Tag: Portuguese literature

tell a story

Tell a Story: The Coolest Mobile Bookstore on Lisbonian Streets Delivering Literature

Hey book-lovers, You should not miss this! 



Since 2013, there’s been a vintage van roaming around streets in Portugal. Encountering this nomadic bookshop, you can see books about Portuguese literature, classical and contemporary, in different languages like English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Under the bluest sky in this exotic city, you can find the joy of reading with other book-lovers from all over the world.



Tell a Story, the name of the van, was established by three entrepreneurial literature lovers: Francisco Antolin, Domingos Cruz, and Joao Correia Pereira. They knew each other since childhood and fell in love with literature together. The idea of launching a bookshop about translated Portuguese literature came to them when they realized how tough it was to find a translation of the classics in the city. Antolin, the driver of the van, said:




We wanted to help people discover Portugal through our literature, because stories are a great way to understand a culture.




Instead of opening a regular store located around the corner, they decided to create a “nomadic bookstore” after traveling to China where they saw vans selling stationery and school supplies to children. So, Tell a Story was open with wheels-a gorgeous 1975 Renault Estafette modified with a open shelf and a bus-stop-like sign.





Image via Lisboa Cool


Image via Lisboa Cool


Image via Lisboa Cool


Image via Lisboa Cool



People buy this idea. So far the three have made so many friends, no matter they are, book-lovers or not, because of their business-on-the-move. They include curious passers-by, international tourist groups, cute Portuguese couples, and literature professors, to name but a few. Antolin happily and satisfyingly said:




I learn so much from them. Sometimes they come back and share books with me or even teach me something I didn’t know about an author.




Though there were partnership opportunities knocking the door, the three chose to keep the store simple and pure: “Once you start selling T-shirts and mugs, you can end up being just another touristy junk shop. We don’t want that,” claimed Antolin.



Now, with the success of Tell a Story, they’ve established an editorial company with the same name. Likewise, this is a press for promoting Portuguese authors to new readers around the globe. So far, the company has released one edition of Pessoa’s No Matter What We Dream, a Pessoa’s collection Disquiet Lisbon, and contemporary Portuguese author Afonso Cruz’s Jesus Christ Drank Beer.



But the three are not satisfied with this. To share Portuguese literature with more new friends, they are planning to buy the second van whose target will be the reader markets beyond Portugal and throughout European land. As Antolin says, “Culture has no borders.”



Hey book-lovers, are you inspired by the story told by these three brave and ambitious book-lovers? Maybe you will see the mobile with books around the corner soon!




Check out the story here, and see more dope bookmobiles around the world here!




Featured Image Via Turismo de Portugal