to do the most,” he said.
But the love is not reciprocated with great sales. Lyndin says most people are too poor to buy books. The books are divided by genres and prices. Some books go for as little as 90 kopecks. There are also rare editions, which are targets for collectors.
Hours of working: Mon-Fri – 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.; Sat: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Among the different boutiques at the Navigator shopping mall on 1 Slavy Square (Glory Square) near Arsenalnaya metro station, there is a store which sells antique books and secondhand issues. The shop was founded in 2000 and offers a great range of services. They buy rare books and also help people with their private collections. They also have discount and half-price paperbacks and restore damaged books.
Books are arranged by their value.
“Philosophical and history books are our focus,” shop owner Yuriy Egorov said. Now he is busy writing a catalogue of old, rare and unique books in Ukraine. The first volume of this catalog was published in 2011. The next volume will appear in May 2012. He plans to publish four more volumes.
Some of these books are sold in his store. Egorov recommends that customers stop by the store and check out the books in person, rather than browse the web. “We don’t sell sausages – we sell rare copies of books and their condition is very important for clients,” he said.
He is also working on a project about 100 books that changed people’s minds. He decided to base this list on the books that can be found in Kyiv’s major libraries.
Telephone: 531-9414; Open: Mon-Sun, 11 a.m. — 7 p.m.
Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Goncharova can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org