The First Bookseller in Istanbul – Armenian Arakel

The First Bookseller in Istanbul

The first ever bookseller in Istanbul was Armenian Arakel Tozluian. He founded a bookstore in the capital of the Ottoman Empire in 1875 and after a few years expanded his business to an entire publishing house.

In 1884, Tozluian published the first book catalog in Turkey called the “Arakel’s Library”, the purpose of which was to facilitate the search for publications for the readers.

Turkish newspaper “Birgün” wrote that all the bookstores in Istanbul originally belonged to the local Armenians. It was exactly them who had brought the culture of book shopping to the city.

In the 1890s, Tozluian’s publishing house for the first time published the books of Turkish writers Ahmed Rasim and Halid Ziya. Later, the Armenian publishing house also began to publish Turkish school books.

In 1891-1894, Tozluian published the first ever cycle of poems in Turkey in the format of pocketbooks, small-sized editions designed to be easy-to-carry.

Turkish researchers note that there is practically no biographical information about the Armenian publisher. It is only known that Arakel Tozluian was from Caesarea.

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