BOOKSTORES

The majority of bookstores in Belarus are state-owned. State institutions often dictate the sellers what should be displayed on bookshelves by placing all publications into two categories: "socially significant" and "others". The state-owned book trade monopoly may forbid the sales of selected titles on 'ideological' grounds. State-run bookshops enjoy special conditions: they don't pay rent. Another trick for them to stay competitive is to sell cheap Russian literature in huge volumes. Russian books are cheap because of circulation: they are sold in great numbers all over former USSR. Belarus-produced books have no chance, as they're more expensive and less numerous. A Belarusian book has an average circulation of between 300 and 1000 copies. The situation for independent publishers and booksellers is aggravated by high VAT rates - 20% for book sales.

Nevertheless, there are bookstores in Minsk that look like a modern cultural space - not like a classic Soviet bookstore.

 

Some examples:

Akademkniga

Akademkniga
This bookstore will offer you more for sightseeing than for reading. You will see strict booksellers and no space to sit and browse books. Moreover, the selection of books is quite poor. The bookstore offers textbooks and books on sociology, law, economics, psychology and arts as well as dictionaries and photo books. The store has two entrances, one serving a different department. Check both carefully since the logics behind book placement is somewhat confusing.
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  • Address: 72 Niezaliežnasci Ave (Metro station Akademija Navuk)
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 10:00 till 20:00, Sat from 10:00 till 18:00.
  • Contact data: +375 17 292-00-52, +375 17 292-46-52, +375 17 292-50-43
  • Website: Akademkniga

Centralnaja

Centralnaja
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  • Address: 19 Niezaliežnasci Ave
  • Opening hours: Mon-Fri from 10:00 till 20:00, Sat from 10:00 till 20:00, Sun from 10:00 till 19:00
  • Contact data: +375 17 296-65-35
  • Website: Centralnaja

Book market BelEXPO

If you want to see where ordinary Belarusians often buy books, check out this book market in the former VDNKh building. You will find anything and everything on long book rows here: cookbooks, esoteric works, Ancient Greek drama or Water Scott collections. Here you will figure out that Minskers really love reading.    
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  • Address: 27 Janki Kupaly St. (pavilion B). Getting there: Trolleybus 29, 12, 40 or bus 24, 57 to Operny Teatr stop.