Our International Bookshop of the Month for November is Hedengrens Bokhandel. Established in 1897, Hedengrens is one of the oldest bookstores in Stockholm. It offers a wide selection of Swedish and international literature of all kinds. We interviewed Alexander Freudenthal, the shop’s English-language buyer, to learn more!
1. How would you describe Hedengrens to a potential new customer?
Hedengrens is one of the few remaining independent bookshops in Stockholm. We have been around since 1897, which of course means the shop has an interesting mix of history and novelty. We hope that a new customer will appreciate our rather eclectic selection, and always discover something that they didn’t know they wanted.
2. What makes the bookshop unique and how has this changed over the years of trading?
The fact that Hedengrens has been around since the late nineteenth century and still manages to focus mainly on books today is quite unique in our modern society where we find lots of bookshops that now carry a lot of “non-books” and focus more on selling that.
3. What is the most rewarding part of working in a bookshop? What is the most difficult part?
The most rewarding thing about working in a bookshop is to me the joy of finding the perfect book for a customer, preferably one that the customer never thought of themselves. The most difficult part is the opposite: when nothing is right, and I just cannot find a book that fits.
4. Your bestselling titles from Yale are in the History/ Economics subject areas – have you seen any changes in your customers’ buying habits over the years?
We have a loyal customer group, many of which have a serious interest in History. If anything, we have seen this interest in this subject growing over recent years.
5. Do you have author events and book readings in the store? If so, how do you choose these – and are there any plans to expand upon the current program? Who was your most successful author?
We hold approximately 24 author events a year. Thanks to our reputation we can pick whomever we want, and we tend to mainly have events with non-fiction authors. Two of our most successful events were with Max Tegmark and Yuval Noah Harari.