Elephant Books has moved out of its cozy Teahouse in the Factory spot to a much more central and wider location, where its numerous volumes have more space to breathe. It is the only bookstore in Sofia specialized in selling second-hand books in English, and this old-school endeavor in our digital age makes it all the more a special to me.
Electronic readers are very handy when traveling, but if like me you like the smell and physical presence of books, you will love this place too. If you just ran out of reads on that train, airport or bus, here is a good place to come across something new. As a second-hand shop, of course prices are moderate and for us locals it’s great as we can find the originals, or books that were never translated, for lower than they’d otherwise cost.
The selection is wide but good – from fiction, classic and modern, to studies on media and feminism or books on cacti. There’s a certain randomness about it, which, as in every second-hand shop, makes the browsing exciting. With the relocation they supplemented the goods on offer with kites, bike gadgets, juggling balls, posters and other useful and not-so useful stuff with great design, which make good presents.
A special bonus is the evidence of past lives in the books: last time I bought a cloth-covered Chinese cookbook published in Hong Kong in 1963; besides the inscription, I got a TV program clipping from March ’67.