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Please keep ocelot Berlin alive

0 Comments 25 February 2015

ocelot Berlin has been my favourite bookstore ever since it opened (and to many, many friends of mine).

Frithjof Klepp and his team always have been the best consultants. If you needed technical literature, they sure had it on their shelves (by diaphanes, Merve, suhrkamp, Matthes und Seitz…) or they had it in store the next day. You could always inquire about which one to chose, German literature major Frithjof had all the answers about which philosophical text you should take (hello, Foucault). If you wanted a good read, you could chose between special classic editions, the newest publications, magazines (text + kritik…) and for a present for a friend, you could be sure to get the best book fitting each intellectual taste.

A visit to the bookstore was always a pleasure. Minimalistic interior, designed to present the books in a way you could actually feel them breathing. Couches that encouraged you to rummage through the vast selection of high quality literary works, a fine selection of art books, graphic novels, and even children’s books. You could be sure to discover a new edition of a work and also a friendly smile from the staff.

The events were well-planned, the reading I attended was just perfect in that surrounding. The café area was just a plus for the bookstore, the cakes and coffee found soon regular customers.

In one sentence, one of the best bookstores you can find in Berlin-Mitte.

Of course, places like Dussmann offer “more books” and other “stuff”, but you cannot find that competent consultation, it is hard to even catch one of the information point employees not being “busy doing things”. It is always a pain in the b*tt to buy a book there – always crowded, always loud, always an exhausting experience.

ocelot is just different.

When I learned that the store is struggling, I was afraid more bad news were coming along.

Can you be mad at Berlin-Mitte-hipsters who only buy their daily coffee there instead of a book? Who only sat on the reading tables for a chat and not buying a book? Even though the fame of the bookstore went far over the borders of Berlin, it was not enough, there have been some miscalculations according to interviews. It hurts to learn that ocelot is most likely to be shut down in a few weeks, despite the huge campaign “rettet das ocelot“. Yes, I wasn’t there due to a scheduling conflict, but I bought a fair amount of books and book-presents ever since the campaign started, as I believed it would be the best way to support ocelot.

Today, when I visited the store, it had closed at 16:00, the shop window was decorated with a written text all over the pane, it said “danke”. I want to return the word “danke”: to Frithjof Klepp and ocelot team for all the book recommendations and the effort you put into ocelot to make it a wonderful experience for everyone visiting.

Is ocelot really closing for good? I haven’t talked to Frithjof for a few weeks now, so I cannot confirm the heartbreaking rumors, but I still hope it is not true. There is a need for bookstores like ocelot in Berlin, in Germany, and the world. Can we please start to talk about it, before all those high-quality fabulous bookstores around the world are closing?! Please let’s consider what amazon and co. have an impact on the book market. I hope there will be a buyer, an investor to keep the place running, as I cannot imagine Berlin-Mitte without ocelot now, and it will be truly a shortcoming of the area not to keep ocelot alive.

 

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