In order to shed light on some of the most interesting and curated bookstores internationally, our new series Bookstores Around the World takes a closer look at some of these shops tucked across the globe.
This week, we head to Athens, Greece to peek into OMMU. Run by Marina Legaki and Tasos Gaintatzis, the pair have created a unique bookshop and art gallery space you don't want to miss.
We spoke to owner Marina to hear her insights on the independent publishing world in Athens, and how OMMU's presence participates in the 'global discussion' of artistian book production.
When was OMMU born? What was the need behind it?
OMMU was born the summer of 2010. We were involved in the zine world for many years, so the store came naturally as we wanted to create a space in Greece where all this production could be accessible to a local audience, on offer from a physical store.
What is the rarest publication you carry - a publication we might not find anywhere else?
"I Hate America and America Hates Me" by Dash Snow. Self-published by Dash Snow in 100 copies in 2009, this book is leather-bound with silver lettering on the cover.
What magazine/publication are you most proud of carrying?
RE/SEARCH #11: PRANKS! is a collection of interviews compiled by V. Vale, released in 1987. Contains 'devious deeds and mischievous mirth' from the likes of Timothy Leary, Mark Pauline, John Waters, Jello Biafra, John Cale, Henry Rollins, Boyd Rice and many more.
"The Aleister Crowley Scrapbook," edited by Sandy Robertson and released in 1988.
What is your current hit?
Toilet Paper, Issue 1, June 2010. The "Nun" cover was a big hit.
How do you think the publishing industry has evolved in the last few years — is there a regain of interest?
We think that the industry has evolved greatly. A series of book fairs and new local businesses have helped create a broader and more attentive audience. We also see better productions and focused editorials that connect the printed material to our everyday practices.
What are some challenges you have faced in your store and the broader art scene in Greece?
The biggest challenge was the opening of the store per se! There was nothing similar in Greece before we opened, so this was a real bet!
How does Greek culture or heritage influence your shop and publishing business?
Living in the city of Athens with such a long history can be daunting and heavy sometimes! On the other hand, we dig and look for pieces of culture from the past and work on resurfacing a plethora of Greek art publications from the early 60s up to the late 70s, an extension of the modern movement. We feel that all these artists books, monographs, magazines and other printed materials contribute to a global discussion around artist book production and play an active role in our work today.