Just in time for Christmas, the famous Nicosia-based bookshop, The Moufflon, has moved to new premises and reinvented itself to meet changing customer demands.
After 53 years in the same part of Nicosia, owner Ruth Keshishian made the decision not just to change location but streamline her stock by focusing on what was already the shop’s trademark, Cyprus-themed books.
Moving with the times, it is not only taking orders online, over the phone and via email but also delivers books, calendars and other items via post, and in Cyprus even to people’s doorsteps.
“With the coronavirus, a lot of people want their books delivered to their doorstep, because they are scared or careful,” bookshop owner Ruth Keshishian told the Sunday Mail. “We also gift wrap them if requested.”
Available are home and office deliveries across Nicosia and deliveries for the island via Travel Express, Akis Express and the Cyprus post.
“We also continue our exports, posting books abroad, though in recent months and currently, the post has prevented us sending to two dozen countries,” she said.
As for the move to the new premises, this comes at a time when technology is more important than an actual shop window. With online orders on the rise, there is no need for this kind of shop to be on the ground floor, Keshishian believes.
“As we don’t deal with textbooks, stationary and gifts, our online version is more energetic, so we decided to concentrate on that, and have a reasonable supply of books on the shelves for people to browse and rummage.”
Thus Moufflon is now located on the first floor of a building in the town centre.
It has always mostly specialised in books about Cyprus, accepting writings by locals and diaspora Cypriots across the world on all aspects of the island, in English and Greek, but with the more limited space is working on improving this side, keeping away from stocking books widely available on Amazon.
Interests are changing, and new books emerge accordingly. Currently there is a trend to move to village history, crafts, local food and natural history, the bookshop owner explained, and her current suggestions for Christmas shopping reflect this.
One of the items she recommends is an owl calendar for 2021, published by BirdLife Cyprus, which is a great way to get to know and appreciate local types of these endangered birds.
For a large format, luxurious gift Keshishian this year suggests the book ‘The Church of Panayia tou Arakas, a coffee table book with a large collection of photographs, exploring all aspects of this local church which is included in Unesco’s list of world heritage.
‘Taverna’, another large book with recipes and photographs, is an example of the move towards celebrating local food, and one of the volumes written by a plethora of diaspora authors who contribute to the bookshop’s collection.
Author Georgina Hayden’s grandparents emigrated to the UK in the 1950s, but her family never lost touch with Cypriot food.
For those interested in great walks, a suggestion is ‘Exploring authentic Cyprus’ by Phivos Ioannides who has explored the countryside extensively on foot, by bicycle and car. The book is complete with maps and additional information on the trees and monuments that walkers may see on his chosen paths.
More about nature can be found in the ‘Illustrated Flora of Cyprus’ written by Yiannis Christofides, an author based in Platres.
These are just a very few examples, as the shop caters for all ages and interests, for children, adults, visitors, locals, the Cypriot diaspora and scholars.
Plus, many of the items are only available in this shop or are extremely rare, not only books, but also maps, journals and brochures.
To see the collection and place orders online: www.moufflon.com.cy
Moufflon bookshop can be visited at 2, Mnasiadou street, the road connecting Stasikratous with Makarios avenue in Nicosia