Though every tiny book shop in the capital carries a scattering of foreign-language titles, only a few will keep you coming back.
BIG BEN BOOKSHOP Slovakia spol. s r.o.
811 01 Bratislava
Tel: 53 33 632
Tel/Fax: 53 33 692
Open: Mo - Fri 9.00 - 18.00; Sa 10.00 - 13.00
Discounts: 5% discount for all English Teachers, 10% discounts on selected authors.
Language Spoken: English
This well-known Bratislava bookstore is on Michalská street in the historic Uhorský Snem (Hungarian Parliament ) building. You can't miss it - Big Ben arrows point the way all down Michalská.
This bookshop is definitely the best English-language bookshop in Bratislava, with friendly, helpful service, an eclectic mix of titles and authors and a comfy table and chairs arrangement in the far room where you can flake out and read the day away.
Some things that make this place a winner - if you buy a book that turns out to be a dud, they'll let you exchange it for another one. If they don't have what you want, they will order it for you, and then call you when it comes. And if you talk to them in Slovak, they'll answer you in Slovak, even though you both know it would be more efficient to communicate in English.
They also carry books on travel, poetry, drama, humor, philosophy and even a copy of the screenplay to the film Four Weddings and a Funeral. Anybody who has been looking in vain for the Auden poem, Funeral Blues, need search no further.
Kids can enjoy wholesome titles such as Treasure Island and Charlotte's Web while their parents are doting on them in the back room, and flip furtively through Photographing the Nude while Mom and Dad are checking out cookbooks in the front room.
Lots of Czech literature, by the likes of Kundera, Kafka, Skvorecky and Hrabal can be found at Big Ben, but poor old Slovakia is woefully underrepresented. Perhaps EU translators are waiting for Slovakia to fulfill political criteria too.
If you want to buy a book in English, go to this store.
ARTFORUM s. r.o.
811 03 Bratislava
Tel: 5311 898
Hours: Mo - Fri 10.00 - 19.00, So 9.00 - 13.00
Language Spoken: English
The Artforum bookstore was established about five years ago in the building on the corner of Panenská and Kozia street. The entrance area is now plastered with posters, news and the latest on the Bratislava cultural scene. The bookroom contains mostly Slovak titles but offers a little English speaking section on the left hand side - Lonely Planet Publications, about 30-40 Wordsworth Classics, some yoga and personal improvement hocus pocus and a few kidsş titles.
Students can choose from the Oxford University Press series or the Oxford Dictionary Catalogue. There is also pretty good selection of English grammar books by Oxford and Collins, and a scattering of English-Slovak dictionaries.
But Artforum does have a couple of Slovak titles in English, including Válek's The Ground Beneath Our Feet, and a Slovak short story collection. Czech titles include Havel's Selected Plays 1963-83, and Kundera.
Head to the back room after checking out the books and you'll find a CD store and a coffee machine. Take your coffee and cigs into the music store and hang out with the long-hairs.
811 03 Bratislava
Tel: 531 0375
Hours: Mo - Fri 8.00 - 18.00
Language Spoken: Slovak
Opposite Kapucínsky Kostol (Kapucin Church) on the right of that high flight of stairs up to the trams heading into the tunnel you'll find a bookstore that was opened about a year ago. It's a little cramped inside, but the service is friendly and the selection of English titles makes this place an ideal destination for anyone looking for multiple copies of Anthony Burgess novels.
They also offer about a hundred Classics titles and a pretty good selection of student books for different levels of learner. New novels appear twice a year.
But dictionaries published by Oxford, Cambridge and Longman are really the meat and potatoes of this bookstore. Law, business, medicine. Illustrated dictionaries of architecture, fine arts and sculpture. You name it, they got it.
Obchodné a distribučné centrum University Komenského
811 02 Bratislava
Tel: 368 772
Fax: 326 519
Hours: Mo - Fri 8.00 - 18.00, Sa 9.30 - 12.30
Languages Spoken: simple German and simple English
Five years ago Academia - Matejovič opened its doors to anyone looking for Slovak, Czech or English books. It's half way down Štúrová street, about fifty meters from Šafarikovo square.
The store is perhaps best known for its selection of expensive student books like Headway, Flying Colours, Streamline, Discoveries and also Cambridge First Certificate or English Proficiency. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of English Language, The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain and The Oxford Anthology of English Literature are among the dictionaries offered, as well as the latest edition of the Slovak-English dictionary published by the Slovak Academic Press.