Prague in Depth: Shopping - Books

Get to know the Czech retail environment

Whether you like 'em new (knihkupectví) or used (antikvariát), there are plenty of bookstores in Prague.

Most stores stock original Czech-language books and foreign titles translated into Czech, and won't be much use to you unless you've mastered the language or are buying a gift for a friend.

Instead, you might try one of Prague's English-language bookstores, or one of the larger Czech bookstores, which often have a smallish foreign-language section.

Here are some of the bookstores in Prague that exclusively sell English-language books or have a large English-language section:

Located in the heart of Old Town, in the shadow of the Týn church. I consider it to be too small and a bit overpriced, and may be more geared towards the city's tourists than it is to residents. They accept special orders, however, and specialize in art books, so if you're in the market for monographs of artists from outside the Czech Republic, this may be the place to start looking.

Big Ben Bookshop
Big Ben imports new releases and has a good selection of English-teaching books. They also sponsor and hold literary events and readings.

One of the most famous and long-standing English bookstores/cafés in Prague, the Globe has long been an outlet for expatriate literary enthusiasts, as well as a place to meet people and browse the bulletin board. Now located in the New Town, the Globe's book selection isn't as great and the prices are higher, but this place still has a lot to offer.

Shakespeare and Sons
The newest of the expat bookstores, "Shakes" has quickly become one of the best. The original location, which also includes a café, is a bit out of the way from the center, but it has a great selection. A few years ago, Shakespeare and Sons opened another location in Malá Strana, selling books only. They also host poetry readings and open-mic evenings and are clearly dedicated to developing and maintaining an English-language literary community in Prague.

These shops aren't necessarily cheaper than Czech bookstores just because they're dedicated to English-language books.


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