Monday, November 19, 2007

Best English Bookstore in the Nordic region?

This may seem like an offtopic, but it isn't.  While reading the most recent edition of WIRED magazine, I found myself eyeing the latest Sony reading gadget. A bit expensive at USD 299, plus there is the Amazon Kindle, just announced (even more expensive at USD 399), but that probably doesn't work for downloading reading material outside the US. 
I experimented with an early electronic book some years ago, the Nuevomedia RocketBook, I think, which was a flop with little to download. Anyway, I the technofreak find that I still prefer (or have to settle for) the physical book. Or to be more precise, I buy the physical book through and, living in Latvia, rarely see a good English-language bookstore. Certainly none in Riga.
Thus I was pleasantly surprised to have a few hours to kill in downtown Stockholm, where I rediscovered Hedengren's Bookstore on Stureplan in the Sturegallerian shopping center. This is less a Swedish than a remarkable multi-lingual bookstore with a vast and often fascinatingly obscure collection of English-language books. Lots of weird popular science titles on physics and cosmology, history and military history, walls of literature and science fiction. A great way to browse, tons of books stuffing shelves, remind me of Foyle's in London, the shelves a bit crowded. Unfortunately, Swedish prices for foreign language books are a bit steep, but it is a good place to examine a title before ordering it from Amazon in the US (even with delivery in Latvia (usually via a warehouse inside the EU).
So if in Sweden and pining for a good browse of English books (yes, there are even comfortable chairs here and there, you can sit and leaf through a volume, no one says anything, there are nice books of art and photography), do try Hedengren's
Any yes, by the way, I do believe that electronic books, using thin electronic paper and an open universal method of accessing downloads (WiFi or wireless internet) have a future. I look forward to them, but for now, I am, alas, sticking to the paper kind. 

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