Best British Book shop

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Best British Book shop

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jun 8, 2007, 1:57pm

Local book shops really need our support as they battle the effects of Amazon and supermarket bargains. Which is your favourite shop and why?
I have several but was recently really impressed by the Torbay Book shop in Devon. I was after a particular title and the staff did evrything possible to track it down.

2sea11song Første besked:
jun 9, 2007, 6:19am

My favourite bookshop at the moment is Harbour Books in Whitstable - I can spend a good two hours there and come out with a stack of brilliant reads.

jun 16, 2007, 7:11am

Wenlock books in Much Wenlock, Shropshire is my absolute favourite. The ground floor is full of tempting new books and then the floors above are crammed with marvellous second hand stock. The best part of the experience, however, is the knowledge and friendliness of the staff. Go in there looking tired and jaded and I bet you don't come out before they've made you tea to perk you up.

jun 19, 2007, 2:34pm

Heffer's in Cambridge used to be superb - another shop that was hard to get out of. I was last there a couple of years ago and it was still good. Any suggestions for the best shops in Plymouth? The Waterstones there is very poor indeed.

jun 20, 2007, 10:43am

An acquaintance of mine lives in Solihull and is bemoaning the fact that there are no bookshops there. Can this be true? Does anyone have any recommendations? New or second-hand?

jun 20, 2007, 11:24am

I like Murder One in the Charing Cross Road - while I buy many of the old crime novels I read online, I like to browse too, and rediscover authors I've forgotten.

Bridge Street Bookshop in Berwick-on-Tweed had a wonderful basement full of secondhand books, but it's been taken over recently and I don't know if the new owners have changed it. Worth a look, though - there's not a lot of competition in Berwick on a wet day.

jun 20, 2007, 6:46pm

Is Hay-on-Wye really the book lovers heaven it's made out to be? If so, does anyone know of specific bookshops there that stand out above all the rest?


jun 25, 2007, 7:45am

Yes, Hay really is a fantastic book lovers haven - the perfect place for a relaxed weekend away set in beautiful countryside. The festival is excellent but it is really hard to get accomodation and the events can be quite pricy. I'd reccomend going out of season - early spring or autumn - it is a perfect mooching town. Chattertons have a very comprehensive range of new books and there are plenty of treasures to be found in the secondhand shops.
You might also want to visit the resident cartoonist Brian Platt - his book How To Draw Cartoons is great for all ages

jun 26, 2007, 8:33am

Yes, Osbaldistone, Hay is fantastic! It's really heaven on earth for a booklover. I always go to the Festival, but also make two or three trips at other times of the year when I'm in need of a "Hay fix." My favourite shops there are Addyman, the Hay Cinema Bookshop and the Children's Bookshop. But there's a shop for everyone in Hay - shops that specialise in first editions, mysteries, sport, poetry, etc. You should definitely plan a trip!

jun 26, 2007, 7:54pm

>8 Bookbox: and 9

Thanks. Sounds like I need to save my pennies, squeeze in another bookshelf or two, and plan a visit.


aug 1, 2007, 7:09pm

Anyone have any suggestions for good book stores (particularly used ones) in Edinburgh? While I'm asking (and I know it isn't British), how about Galway, Ireland?

Best - adamallen

Redigeret: aug 1, 2007, 7:28pm

>11 adamallen:

Try this one in Galway: I buy from them by mail, but I hope one day to visit the store!

aug 1, 2007, 12:53am

Romanus -

Excellent! Thanks for the suggestion and I look forward to leaving Galway with a few treasures from Kenny's.

Best - adamallen

aug 6, 2007, 4:37pm

>11 adamallen:
On the "Irish Librarythingers" group under "Second-hand bookshop recommendations other than in Dublin?" topic, sean2euro just posted:

"i like 'the bell book and candle' in galway. good prices-vast selection"


aug 6, 2007, 5:48pm

#8 & 9: It's a dream of mine to visit Hay on Wye. When I finally get back to England, I'm going to have to make my dream come true.

Redigeret: aug 9, 2007, 2:46pm

I don't own this book, but the brief description I saw suggests it might be a good reference for British lit fans in general, and bookshop hunters in particular.

Allan Foster's "The Literary Traveller in Scotland" (sorry, but I'm not willing to search through 250 options for the touchstone). The blurb says that, besides locations with literary connections (birthplaces, homes, burial sites, pubs, etc.) it also includes the "best second-hand bookshops".


aug 9, 2007, 8:52pm


Great info. Thanks!


aug 17, 2007, 1:19pm

Just fell on this thread. Hay-on-Wye sounds funny to me because I stayed close to there (between Brecon and Hay) in a youth hostel for a couple of weeks when I was a teenager. (Nostalgic sigh...) We used to hitch-hike there, but I noticed no books at that time (in the 1960s). Do shops there open all week-ends when the Festival if off, or does one need to check the schedules?

aug 17, 2007, 2:10pm

Pepys, this might give some background into Hay's bookselling tradition:

So, it did start in the '60s, but I don't think it really became a true "book town" until after you stayed there as a teenager.

And, yes, the shops are open all year round, weekdays and weekends - not just during Festival time! If you're going for some serious book shopping, I'd actually recommend not going during the Festival.

Redigeret: aug 19, 2007, 8:00pm

Thanks. And, yes, I know things have changed a lot since I was a teenager. Moreover, at that time, we were more interested in playing darts in pubs and drinking pints of cider. This can be also considered Best of British...

Edited PS: And what do you think of this English bookshop called Shakespeare and Co. in Paris on the bank of the Seine? To me, it is one of the funniest places I know where one can buy books, but also have a nap on very worn and dusty sofas in company of a cat. Is this bookshop well-known on the other side of the Channel, or are such places quite usual in GB?

aug 23, 2007, 3:02pm

Shakespeare and Co. is an online bookstore out of New York City. The Paris bookstore sounds like a lot more fun, though.


sep 4, 2007, 8:38pm

I'm visiting London for the first time, currently staying in a hotel in Kensington, off Crompton Road. I visited Foyles Bookshop, Murder One, and Blackwell, all on Charing Cross Road, earlier today. Any other recommendations on independent London book shops?

Redigeret: sep 8, 2007, 6:29pm

Kidzdoc, I would try Daunt Books, on Marylebone High St. It's a great bookshop for anyone, but since you are interested in books from around the world, head to their downstairs area, where fiction, history, memoir, etc., are all filed by country along with the travel books!

My own recommendation for this thread would be Topping and Co, in Ely, Cambridgeshire - friendly staff, interesting books, and regular author events - oh, and free coffee for browsers. What more could you ask for? But don't take the window seat... that's mine!

sep 8, 2007, 10:25pm

Ha ha! Thanks, wandering_star; I'll check out Daunt Books tomorrow.

sep 26, 2007, 7:40pm

Copperfields on Hartfield Road in Wimbledon is wonderful - it's practically my second home.

okt 5, 2007, 7:29pm

Oh, Heffers of Cambridge without a doubt.With a vast stock and on the whole a very knowledgeable staff it has got to win the prize.

maj 11, 2008, 7:51pm

I go to Blackgull Bookshop in Camden a lot for second-hand books, but my all-time favourite independent is The Penzance Bookshop (in Penzance).

maj 11, 2008, 8:36pm

I'd second the votes for Murder One and Heffers on here and add a plug for the recently opened Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, plus the Outdoor Book Market on the South Bank outside the National Film Theatre for second hand stuff.