Atlantis Books is a truly amazing bookstore. It is located in the basement of a white house in Oia, Santorini.
Atlantis Books was started by Craig Walzer and Oliver Wise, two 25-year-old Americans, who were vacationing on Santorini in 2002. These two young bibliophiles decided they wanted to create a haven for readers and writers in one of the most beautiful (and remotest) places in the Mediterranean; a place in which book-lovers could spend long afternoons in the bookstore’s cool quarters, with jazz guitar music playing gently on the sound system as they perused the eclectically comprehensive book collection.
The idea of Atlantis Books began when Craig and Oliver became intoxicated by Santorini’s savage beauty, and decided to open a shop modelled on Shakespeare & Company, the English-language bookstore in Paris.
Although it was not initially a moneymaking enterprise – the staff is on rotation throughout the year, and lives in the bookstore – after eight years as a going concern, Atlantis Books is starting to achieve international praise. Jeremy Mercer, a writer for The Guardian, listed Atlantis Books as one of his ten favourite bookshops in the world: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/dec/06/top10s.bookshops
Atlantis Books’ bookshelves, which the staff built themselves, are filled with novels, poetry, short-story collections, biographies and philosophical works.
Staff-members are always happy to advise on their favourites – one staff member is a serious fan of Robertson Davies, the Canadian writer, while another young staff member loves Panos Karnezis, the Greek-born Londoner, who gave a reading in the store a couple of years ago.
“Sometimes people buy books, and sometimes they just want to take a picture of the place,” a staff-member said. “I guess it’s becoming a landmark.”
Atlantis Books is in Oia, Santorini, opposite the town hall on the main square. It’s easy to find and worth visiting. It is truly unique. There is no other bookstore like it on Earth.