Linda’s Book Exchange is featured in Lonely Planet, and in April we finally found time to visit.
Linda, American by birth, has lived in Istanbul for 27 years with her Irish husband and set up the book exchange because she found it so difficult to find good books to read.
Don’t be put off by the apparent chaos in our image. On the day we visited, Linda had just received several boxes of books and was sorting them into piles (as you can see), while we browsed the shelves mainly located on the two walls not in view.
Linda operates from a small room (which another ex-pat bibliophile lets her use rent free) in a back street off Istiklal Caddesi.
The address is: Şehbender Sokak No.18, Asmalı Mescit – and it isn’t easy to find. However, starting from the Tübel end of Istiklal, find Istanbul’s famous music club called ‘Babylon’, stand with your back to the main entrance, turn left and No.18 is a few yards down the street on the other side.
Linda doesn’t charge for her books. In theory you truly ‘exchange’ titles but in practice she has so many she doesn’t mind if you take more than you bring.
Linda’s Book Exchange is open 5 – 7pm, Monday to Friday though she may close on bayrams (public holidays).
We came away loaded down with books and have nothing but praise for the indomitable Linda.