In spite of the difficulties facing the publishing industry, there are still a lot of bookshops in London which are managing to survive. Here are five I deem to be among the Most Awesome.
The flagship store on Charing Cross Road is a haven for book-lovers everywhere. It is vast yet not at all intimidating. Its specialisms include the Grant & Cutler foreign language department and the sheet music section on the top floor. Ray’s Jazz Cafe is also very cool.
(2) Oxfam Books
Oxfam Books on Bloomsbury Street definitely has one of the best collections of second-hand books around with all proceeds going towards a very worthy charity. Oxfam Books on Marylebone High Street also has a great selection. Of course, every charity shop is different depending on what has been donated to them so there are gems to be found everywhere.
(3) Daunt Books
Daunt Books is a travel bookshop but it contains plenty of other books too. All fiction books are organised according to the author’s country of origin. The displays are very eye-catching and it is obvious that a great deal of thought goes into their presentation. The shop on Marylebone High Street also has really beautiful interiors.
(4) Waterstones (Gower Street)
Obviously, Waterstones is a chain but the Gower Street store is pretty special. It has a huge collection of foreign literature as well as second hand and remainder books which are difficult to find in other branches across the country.
(5) Camden Lock Books
Confusingly, Camden Lock Books is no longer located in Camden Lock Market itself but can now be found in the underpass near Old Street tube station. It’s quite small but as you can see from the picture, not an inch of space is wasted!
What is your favourite bookshop (in London or elsewhere)?
22 responses to “Five Awesome Bookshops in London”
How I wish bookshops were like that here!
I’m glad to hear bookstores are making a go if it in London. They’re hard pressed to survive here.
These are on my list whenever I get to London!
I´m a big fan of Book-Cycle. I can´t say much for the organisation as a whole, but I´m very fond of the Exeter branch. It´s not enormous physically, but absolutely crammed with second-hand books. It´s got a very Olde Worlde feel, and an unusual pricing structure: you can buy up to three books a day, and you pay what you feel comfortable in paying. The fact that it´s essentially a book-based charity shop only makes it better!
Here´s a glimpse of its ground floor:
What a great list! I so wished I lived in London (or at least traveled there often!) It looks so quaint and charming.
The choice is dwindling in Seattle. Elliott Bay Book Co. is still the best.
So, in a bookstore that files authors by country, would Conrad be under Poland? And Nabokov under Russia? Seems odd.
I just found out I’m going to London…I’ll be sure to pack this list of book shops and hopefully check some out. How timely! Thank you.
Will definitely check these out. Thanks!
How I love a good bookshop.
Clapham Books on Clapham High Street is charming and staffed by passionate book-lovers who can tell you all sorts of tidbits about your chosen title (http://www.claphambooks.com)
And if you want a bookshop with history, Hatchards on Piccadilly is a rambling cavern that has been around for centuries and really belongs on Diagon Alley…
There’s a brilliant independent bookshop off Russell Square, on Marchmont Street. Best in London for me.
I know it’s not real but can I add Black Books to your list? I’ve been watching it again recently, it just makes me laugh!
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I hope you don’t mind but I have nominated you for a Liebster Award as I always enjoy reading your blog. Details of the award can be found on lazycoffees at http://wp.me/p2RKjC-99
Although I spent a couple hours in Foyle’s today, I love local bookshops too! I have a great one near me, West End Lane Books, which is very dear to my heart: http://welbooks.co.uk/.
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Wonderful post! Camden Lock Books looks like my kind of bookshop – can spend the whole day browsing and book-buying there 🙂
I love local book shops. A very good one near me closed in the last couple of years. It’s now a coffee shop. But a children’s book shop opened nearby and it’s really lovely. You can stop in and have a coffee and they run events that aren’t geared just for children. I’ll give them a little plug: Pickled Pepper Books in Crouch End (http://www.pickledpepperbooks.co.uk/)
How nice to be able to visit the famous book street in London, and visit one of the nice bookstores posted here. The bookstore I love was Borders, which was where I got all my books when they were still around.
This is a great post. I love the books shops on Charing Cross Road!
I’ve just followed you 🙂
Thank you for visiting my blog. I shall follow you now as I have already found some back-catalogue posts to enjoy. I have just been around the world and interestingly in Australia/New Zealand it is the big stores that are crashing and in America and Canada it is the independents. Odd? And although this post is months old can I shout a last hurrah for Primrose Hill Books NW1 and The Riverside Bookshop in Hayes Galleria SE1 – yes I know they are on opposite sides of London, but people read everywhere. Both of these independents are run by people who actually read the books themselves, famously in PHB I once took a friend who knew the book he wanted but couldn’t remember either title or author??!! He began to describe it and Jessica said “oh, that’s William Trevor, his new short stories”, and later I did the same. When Steph Penney’s first book came out I wanted to re-read Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone, but couldn’t remember who had written it, at the time of asking and lo! Jessica knew without having to look it up.
Thanks for bringing Camden Lock Books to people’s attention. We’ve recently launched an new blog called The Bookseller of Silicon Roundabout too.
My favourite bookshop in London is “Slightly Foxed” on Gloucester Rd. Small, independent, good 2nd hand selection – and their own, unique, editions too… https://foxedbooks.com/
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