Bookstores in Africa


Last change:
17 Jan 2012

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Cities include (listed basically west to east, north to south by country,
alphabetically within country, but associated areas and language groups are
listed together; if anyone has a better ordering, let me know):

Lagos, Nigeria
Nairobi, Kenya
Cape Town, South Africa
Johannesburg (and other Gauteng), South Africa

[Note 1: I collected these comments from a variety of people.  I personally
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-)   Phone numbers and precise addresses can be
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city.  Call ahead
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.]

[Note 2: If you can add information for any of these, in particular
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.]

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Lagos, Nigeria:

Africa Leadership Forum Bookstore (ALF Plaza, 1 The Bells Drive, Ota, Ogun 
	State).  "Sells books and magazines published by the Africa Leadership 
	Forum.  These range from religious texts written by President Obasanjo 
	to political books (economic development, women's issues, security and 
	stability)."
American Community Library (52 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos State).  
	"It's a library that also sells books (mostly paperback fiction).  The 
	library has the best selection of fiction that you'll find in West 
	Africa.  Decent childrens section.  Spotty on the non-fiction and 
	travel sections (many of the travel books are sorrowfully out of 
	date)."  Open Wed 9:30AM-12N, Sat 10AM-1PM.
Falomo Shopping Center (Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State).  "Two bookstores 
	near Quintessence (I've forgotten their names).  Both carry a decent 
	selection of Nigerian books and literature, one carries a fair 
	selection of western novels and books."
Hidden Treasures (20, Ekulu Avenue, By Nwodo Junction, G. R. A. Enugu, 
	hiddtreasures@yahoo.com).  Christian, inspirational, and 
	motivational books, as well as books on entrepreneurship, 
	management, career strategies, financial success.  Mostly 
	US imports.  Open Mon-Sat 9AM-7PM.  [04/04]
Ikoyi Hotel Bookstore(s) (Kingsway Road, Ikoyi, Lagos State).
	"Collection of bookstores in the hotel lobby.  Western book selection 
	with subjects ranging from medicine, business management, and computer
	software.  Some outdated, some new.  Prices are high (sometimes twice
	the list price marked on the book.  Decent magazine selection.  Some 
	Nigerian books, though this varies."
Lagos Sheraton Hotel Bookstore (Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos State).  
	"Small bookstore, small selection of western trade paperbacks, Nigeria
	tour guides, domestic and western magazines."  
Manna Bookstore (60 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, 01-269-4272; 2nd Floor, 7 Oyin 
	Jolayemi Street, off Karimu Kotun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, 
	01-320-0386).  

Thanks to Robbie Honerkamp for these.

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Nairobi, Kenya:

Book Corner (Silopark House, Mama Ngina Street, 02-332968, FAX 02-215590).  
	"Small shop with very narrow aisles, and a small selection of most 
	genres of fiction, coffee-table books, magazines and cards.  The 
	paperbacks are augmented with a small second-hand section at the 
	bottom of some shelves, all very reasonably priced."  Open Mon-Fri 
	8AM-5:30PM, Sat 8:30AM-3:30PM.
The Book Villa (IPS Building, Standard Street (next to New Stanley Hotel), 
	02-337890, FAX 02-215837).  "Well organised and well-staffed but 
	cramped, this small shop offers the usual range of glossy gift 
	hardbacks, and only a small range of recent fiction."  Open Mon-Fri 
	9AM-5:30PM, Sat 9AM-3PM.
The Catholic Bookshop (Kaunda Street, 02-338514/225172, FAX 02-442144).  
	"Large open-plan shop, with a wide range of Catholic literature in 
	English and Swahili, also bibles, cards and magazines."  Open 
	Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.
Chiana Bookshop (Moi Avenue (near Kenya Cinema), 02-222069, FAX 02-211231).  
	"The range of books Chiana's once offered has dwindled over the 
	years; now specialising in educational textbooks and school materials 
	only.  Many of the once-brimming shelves are now half full, but there 
	are still a few good books to be found on African history and general 
	education.  Also computer products and office equipment."  Open 
	Mon-Sat 8AM-6PM.
Keswick Bookshop (Bruce House, Kaunda Street, 02-226047, FAX 02-728557, 
	keswick@swiftkenya.com).  "Smaller than the Catholic Bookshop across 
	the street, but with a range of all Christian literature including 
	fiction and theology. Also a wide range of gifts and cards."  Open 
	Mon-Fri 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sat 8:30AM-1:30PM.
Nakumatt Mega (Uhuru Highway).  Ten minutes' walk from the city centre or 
	10 shillings in a matatu.  "The new huge Nakumatt Mega supermarket 
	(built in 2002) has a rather good books section on the ground floor, 
	with a wide selection of recent British publications mostly covering 
	fiction, classics, self-help and business.  Also has a better than 
	average children's section. On the plus side, every single book is 
	available as '4 for the price of 3', though on the negative side 
	this store has drawn criticism for not stocking any African 
	authors.  Also upstairs is a rather decent (and quite cheap) 
	internet café."  Open Mon-Sat 8:30AM-8:30PM, Sun 10AM-6PM.
Prestige Booksellers (Mama Ngina Street (next to 20th Century Cinema), 
	02-223515, FAX 02-246796, prest@iconnect.co.ke).  "Average size (for 
	Nairobi) general bookstore, with a small selection of fiction (badly 
	in need of some organisation), non-fiction, educational, specialist 
	books and maps, also plenty of large glossy 'tourist' hardbacks."  
	Open Mon-Fri 8AM-6PM, Sat 8AM-3:30PM.
The Stanley Bookshop (Stanley Hotel, Kenyatta Avenue, 02-212776/333507/
	224619, wsundries@nbi.ispkenya.com).  "Under the Stanley Hotel, a 
	good bookshop despite its average size.  There is a good range of 
	fiction and non-fiction paperbacks, plus plenty of classics and a 
	good but small selection of UK and US edition SF/F.  A good 
	selection of health and spiritual reference works."  Open Mon-Tue, 
	Thu-Fri 8:30AM-6PM; Wed 8:30AM-5PM; Sat 8:30AM-3PM.

Thanks to Pete Young for these.

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Cape Town, South Africa:

The Book Lounge (71 Roeland).  New books.  Has an extensive schedule 
	of events.  [01/12]
Clarkes Bookshop (211 Long, +27(0)21-423-5739, 
	http://www.clarkesbooks.co.za).  Antiquarian.  
	"A fantastic shop.  Excellent, knowledgeable staff/owners.  
	Specialises in Africana."  Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat 9AM-1PM.  
	[10/11]
Exclus1ve Books (http://www.exclus1ves.co.za).  
	The biggest South African chain (also in Botswana).  [03/04]
Wordsworth Books (+27(0)44-887-0224, http://www.wordsworth.co.za.  
	New books.  "They have a number of bookshops in the Cape Town 
	area.  They have two well-stocked shops at the tourist 
	mecca of the Waterfront, one general, one travel books 
	(both guides and glossy picture books of South Africa and Cape 
	Town)."  [01/12]

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Johannesburg (and other Gauteng), South Africa:

Collectors Treasury (244 Commissioner, 2001, 27-11-334-6556, FAX
	27-11-334-5344, collect@megaweb.co.za).  The largest used and
	antiquarian bookstore in South Africa, with more than 500,000
	books.  A wide range is covered with strength in travel,
	archaeology, the arts, lierature, modern first editions, transport
	and military history.  Described by Colin Steele in the ABMR as
	being "the jewel in the crown of South Africa`s bookshops."  Ships
	worldwide.
Estoril Books (Fourways Mall, Shop M10, cnr. Witkoppen & William Nicol Drive, 
	Fourways 2055, Gauteng, 011-465-6885, FAX 011-465-8013; also Cresta, 
	Village Walk (Sandown), and SouthDowns (Irene), 
	http://www.estorilbooks.co.za).  "One of South Africa's 
	better-established bookshops (over 40 years), Estoril Books' 
	move to the Fourways Mall has given them plenty of space, but 
	the impression is still one of cramming as much onto the 
	shelves as possible.  Good sections covering all subject 
	matter, but especially good are the long shelves devoted to 
	health matters and all varieties of esoterica/mysticism etc.  
	SF/F is well represented with an even mix of recent UK and US 
	paperbacks.  Books also available in Afrikaans, though the 
	children's section is a little limited.  The down-side to the 
	shop is the large stickers they use to price paperbacks, which 
	are impossible to remove with any kind of solvent without 
	damaging the covers."  Open Mon-Thu 9AM-8:30PM, 
	Fri 9AM-10:30PM, Sat 8:30AM-10:30PM, Sun 9AM-8:30PM.
Exclus1ve Books (http://www.exclus1ves.co.za).  
	The biggest South African chain (also in Botswana).  
	"Johannesburg alone has twelve branches.  The main branch in 
	Sandton Square is a very impressive store, beautiful decor, 
	coffee shop (I think Seattle) but most importantly a huge 
	range of English-language books, all new from business and 
	computing to children's and fiction."  [03/04]
Frank Thorold (42 Harrison, 3rd Floor, 011-838-5903).  Antiquarian.  
	Open Mon-Fri 9AM-5PM.  [12/11]

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Evelyn C. Leeper
Evelyn C. Leeper (eleeper@optonline.net)

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