I wrote about books in a previous post in this little London series, Living in London Vol.2 – Books and pubs, but there are so many bookshops in London so I decided to do a post dedicated only to bookstores.
– Tradewell’s Books is located at 33 Store St, not too far away from Tottenham Court Road Subway Station. This bookshop has a lot of second-hand books and this is a place where you can truly find a treasure if you don’t mind being in the incense of the store. Personally, I can’t be in stores with a strong incense for a long time because I get a headache. The store has a lot of cult-related books about magic, folklore, and genres that you don’t find in regular bookstores, which is one of the main reasons for a chance of finding a treasure in there. My friend and I found some really nice editions of both Dickens and Poe. We didn’t buy anything though, because I have realized that with 320 books in my ownership I have enough books for a while. Add to the fact that I’ve only read between 15 and 30 of them I think I will be occupied for a while, haha. This bookstore wasn’t my favourite, but it is still very nice and interesting to enter an unknown bookstore not knowing what you are walking into.
– Henry Pordes Books Ltd is located at 58-60 Charing Cross Rd and is a second-hand bookstore which contains so many great old books. They had a copy of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin from 1929! I purchased a nice edition of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens myself. They do books in different kinds of genre, and they are sorted in them, but not necessarily by an author so it may take you some time to find a specific book, but it is very nice to just let your eyes flicker over the shelves looking for a title to catch your eye. Student tip; they do a sale on books in two different sections of the store. If you are looking for something specific and old, then this might be a good solution.
– Any Amount of Books is located at 56 Charing Cross Rd, right next to Henry Pordes Books. This is also a second-hand bookstore which stretches over two floors. This bookstore also does bargains, actually, there are three bookshelves in the basement dedicated to this purpose only. This bookstore is also sorted by genre, but you have to look closely to find a treasure. I love that this bookstore gives you the feeling of old age. The bookshelves are old, the stairs downstairs creak and some of the books are so old my great-grandparents probably read them, but this is the charm of the whole bookstore! Of these two-second hand bookstores, I think I prefer Any Amount of Books simple because I felt that there was a more friendly atmosphere. Nobody was rude in Henry Pordes, it’s just that some stores give off atmospheres due to their interior or way of looking.
– Hatchards is located at 187 Picadilly. This is London’s oldest bookstore and it opened its doors in 1797. I think this is the prettiest bookstore I’ve ever seen in my entire life and it just made itself my favourite. It is six floors in total and the interior is fantastic. There is sofas, plants and sculptures in several places so one indeed feels the need to sit down and read. There are books everywhere in orderly fashion and everything you could possibly wish to read it in here. My friend and I spent a considerable amount of time here. I asked for help to find some books for my niece and the customer service is fantastic. I think I could have spent even more time in there if it hadn’t been for that we had several other bookshops to see today. You won’t regret a visit to this store even if it’s only for the sake of looking and btw, their bags are just as pretty as their books. I will post some pictures below.
– Daunt Books is located at 84 Marylebone High Street. I think they have the prettiest view from their gallery in my experience. The ceiling is high with glass windows so the gallery room is full of natural light which makes the room look quite nice. On the gallery floor, you can find second-hand books and also books about England, Ireland and France. The middle floor contains different kinds of genre, while in the basement there are books about the Americas, China, India and Africa. I liked how this bookstore gave off a modern yet kind of old vibe. From the outside, it seems quite modest, but on the inside, it contains quite a remarkable amount of books. Well worth a visit!
– Persephone Books is located on 59 Lamb’s Conduit St. I was a little bit disappointed in this store. I think I expected it to be something else considering what I had heard about it. I think that is what you get for not doing research beforehand right? It was quite small and just as Tradewell’s the incense was too intense for me. The incense did smell better than at Tradewell’s though. What I was surprised to discover was that Persephone only sells books by female authors, which I think is quite amazing. The books were mostly grey editions and it made quite a nice addition to the interior in general. There were several authors that I did not recognize, but my friend recognized several. I guess that just shows me that I have some more reading to do right? The walls have posters from several eras like the war and such calling on females to take action which I thought was quite cool. Yet, the bookstore had a nice, feminine touch to it, and it makes for a homey feeling in there.
I really enjoyed my day out and about with my friend looking at bookstores. Of course, there are so many more bookstores in London so maybe there will be another post later? Have you been to any of the bookstores I’ve written about?
– The Book Reader
Hatchards in Picadilly
Daunt Books in Marylebone
Persephone Books in Holborn