Meet the stockists: Do You Read Me?!
Since opening its doors in 2008, central Berlin magazine and book store Do You Read Me?! has been a beacon for independent and “jeder kann” (approximately DIY in German – literally “anyone can”) culture in one of Europe’s most creative capitals. The store “hosts” around 1,000 book and 800 magazine titles, many of them in English. We asked co-founder Mark Kiessling the obvious question…
“Do You Read Me?!”? Why did you choose that as a name?
Let’s face it, not every magazine or book you buy will be read front to back. You flick through, you want to have it, you browse, you put it away, reach for it again, and so on… I sometimes call the piles around me monuments of future reading. On the other hand, it’s a question of understanding: Do you read me? Yes or no? The interrobang [gives it an inflection that’s] something like: “Come on, you know what I am talking about…”
When you opened it, what did you hope to achieve with the store?
We opened in one of the many high-points of THE END OF PRINT – [we were] like a counteraction, to prove that this is totally absurd, and are happy that we are experiencing something like a (jeder kann) renaissance of print.
We wanted to create something like a good bookstore turned upside down, with a clear focus on international magazines and, as we call it, contemporary reading material to complete the range. We wanted a place where people are inspired by printed matter that is either hard to find or simply unfamiliar, where the obvious is mixed with the rare, the glossy with the photocopied, the leaflet with the weighty tome.
Do you sell mainstream magazines as well as indie mags?
We don’t judge a title by being mainstream or independent: it simply needs to engage our interest… After nine years in business our selection is still based on our gut instincts. But yes, we sell everything from globally distributed mainstream to handmade low-print-run independent. Basically we cover everything “culture” – from art to architecture, interiors to fashion, literature to design, food to photography and so on.
What’s the indie mag scene like in Berlin? Are there any local publications that stand out?
Quite vivid I’d say, and not only in the past a year or two. Some local heroes are: 032c, Dummy, Mono.Kultur, Flaneur, Berlin Quarterly, Foods, Texte zur Kunst, Fukt, Still, Achtung, Art Aurea, to name but a few…
Which titles are your personal favourites?
There is no such thing any more as a personal favourite. Or let’s say it’s hard to focus… The tenth issue of The Plant is keeping it up; Fount #1 looks promising; South as a State of Mind – its Documenta journals seem to me a good way to communicate something like the Documenta months upfront [the Athens-based biannual mag has devoted a series of four special issues to the major modern art exhibition Documenta, which this spring will open in the Greek capital as well as in its traditional home of Kassel, Germany].
System magazine is nice to read; Off Black Magazine is very welcome as a new fashion title, as is Vestoj for questioning the same; the German magazine for contemporary culture Die Epilog gives me a break from English; A SMALL Anthology by Mousse Magazine appeals to me from a design point of view; the Spanish magazine for adult entertainment Odiseo is always good eye-candy; and Candide – Journal for Architectural Knowledge from Aachen, Germany, covers [architecture’s] creative practice quite nicely, even for non-architects.
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