Bookstores in Stockholm: Södermalm’s Unique and Cozy Shops
Bobbie Jo Traut explores cozy and unique bookstores in Stockholm in Södermalm that offer readers and literary lovers the chance to discover new favorites.
Cozy bookstores in Stockholm offer wintertime solace
Stockholm’s darker winters allow for reflection and introspection. Comfort from the cold is found indoors – wrapped up in a blanket – with flickering candles burning bright on windowsills.
Venturing outdoors for a moment, we quickly find ourselves in brightly lit cafes sipping our coffee as the sun sets.
Stockholm’s cafes on almost every corner are warm and inviting. The hum of conversations and candle flames reflect in windowpanes.
It can be a challenge in any city to find a quieter place than a cafe that is just as warm and inviting.
However, in addition to its public library system, Stockholm offers several independent bookstores that have withstood the modern-day trends of e-books and online shopping.
Stockholm’s independent bookshops continue to draw people in with their unique decor, rare finds, and familiar atmosphere. All characteristics that are not so easily found in chain stores.
Independent bookstores in Stockholm are on the decline
In a continually modernizing city, these shops maintain their positions as essential and historical landmarks. They remain reflections of the Swedish proverb – ‘In a good book, the best is between the lines.’
Despite the unique atmosphere of independent bookstores, the number of independent bookstores in Stockholm has dwindled.
Over the last decade or so, the number has dropped to perhaps ten or so in the city center. It is a challenge to stay in business, given how accessible online shopping has become.
But I have found that browsing in a bookstore is the best way to discover a book. It is easy to miss fantastic books when you are searching on your computer.
Below are Södermalm’s cozy and unique bookstores worth visiting:
Antikvariat Hundörat sits on a busy street in Södermalm. This smaller, square-shaped shop has every meter carefully covered with books. From the windowsill lined with pocket paperbacks to the ceilings with sturdy shelves that carry heftier reads.
There are Swedish and English language texts side-by-side and mixed on every topic imaginable – from religion and philosophy to travel and poetry. I spy Jack Kerouac and Jane Austin in English. The distinct but pleasant smell of book leaf permeates the air.
You need not come to Antikvariat Hundörat with any book in mind. If you take the time to notice each book’s unique binding and take in the colors of each cover, then you may leave with your arms full.
Address: Östgötagatan 20, 116 25 Stockholm
An eclectic selection of books and magazines can be found at ETC Bokcafe in Stockholm’s Södermalm district.
Bring your own book or choose among a collection of books in Swedish and English that inspire dialogue and social change, such as Greta Thunberg’s No One is too Small to Make a Difference.
Grab a cup of coffee or tea – the perfect reading companion – while you relax in this warmly lit space at one of the several tables.
Another surprise and delight in this shop is an interesting set of eco-friendly products, some locally made, for sale such as soap, toothpaste, and toothbrushes. Watch the store’s Facebook page for upcoming events and evening discussions.
Address: Sankt Paulsgatan 14, 11846 Stockholm
St. Pauls Bok och Pappershandel
Situated inconspicuously on the corner of St Paulsgatan and Mariatorget, you might miss St Pauls Bok och Pappershandel if you don’t look up to see the cursive-lettered sign hanging overhead.
It is worth squeezing your way into the small shop as there are treasures that await. The soft sounds of classical or jazz music muffles any street noise. A vintage sound studio is tucked in the corner, complete with a record player and records.
In this timeless bookstore, you can lose yourself among the classics and poetry and dog-eared books meant to be passed down for generations.
Beyond books, there is an assortment of art supplies and stationery for adults and children to inspire the imagination beyond the written word.
Address: Sankt Paulsgatan 24, 118 48 Stockholm
Dizzyingly tall walls with shelves of books reaching higher than your head greet you as you step into Söderbokhandeln.
There is a wealth of choice in English and Swedish on myriad topics from art to ecology and history to philosophy. The knowledgeable staff is available to help you find what you’re looking for and will even climb the ladders to reach the highest shelves in pursuit of your desired text.
Since 1927, Söderbokhandeln has created a space for people to slow down around books–to wonder at the great works of literature, look at each book on display, discover new authors, new ideas, ways of thinking and theories.
Address: Götgatan 37, 116 21 Stockholm
The English Bookshop
This independent bookstore is ideal for those wishing to enhance their English and for the English-speaking expat community in Stockholm.
The English Bookshop offers a wide variety of books for all ages in the SoFo part of the district. The shop constantly updates its section for new arrivals. If you’re waiting for a new release, you won’t have to wait long.
There are book club events for adults – both fiction and non-fiction aficionados – and storytelling times for kids, which can all be found on the store’s Facebook page.
The shop also carries books by Swedish and other Scandinavian authors, which have been translated into English. Such books can be an asset for newcomers wanting to understand more about Swedish culture and history.
Address: Södermannagatan 22, 116 23 Stockholm