My travels around the world have revealed one thing: no matter how much technology drives us, there is one thing that won’t change. And that is people’s love for books. The biggest testimony to this is the way bookstores are thriving. Everywhere I go, I see beautiful bookstores which are teeming with people, both young and old. I see people browsing, sitting in corners and reading and queuing up at cash counters to pay for the books they have bought. This goes to show that people love to read, and they love to read physical books.
For book lovers living in or visiting Istanbul, we have just the place for you. This is a bookstore review of a book cafe that you can’t afford to miss.
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Located in the popular neighbourhood of Beşiktaş, Minoa Books and Coffee is a charming bookstore with warm lighting, beautiful architecture, a huge collection of books and good-quality coffee. You could quite easily spend the day there. Most days, it is full of people reading books, working on laptops, sipping coffee and munching on their food.
I discovered this bookstore during my recent visit to Istanbul. I love to visit bookstores in all the cities I visit, and I usually depend on the reviews of the locals before deciding which ones to go to. This store came highly recommended and did not disappoint me.
This store has existed since 2014 and is the brainchild of a Turkish couple, Nazim and Petek Tokuz. Nazim’s (he is an architect) professional touch is subtly displayed in the café’s beautifully inviting interior that appeals to all senses with soft but apt lighting, enticing music, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and, of course, books everywhere.
This store offers a wide range of books, including literature, poetry, philosophy, history, art, and design, children’s books, comics and popular fiction both in English and Turkish. Visitors can browse the books, read or study in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. They have close to over 45,000 books. They also have an e-commerce site, which started functioning in 2020
As well as indoor seating, they also have a large outdoor terrace, which is a great place to enjoy some breakfast or lunch on a warm summer day. It has a lovely Mediterranean touch, with beautiful furniture, art and plants, which create a warm and inviting ambience. The cafe also serves delicious desserts along with tea and coffee.
The most striking part about the store is the architecture, particularly the book chandelier. It is the first thing you notice as you walk into the store. And right below it is a circular display of books.
The store is spread over three floors though the basement doesn’t have too many books.
The books are displayed attractively all across the store. Apart from the bookshelves, they have flat displays, especially on the first floor, showcasing their coffee table books collection. As you walk down or up, the books on display against a brown backdrop look inviting.
The staff at the store is knowledgeable and friendly though they take a while to open up. But once they do, they are all out to help you.
Being a Turkish bookstore, I spotted books by some Turkish authors I know, like Eli Shafak and Orhan Pamuk.
The only thing is there needs to be signage to guide you to the store, and it took me a while to find it though I had the directions.
Overall, Minoa Books and Coffee is a must-visit if you are in that part of the world. It is one of the prettiest bookstores that I have ever visited. It will want you to pick up a book and read.