Reading Cures at Bookshop ‘Pharmacy’

Elena Molini in her Piccola Farmacia Letteraria

The Internet is often deemed as the number one catalyst of the world’s decrease in reading. Due to the fact, it may seem like a courageous task to just now be opening up a bookstore. Unless you are Elena Molini, who in December of 2018 opened up a distinctive bookshop, “La Piccola Farmacia Letteraria,”  in via di Ripoli, Florence.  Her philosophy is “a good book is good for the soul.”

In simplest terms, Molini’s “La Piccola Farmacia Letteraria” makes perfect use of the phrase “reading cures,” as it prescribes novels to people based on their emotional symptoms. The success of the independent shop, designed as a “bookshop pharmacy,” (or better said: a “literary pharmacy”) is reliant on the “relatability of the characters” (whether they are easy to understand and relate to) in novels. With every book comes attached a small decorative leaflet with informative contents, similar to the facts you’d find on the back of a prescription bottle. On occasions Molini consults with three friends, one a psychologist and the other two psychotherapists to accurately ascribe her customers’ “symptoms” to the relating emotions and states found in the plots of the books. In total, the shop has literary cures for up to 95 moods and feelings.

After a successful year, Molini has also accomplished another feat by publishing her own fiction book titled “La Piccola Farmacia Letteraria,” based on her experiences opening up the bookshop. 

“The story came by itself, the protagonist is Blu, a bookstore who dispenses remedies: she doesn’t look like me. She is careless, I am precise and anxious,” said Molini in an interview with la Repubblica. 

Molini’s creative idea for selling books has been a great triumph and not just in Florence. Amassing over 22 thousand followers on Instagram and over 20 thousand on Facebook, the success of this tiny independent pharmaceutical bookstore serves as motivation to think outside the box as a business owner. 

“The interest around the Pharmacy has grown, there are those who call me to open new small literary pharmacies in other cities. It’s beautiful.”  (thania garcia)

To read more in Italian, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.