Marga Schoeller Bookshop

A charming Charlottenburg bookshop with a great selection of English titles and a warm, old school vibe…

Marga Schoeller Bookstore
Image by Paul Sullivan

Not many bookstores can say they’ve been in operation for over eight decades, especially in a city as historically turbulent as Berlin—but Marga Schoeller’s can.

Opened in 1929 by the eponymous Frau Schoeller, the shop originally specialised in European literature and theatre works. Schoeller managed to stay open during the National Socialist years despite refusing to sell Nazi literature and – even more impressively – sold books banned by the Nazis by hiding them deep in the basement.

Once the war was over Schoeller’s became the first bookshop awarded a license to sell English books, and quickly became a focal point for West Berlin’s burgeoning literary scene, attracting esteemed international writers like Beckett, Hesse, Mann, Eliot, Auden and the members of Hans Werner Richter’s famed Gruppe 47.

Originally located on the Ku’damm, the shop relocated in 1974 to the smaller, charming and perhaps more apposite Knesebeckstraße, whose nearby streets resonate with the names of philosophers, writers and poets (Schillerstraße, Goethestraße, Kantstraße, Leibnizstraße…).

Though Schoeller passed away in 1978, her son and colleagues have continued her good work. The shop still sells mostly German-language books, but still maintains one of the best English book selections in Berlin, located in an alcove on the left as you enter.

Marga Schoeller Bookstore
Image by Paul Sullivan

Here you’ll find a considered selection of books on poetry, theatre, philosophy as well as fiction, history, biographies and plenty of tomes about Berlin and Germany. There’s also some kid’s books in English and several reading events (German and English) per year.

Best of all, staff are friendly, well informed and speak good English—in fact some of them are English. You may well overhear one of them calling a regular customer on the phone to let them know a new book has come in that they might enjoy.

Far from an exercise in cynical telesales, this is the kind of old school personalised service Schoeller’s excels at. It makes online shopping feel like the sterile experience it is…

Marga Schoeller Bücherstube

Knesebeckstraße 33

10623 Berlin Charlottenburg

U1: Uhlandstrasse / S: Savignyplatz

Tel: 030 8 81 11 12/22

Open: Mon-Wed 9.30-19; Thu-Fri 9.30-20; Sat 9.30-18

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Comments

  1. Anne says:

    Thanks for the review. If you ever come to Porto this bookshop is a must!

  2. Paul Sullivan says:

    Now that is a beautiful bookshop. Wow.

  3. Emily says:

    This bookshop is one of my true Berlin staples and I can spend hours in there. Lovely write up and photos of such a special place.

  4. What a charming description of the bookstore’s history and atmosphere! It is so inviting I wished I could some afternoons there. But first I would have to purchase a ticket back to my hometown.

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