June Shop of the Month
Since 2009, Papercup has been Beirut’s premiere bookshop for fresh coffee and new releases. We spoke with the owner of our Shop of the Month for June to find out more about the one-of-a-kind store in Lebanon.
How did it all start ?
A couple years ago, I found a notebook in a closed box where, among other things, I described my original concept for Papercup. I had forgotten about this notebook, which dates back to the year I graduated with my Master’s Degree in New York in 2001. I would say this is where it all really started, but I finally opened Papercup in June 2009.
Why did you decide to open the store?
I opened Papercup when I was ready for a change and probably confident enough to finally take the jump. Also, at the time, I was working for a book and magazine distribution company and saw the strong need for curated book selections—it all came together and it was time for me to do it. I had to finally take the fantasy out of my head and put it into action.
How would you describe the neighborhood in which the store is located?
It is very different from when I opened, as it has now become the hip neighbourhood. Think about the Mitte 15 years ago versus how it is now.
In terms of books and goods, what do you offer your customers?
Architecture, design, photography, modern and contemporary art, graphic design, illustration, travel, and fashion books, graphic novels, and books for children. We also sell magazines, as well as some stationery.
What are your favorite Gestalten books?
This is a difficult question... of your latest catalog, that would be Inside Utopia.
What are your customers’ favorite Gestalten books?
The top 5 bestsellers since opening have been A Delicious Life (partially because of our in-house launch of the book with Sven Ehmann), The Monocle Guide to Better Living, A Map of the World, Northern Delights, and The Story of Eames Furniture.
What kinds of people shop at Papercup? Who might be seen visiting the store?
All kinds of people really. From the professionals—architects, artists, writers, journalists—to the amateurs, locals, tourists, or the simple coffee drinker.
Do you do anything at your store besides sell books? Do you, for example, have any events or exhibitions there?
Yes, we do. We have book signing events, and often use our magazine shelves to display artwork. We organize storytelling and drawing sessions for children on a monthly basis. Also, twice yearly we invite people to curate a table of eight to ten books to be displayed for a month. Oh, and we also are a mini version of a coffee shop!
Images © Papercup