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Tehran’s Book City

The latest branch of the chain of bookshops called the Book City was recently opened in Tehran. For many years, the place to buy books was mainly limited to the traditional bookshops opposite Tehran University. Gradually more sprang up throughout the city, many of them concentrated in the main streets of the important neighborhoods of the city. Then in 1995 a different type of bookshop, called the Book City, opened and broke through the age-old tradition of providing just books. It proved to be so successful that it was quickly followed by more branches opening not only in Tehran but also in the provinces.

In the Book City branches, the main emphasis is of course on books which cover thousands of titles, from general topics to more specialized ones as well as those in foreign languages. But that is not all. Their latest store is a good example of their success in turning a bookshop into a place for the whole family to enjoy, relax in, and have fun. It is a vast place on three floors, one of which is completely devoted to children. They can roam freely in this colourful, big space, and look at the books displayed on low tables or play with toys provided for smaller children.

On another floor which contains books on general topics, you can pick up a book, take it to the coffee shop area and read it while enjoying a cup of coffee, before putting it back on the shelf. English books on a variety of subjects are on the first floor, whilst in another section you can find magazines and newspapers of an earlier period, gifts, handicrafts, books of photographs, exquisite Qurans and compendiums, and even rare calendars and note-books.

The Book City has also become a meeting point for writers and intellectuals as it organises literary courses as well as weekly discussion sessions with authors of newly published books where they talk about their work and answer readers’ questions. 

This multimedia reports takes us on a visit to this newly-opened branch of the Book City in Tehran.

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