With the writing world moving ever closer to becoming completely digital, bibliophiles everywhere are seeking the last remaining independent bookstores in which to hole up and get lost in a story. Location, of course, is everything and Cape Town, with its various nooks and crannies stuffed with books, has somewhere for every story lover. So, whether you think the best books are comic books, detective novels, thrillers or autobiographies, Cape Town is ready and waiting.
The Book Lounge
The perfect bookstore for traditionalist bookworms, The Book Lounge is quite literally what it says on the tin; a revamped ye-olde world Victorian building brimming with various tomes and complete with a lounge area packed full of comfy seating. With a small snack shop selling tea and other refreshments close at hand you can spend hours lost in your latest purchase. Don’t be fooled by its appearance, however, this bookshop has all the latest releases as well as the classics. A regular hive of literary activity, this store also plays host to events such as book signings, interviews with authors and Saturday morning storytime in the shop’s legendary children’s corner.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 7:30pm; Saturday: 9am – 5pm; Sunday: 10am – 4pm
71 Roeland St, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 462-2425
Kalk Bay Books
Often described as the bookstore with the most beautiful view in the world, Kalk Bay Books is mere meters away from the sea and as such offers something sensational for both the mind and the eye. The picturesque stone pub-turned-bookstore is home to a number of book clubs where the stories are poured over and wine is simply poured. The books collection itself is carefully selected to promote particularly intriguing genres such as African fiction and history. Within walking distance of the Kalk Bay train station, this bookstore is easily access by public transport and is a must visit for any bibliophile.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 6pm (5pm during winter months)
Majestic Village, 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Western Cape, South Africa +27 (0) 21 788 2266
With a glorious, two-storey assemblage of articles grounded in the history of ‘the dark continent’, Clarke’s is a veritable cornucopia of knowledge on Africa. With a wide variety of topics covered in their beautifully presented compendium of African literature the friendly staff can guide you to books relating to anything from gender to art. The second storey is devoted to second-hand titles; you may even find a rare gem. Or, if you are an avid traveller, take a peek at the admirable collection of maps, some of which date back to the 1600s and all of which are for sale. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at waxing lyrical in one of Clarke’s cosy poetry sessions.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm; Saturday: 9:30am – 1pm
199 Long Street, City Centre, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 423 5739
Readers’ Den Comic Shop
One for the wannabe-heroes in the crowd, this atmospheric comic shop sells every popular comic available; Adventure Time, Batman, Justice League, Star Wars… And if that isn’t enough there are plenty of graphic novels and Manga comics to read too. The unique thing about this comic shop is its participation in Free Comic Book Day. On this day local comic book stores seek to promote comic books as a form of relevant entertainment, art, and literature by giving away specially published comic books for free. In fact, the day has gained such popularity in this location that it has become a mini comic con with cosplayers turning up from all over town to attend.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm; Saturday: 10am – 2pm. Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays.
Shop G10, Stadium on Main, Main Road, Claremont, South Africa +27 (0) 21 671 9551
A member of the Southern African Book Dealers’ Association the charming 30-year-oldSelect Books specializes in buying and selling books relating to South African culture and history. There are a number of rare finds awaiting the avid reader in this shop; maybe an out of print book, or a signed first edition. With such a selective collection of treasures, the owner is intimately acquainted with every book and is more than willing to help you track down a specific volume. If you’re looking for a bargain, there is even a trolley outside the store that contains a discounted jumble of books to rifle through to your heart’s delight.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 10am – 5pm
232 Long St, Cape Town City Centre, Cape Town, South Africa +27 (0) 21 424 6955