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Monday, February 19, 2007

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


Blogger Ways of Zion said...

We missed it!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 2:02:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Jill said...

This is something I could embrace whole heartedly, (even if it doesn't inclue coffee),a variety of books and then a portion of your purchase price is returnted to you...love it,love it,love it! Happy reading, and nice to see you included a photo. Love to you all!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 5:15:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

mother of israel--well, c'mon back and go there next time! I'm sure it will still be there (especially if the voracious readers in my ulpan continue to support it)

jilly--when you come here, I'll take you here and then we can stroll down the street for coffee!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 6:34:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger JJ said...

I've heard of that place, it sounds amazing to a reading maniac like myself! Wish we had one in this part of the country :-(

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 11:07:00 PM GMT+2  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Aliyah06,

I'm sorry to leave you a comment here but I didn't have your email address. I've since updated my website to WordPress which looks a heck of a lot better. I wondered if you wouldn't mind updating it?

I went from the Near East Pundit to the Middle East Pundit and the new address is http://www.middleeastpundit.com


Paul D. Boyer

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 12:26:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

rr--that link to Ha'aretz also named some other used bookstores, many with English inventory. I didn't specifically look for stuff in your area, but you might check out the article and see if anything listed there is close by....otherwise, come up to Jerusalem and I'll take you book-shopping one day!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 9:11:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger aliyah06 said...

paul--will do--I'm having some trouble with blogger this morning but hopefully I'll have you linked properly by tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007 at 9:12:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...

Sounds great.

Friday, February 23, 2007 at 7:16:00 AM GMT+2  
Blogger malkah said...

i lived in jerusalem in the early 80's, on overdraft like many israelis, and my biggest treat and greatest bargain was sefer and seffel. pre-intifada, pre-9/11, you could leave envelopes stamped with u.s. postage at the counter, and some considerate traveler would mail them for you in the states. and, yes, you could get a cuppa back in the day.

Friday, March 30, 2007 at 5:52:00 AM GMT+3  
Blogger sarah shapiro said...

Sefer v' Sefel is wonderful. I love it. Uri is well-read and keeps an eye out for books that will feed my short-story hunger.

I browsed for a few hours the other day (when there were so many less delightful things I should have been doing)and -- as was the case on countless other occasions through the years -- found two perfect books to keep me company in the cold and rain.

Sarah Shapiro

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 10:30:00 AM GMT+2  

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