Welcome back to another Bookspot of the Week, where we connect with outstanding bookstores in order to share their businesses and satisfy your craving for bookstore gems. This week we spoke with Ragna Lüders, the owner of a bookstore in Germany whose shop won the Hamburg Bookstore Prize in 2016, as well as the German Bookstore Prize from 2017 to 2019: Buchhandlung Lüders.
Let’s take a little trip to Hamburg and jump in on all the bookish buzz!
How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?
My father opened the bookstore almost sixty-five years ago so it has always been a family business and we are proud to still thrive as an independent bookstore.
What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?
We offer a carefully curated selection of both new and second-hand books, with more than a few real treasures on our shelves, and our entire team is very passionate about literature. Plus, we use Instagram to share this passion with even more people.
If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?
An even wider range of books about climate change, veganism, feminism and other topics that we feel are the most important in this day and age.
How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?
Many of our patrons live right around the corner and come in at least once a week. We’ve known them for a long time, we know their taste in books, and, very often, we have inspiring conversations.
What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?
You enter our bookstore and you are surrounded by books. You can smell the paper, roam the shelves that reach up to the ceiling, leaf through a first edition, a children’s book or the newest novel, and get recommendations from people who are booksellers with heart and soul.
Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?
Absolutely. A passionate interest for literature is important and it is out heart’s desire to create a friendly and happy atmosphere – for us and all the people that are coming to our store. We carefully select our staff to have a great and inspiring time together.
How else do you create a welcoming environment?
We try to give our customers space to browse, but we are friendly and welcoming if support in finding the right book is needed.
What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?
We are an active part of our neighborhood as we offer readings, dress the store window with changing themes, and communicate a lot with our customers.
Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?
We do have staff picks. We frequently share them in our Lüders Literatur Leporello and on Instagram.
Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?
Well, our community strongly reflects our own values so it is a great fit. Both in literary tastes and political attitudes.
Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?
We are very happy, and proud, that we won the Hamburg Bookstore Prize in 2016 and the German Bookstore Prize in 2017, 2018, 2019. We just won the German Book Blog Award, and our Instagram account was named the Best Bookstore Blog of 2020.
Come visit us when you happen to be in town!