You might have heard the good news: we're having a baby! Well, a book baby, that is. After years of bringing you the best of the best of travel tips on the web, we decided to take pen (or printing press) to page & bring you an amazing, practical, beautiful guidebook to the city that is nearest & dearest to our heart. Which city is that, you ask? Why, Amsterdam of course! So now it's time for the countdown to begin.
As our publishing date grows ever closer, we want to give you some sneak peeks into what's to come to get you as excited as we are. Our book is nothing without the incredible shops, restaurants, bars & businesses we love, so it's important to us that you get to know them a bit as well. That's why, until the launch of our book, we are going to be bringing you interviews with the inspiring founders of some of our very favourite spots.
Today, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Roy Rietstap, the mastermind behind MENDO, the coolest bookstore in the city (& maybe in the world!). Keep reading to find out what makes this bookworm tick.
gloobles: Roy! So cool we get to chat with you. Can you tell us how MENDO came into being? What was the idea behind it?
Roy: To inspire & share our love for paper, books & images.
gloobles: Sounds like a great idea to us. We know that MENDO also publishes books in addition to selling them. How did the evolution take place?
Roy: Well, we first evolved from graphic designers to booksellers. So evolving from that into a publishing house was a pretty logical step. With this, we combine our love for imagery & paper with our initial profession, which is design.
gloobles: A very logical step indeed. So, we love your location; what was the rationale behind settling in the 9 Straatjes?
Roy: There's not much rationale there. We walked through the 9 Straatjes some 17 years ago - & you have to know that back then they weren't half as fancy & popular as they are today - but we were inspired by its charm. & so we decided we wanted to be part of it. You might say that MENDO & the 9 Straatjes up together.
gloobles: Well, we certainly love the location. So would you say Amsterdam is also significant for MENDO?
Roy: It is because we are & we love Amsterdam, but we're open to NYC as well!
gloobles: New York is never a bad idea! Speaking of the Netherlands, how would you describe the publishing world here?
Roy: As far as we can see, it's quite conservative & old-fashioned.
gloobles: Somehow, that's not surprising, so it's a breath of fresh air to have you guys here. You are, in fact, very different from the rest, but what would you say sets MENDO apart?
Roy: This may sound strange, but we're not really concerned with what differentiates us from other publishers or bookstores. We started MENDO because we had a hunger for visual inspiration. To fulfil that need, we created a store with a collection of books that we would want. More recently, we started to create books we'd want to buy ourselves & started a webshop we'd like to browse. So basically, we take ourselves as the benchmark for everything we do.
gloobles: It's funny you say that because so many businesses seem to come to fruition out of a personal need or desire. Have you always been fascinated by books?
Roy: There has always been a fascination for images, for photography & graphic design.
gloobles: It definitely shows in your shop & the books you publish. Speaking of the shop, why did you ask Concrete Architectural Associates to design the shop? What were the ideas?
Roy: Because we believe Concrete was & still is one of the best in the Netherlands, & since they didn't do much retail, we figured that MENDO could be interesting for them as well. Our idea was: design a classic library in a modern way. & they came up with 2000 real black books to build the store with.
gloobles: It looks pretty damn cool, if you ask us. Now we're curious: what are your favourite books?
Roy: These are some classic favourites.
gloobles: So we know some of your favourites, but would you be able to narrow it down to one if you could only read one book for the rest of your life?
Roy: It will not happen...
gloobles: Haha, let's hope not! Obviously, MENDO is your favourite bookstore, but are there any others you love?
Roy: We have symptathy for every bookshop, but I'd like to mention Xantippe (110 metres from MENDO), De Kookboekhandel & Scheltema.
gloobles: We will most definitely be checking those out. Alright, one last thing: describe MENDO in five words or less.
Roy: Creator & curator of books.