“Books are ships which pass through the vast sea of time”, Sir Francis Bacon, the great philosopher born in the heart of London, was once saying. Just like books, people are passing through the vast sea of time, and once in a while, here and there, they meet.
I came from the land of Marin Sorescu, she came from the place that gave the world the great Eminescu. Fate had us meet in London, where the Western civilization has all but forgotten the Eastern romanticism. This is how we met. Two people in love with books, who then feel in love with each other.Our love for the written word has brought us together, while we were searching for a book in Romanian. We met, we talked, we exchanged books and we stayed together.
Not long after, we realized that Romanians from Great Britain are facing a cultural barrier. They cannot find books written in Romanian. There were none, neither in bookshops, nor in local libraries. This is how this website came to be. We want to share with other people what we have most dear, the books. We know we won’t be alone, that others will join us, and Romanian culture will grow roots here too, so far away from home. For us, this Romanian bookshop, so many miles away from our home country is more than just a bookshop, it is a bridge between us and what we left behind, at “home”: it is childhood, family, culture.
We started selling books online for the Romanians in Great Britain since 2014. It is a path that no one has traveled before. We were alone on the market, but we didn’t know how Romanians from Great Britain will answer to our offer. The answer came quickly. We started online, and within a year we had a place where clients could come and read a book and where they could buy directly from the shop, like in any other bookshop. It brought us closer to our clients, people now have more faith in us, because we exist physically, not only virtually on the Internet. If for two years we exclusively addressed the Romanians in Great Britain, from 2016 we’ve decided to make a big step beyond the border. So we started deliveries in other 26 European countries. The idea came to us from the Romanians located in other countries in Europe, who also want to read books in Romanian.
We also changed our website’s platform. The old platform could not handle the on growing requests. This new platform offers our clients a much more pleasant virtual experience when browsing through the website for their favorite books. Moreover, it takes less time when submitting orders, so people save time. For orders we’ve added new payment methods, delivery fees have been considerably reduced and we’ve also added a version in English language. And because London is quite large, we’ve decided to accommodate the needs of Romanians from other areas, than that where our book shop is located. Therefore, together with several Romanian shops, we’ve set up bookstalls from where Romanians can choose books from our supply. Our great scholar Nicolae Iorga was saying: «A book is a support, a solace, an impulse. Some books you owe as you owe your best teacher. Even more, some teach you as much as your own parents… But then, we must be selective in our reading».
We have contracts with some of the most important publishing houses in Romania, and the book supply of cartiromanesti.co.uk becomes more and more diverse. You can find books from world literature and the Romanian classics, recipe books and dictionaries, children books and spelling books, books for mothers, for personal development, romance books, magazines and calendars, biographies and memoirs, journalism and essays. All of them in Romanian, at your lowest prices.
Take your pick. For solace, for support, for impulse.
Paula Elena Stamate