mercoledì 15 luglio 2015

Keeping the Dream of Reading Alive in Florence

by Laura Tressel

There is an ongoing worldwide battle to keep bookstores alive. With access to the internet and the increasing popularity of digital readers, bookstores are finding it harder to remain successful businesses. In Florence, the tradition of bookstores, or "librerie," is very important to it's thriving social and scholarly culture. Recently, new stores have been opened, providing hope for the literary world. Today, there are three main stores in the city that provide books and more to both residents and visitors of Florence: IBS, La Feltrinelli, and RED. While other, smaller bookshops scatter the streets and provide unique products and environments, these central stores are on the frontline in the battle to keep this industry alive.

via de' Cerretani 16/R
IBS is formatted as a classic bookstore. It offers a wide variety of book, music, and DVDs for purchase as well as providing furnished areas for in-store reading. They also have textbooks for students and a small section of international titles. The store has two floors and feels open and inviting. because there is no bar inside, the environment is quieter and more relaxed- a great place to sit down and read! Located on the main street connecting the station and Piazza Duomo, it is easily found and welcomes clients from all around the world. IBS has basic services and also hosts events such as book readings, author introductions, and more. The website, offers the biggest selection of books for purchase in the country. If a book cannot be found in store, more than likely it is carried in their online shop. 

La Feltrinelli
via de' Cerretani 30/32R and Piazza della Stazione
La Feltrinelli is the biggest chain of bookstores in Florence. In the past year, they opened a new location inside the train station, along with RED. The station location is made up of two floors, and provides a huge range of books, magazines, and music for travelers to browse while they wait for their departure. There is a cafe which offers nice alternatives to the fast food chains also located in the station. The main location of La Feltrinelli is located on via de' Cerretani, a few steps away from IBS. Having two bookstores so close together might seem like bad business, but really they offer services that differentiate them from each other. La Feltrinelli has a great selection of books, and has a big international language selection (English, French, German, Spanish). They also sell music, movies, and video games, and host special events. 

Piazza della Repubblica 
Read, Eat, Dream. An inspiring life motto as well as the meaning behind the acronym, RED. Owned by the La Feltrinelli company, this bookstore offers a different concept connected with the ordinary experience. Opened last spring, RED offers a full restaurant and bar alongside the traditional bookstore. They host musical and literary events and pride themselves in creating a fun, welcoming environment where people will want to come to read, eat, and just hang out. They have three floors that can be reached by a spiral staircase or elevator, and there is a play area (surrounded by books of course) for children. RED offers a more active environment for customers who want to add liveliness to their book shopping experience. 

No matter where you choose to indulge in a good book, Florence's bookstores all have something wonderful to offer. There is just something magical about sitting down in a big soft chair, surrounded by shelves of literary works, and opening the first pages of a new story. Bookstores are invitations to learn and to imagine, to eat and to read, to meet new people and to grow in your own understanding. Florence's bookstores keep the reading experience fresh and fun. 

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