December 5, 2021

Visiting the Book Loft for the first time

Stepping into the Book Loft for the first time was an experience that’s hard to put into words.

The city of Columbus, Ohio has many great and truly unique locations and activities, like attending a Crew soccer game, the OSU horseshoe and spending hours in the award-winning zoo.

However, there are quite a few hole-in-the-walls throughout the downtown area, most notably in the Short North and German Village neighborhoods. 

One of the places that has gained popularity in recent years is the Book Loft, located in German Village. 

It is odd that the Book Loft is still going so strong, as it is such an old-fashioned sort of place. It is hidden away, cramped, and almost exclusively sells physical books, nothing digital. 

This place is a maze with different levels. Photo taken by Josh Conturo.

This, however, is what is so attractive about this place; it is like nowhere else. Its closest rival is Barnes and Noble, which is better for doing homework and getting coffee, but in terms of an experience, Barnes and Noble has nothing on the Book Loft. 

In fact, not really anything does. It begins handing you an experience before you even get there, as the parking situation is far from easy. The only way to get anywhere close is to parallel park on the street, and at any part of the week that is not 1 p.m. on a Monday, it can be a bit of a challenge. But that sets the tone for this satisfying endeavour quite well.

After walking a block and half to the old book store, you are greeted by a large, red sign over metal gates that reads “Willkommen The Book Loft,” German for ‘welcome.’ 

Several other smaller white signs proclaim that they are open until 11 p.m. and that they have 32 rooms. At which point you think “32? Pffft, there’s no way they have 32 rooms.”

Books line almost every surface in the entire store. Photo taken by Josh Conturo.

After walking through the large gates, there is a long walkway broken up by 3-step sets of stairs about every 10 feet. After this, you enter a lovely garden with trees, luscious plants, benches,  and tables covered in stacks of books.

Right next to this is the entrance to this mystical place. Upon walking through the doors, you are slapped in the face with walls and walls of books. It is almost a sensory overload, but just visually, if that makes sense. 

If you are someone who loves reading and books, then this is a wonderland for you. It is a maze that you cannot help but want to get lost in. The sheer variety of books is incredible; cooking, politics, fiction, non-fiction, self-help, new, old, autobiographies, business, historical, comedy. If a book has been written and is relevant in any way, it is probably in this store. 

The cramped hallways, rooms, and corridors give the sense that you are literally being buried in books. Speaking of which, if you are claustrophobic, this is probably not the place for you. 

Also, I made the mistake of going by myself, which I quickly realized is like going to see a movie by yourself. This is a fantastic place to go on a date. 

Something else that is nice is that there are a bunch of books on sale. Two of the three books I bought were on sale; in fact “Bossypants” by Tina Fey was only a few dollars and I would highly recommend giving that one a read. 

“Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” by Anthony Bourdain and “Faster” by Neal Bascomb were the other two I picked up. 

  • Josh Conturo is a reporter for the Chimes and a fourth-year studying Emerging Media with an emphasis on journalism, and loves all things related to cars, coffee, and comedy.

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