Customers approach the entrance to The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus, Ohio.(AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)
Customers approach the entrance to The Book Loft of German Village in Columbus, Ohio.(AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)

Get lost in 32 rooms packed with books at The Book Loft in Ohio, US

The Book Loft, a 40-year-old independent bookstore in Columbus, Ohio, sells everything from the latest releases and best-sellers to children’s and bargain books, from manga and horror to history and memoir.
By Associated Press | Associated Press
UPDATED ON MAR 28, 2018 01:13 PM IST

If you are longing to lose yourself in a good read and happen to find yourself in Columbus, Ohio, you might consider getting lost in a 32-room bookstore, The Book Loft of German Village.

The independent bookstore, which opened more than 40 years ago, is a maze of literature, selling everything from the latest releases and best-sellers to children’s and bargain books, from manga and horror to history and memoir.

The Book Loft is located south of downtown Columbus in the German Village neighbourhood, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighbourhood was settled extensively by German immigrants in the first half of the 1800s. It was considered a slum in the mid-20th century but thanks to revitalisation efforts is now one of the most sought-after real estate zip codes in Ohio.

Neighborhood buildings are reflected in the front window of The Book Loft. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)
Neighborhood buildings are reflected in the front window of The Book Loft. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)

The store is located in a small strip of handsome red brick, pre-Civil War buildings that once housed general stores, a saloon and a Nickelodeon movie theatre. Visitors will see a “Willkommen” sign and a garden path lined with park benches, reminiscent of a European outdoor cafe. Above the entrance in a patio filled with low-priced books hang both U.S. and German flags.

The interior is truly a warren of interconnected rooms. The shop provides a map to guide intrepid readers on their quest to locate literary gems among the tomes. Every inch of the 32 rooms are filled with books on wooden shelves. Narrow hallways, with barely enough room to squeeze past other patrons, lead to more rooms, or to nooks and cul-de-sacs, to stairs, bends and dead-ends.

Books and store t-shirts on display. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)
Books and store t-shirts on display. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)

Open seven days a week, and brimming with 1,50,000 individual titles and over 5,00,000 books in stock, The Book Loft also brims with shoppers. At times almost cramped with bookworms, the store is one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores with a unique feel unmatched by big chains or even smaller indie bookstores.

Shoppers browse among the narrow rows of books at The Book Loft. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)
Shoppers browse among the narrow rows of books at The Book Loft. (AP Photo/Jonathan Elderfield)

It’s a few blocks from the state capitol building and also near some of the city’s best restaurants, such as Lindey’s and G. Michael’s, not to mention the tourist favorite Schmidt’s Sausage Haus.

Patience and perseverance are required to find the rooms and books you are looking for. And yes, you’d be guaranteed to find your title faster with an online search, but there’s nothing like that feeling you get browsing in a physical bookstore: a love of books among both shoppers and staff, and a feeling of pride in keeping a beloved indie store going.

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