Better Than Steimatsky's
Okay, this is a plug for today's discovery. For all you vatikim who already knew about this spot, mazel tov! But for me, it's new and exciting!
Thanks to my classmate Elizabeth, another devoted book-lover like myself, I was introduced to the joys of Sefer V'Sefel. I'm told that it literally means "Book and (Coffee) Cup," since it supplies both. However, the online reviews state that coffee is NOT (alas!) served. I did not see a coffee bar, but I saw such a trove of English titles (religious, fiction, biography, history, archeology, etc.) that the experience more than made up for the lack of caffeine on the premises.
The beauty of this shop is that it is full of such a variety of English-language books, both used and new, and if you purchase a book there, new or used, you can return it and get a partial credit towards the price of the next book you purchase. So the three books I bought today that are new will be returned to the store when we're done, and we'll receive 50% of the purchase price towards the cost of another book or books.
The store itself is up a staircase off of a narrow street that runs between Yafo and the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall. I've been on this alleyway before--I purchased all of my skirts at the shop just down from the staircase--but I never knew there was a bookstore of such wonderful choices up those stairs.
This is from Ha'aretz's review of used book stores:
The landmark Jerusalem used bookstore, Sefer Ve Sefel, is probably the city's best known - and with good reason: Spread over two stories, its selection is wide and neatly laid out, with helpful service and moderate prices. The books on the outside are highly discounted, with some real bargains for just NIS 10. Sefer Ve Sefel sells some new books, but the vast majority is used - and all are in English.
"'The Lonely Planet' guide calls Sefer Ve Sefel the best used English-language book shop in the Middle East and I would agree," says long-time owner Uri Ruchan, who has managed the store for 22 years. "We have a huge selection of new used books because many of our customers buy books on the Internet or bring them to us from abroad."
According to the Internet, this scenic little alleyway has a name, and the address of this wonderful bookstore is 2 Yavetz Street (02-524-8237 if you want to call about a title).
photo credit to glimpseabroad