Oldest Bookstore In Iceland Celebrates 10,000th Customer - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Oldest Bookstore In Iceland Celebrates 10,000th Customer

Published August 22, 2019

Photos by
John Rogers

The oldest bookstore in Iceland recently celebrated its 10,000th customer. Aptly named The Old Bookstore is in Flateyri and has been a pillar of the community for nearly five generations. Eyþór Jóvinsson is the owner and sole employee of the store, which he inherited from his parents, and whom they inherited from Eyþór’s grandparents before him. Anton and Tiffany, tourists from the U.S., visited the shop run by Eyþór yesterday. They received flowers and books as a grand prize for their spectacular luck of being one in ten thousand.

According to Eyþór, this summer has been one of the best summers on record for the bookstore, and has become a main attraction for tourists visiting Flateyri. Although the bookstore primarily sells books in Icelandic, Eyþór also has a sizeable collection of books in English, French, German, and other languages.

The bookstore itself is remarkable. The building has stood since the early part of the 20th century, and the interior decor hasn’t changed much since 1920. “It’s like coming into a time machine,” Eyþór says.

The other remarkable thing about the bookstore is that it sells books by weight. A savvy book collector might walk out of the store with a rare and valuable poetry book that cost next to nothing.

The Old Bookstore will celebrate its hundredth anniversary next year, and Eyþór is planning some grand festivities.

Read our full interview with Eyþór here.

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