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Meet the stockists: Papercup, Beirut

Since opening its doors in Beirut’s Mar Mikhael neighbourhood eight years ago, Papercup has been at the heart of Lebanon’s blossoming independent publishing scene. In addition to selling magazines, journals, stationery and books, the store hosts events and has its own coffee shop. Recently Papercup launched The Sounder, an online magazine about culture, society and politics. We spoke to Papercup’s owner, Rania Naufal, about how it all came together…

What inspired you to open Papercup?
I had been thinking about opening such a place for years before finally doing it. Recently I found a notebook which dates back to my graduate years in New York in which I describe a place like Papercup. So that must have been 2001. I rented the space at the end of 2008 and opened in June 2009. I can’t really say exactly what inspired me. Maybe my many encounters with printed material and the people around them. As for why I opened a café, well, it’s difficult to start anything without coffee. At least for me.

What’s the indie magazine publishing scene like in Lebanon?
It was almost dead for a while (due to the civil war and its consequent damages) but it has been sprouting and rising again for a few years now. We see new publications every year, some more interesting than others.

How do you choose the magazines that go into the shop?
For a long time, I made the decisions alone. Based on experience (I had been in the magazine distribution business since moving back to Lebanon, and before that in publishing in NYC), personal taste and hunch. However, it is now a team decision.

What are your current favourite magazines?
DG, obviously. Luncheon. Scenario. Journal Safar. The Carton. The Alpine Review. Happy Reader. Grazia France.

Tell us about The Sounder – what’s the idea behind this online magazine?
We wanted to communicate a bit more while also talking to our audience. It’s a chance to share what we love that’s not limited to books, magazines and coffee.

What does the future hold for Papercup?
Good things. I hope.

Papercup, Agopian Building, Pharaon Street, Mar Mikhael, Beirut, Lebanon. +961 144 3083,


A slower, more reflective type of journalism”
Creative Review

Jam-packed with information... a counterpoint to the speedy news feeds we've grown accustomed to”
Creative Review

A leisurely (and contrary) look backwards over the previous three months”
The Telegraph

Quality, intelligence and inspiration: the trilogy that drives the makers of Delayed Gratification”
El Mundo

Refreshing... parries the rush of 24-hour news with 'slow journalism'”
The Telegraph

A very cool magazine... It's like if Greenland Sharks made a newspaper”
Qi podcast

The UK's second-best magazine” Ian Hislop
Editor, Private Eye
Private Eye Magazine

Perhaps we could all get used to this Delayed idea...”
BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme