Second-hand bookshops

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Second-hand bookshops

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Mar 8, 2007, 6:00am

As much information as possible about interesting second-hand bookshops you know of please. Name, address, stock, atmosphere etc. Also charity bookshops and discount stores, if they are worthy of note.

There's none in Slough, but there are several in York, where I used to live. What with all the second-hand bookshops, charity shops and discount stores, it's a bit of a mecca, but you would have to explore a bit to find them all, as they are scattered all around the city. There's also a Borders and a Waterstones.

My favourite second-hand shop in York:

Ken Spelman
70 Micklegate
YORK North Yorkshire YO1 6LF
tel: 01904 624414
Open: Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 5.30.

The casual visitor to York is unlikely to pass this shop because it's on the wrong side of the river, away from all the tourist attractions. It one of those large shops you can explore. Stock is mostly non-fiction. It's well staffed, and they wrap your purchases in brown paper and sellotape, which is nice.

Mar 8, 2007, 6:05am

Great thread topic!

I can't add any because any I have known have been closed for a (long) while.

Mar 8, 2007, 12:13pm

This is a really good one:

Toby English,
Antiquarian and Second-Hand Bookshop,
10 St.Mary's Street, Wallingford,
Oxfordshire. OX10 0EL
Tel./Fax. : 01491 836389

Lots of stock on many subjects (but art a speciality), an air of welcoming chaos with piles on the floor, book talk if you want it.

Mar 12, 2007, 6:29am

Mine`s quite good !

Mar 12, 2007, 9:21am

Flying Pig
York Road
Kings Heath

Stocks a wide range, quite jumbled, but you never know what you're going to find. So atmospheric that when I returned to KH and found it, but in a different location to when I'd first gone there years ago, I recognised it by the atmosphere and smell, but not layout, and was relieved when I was told it *had* moved since I was last there!

Kings Heath is notable for its many charity shops, all with books. I can recommend the Kidney Research at the Moselely end of the High Street, next to the In Shops - all paperbacks 4 for £1 and some good ones there. Mention you know Liz, the BookCrossing lady, if you go in there! Well, if you go in either here or Flying Pig, actually!

Editado: Mar 12, 2007, 9:49am

Baggins Books in the High Street, Rochester, Kent, claims
to be the largest secondhand bookshop in England:

Oxfam bookshops can be very good and enable one to spend money on books while not feeling guilty as you know it's going to a good cause. I have bought scores of books from the one near where I work (the Strutton Ground one in Westminster, as seen in many of my tags).

Mar 12, 2007, 9:59am

One I visit on my annual trip to Canterbury is the Chaucer Bookshop just a couple of minutes from the centre but like lots of these places easily missed unless you know about. It's at 6-7 Beer Cart Lane opposite an old inn called the Three Tuns. Not a huge place but I usually walk out with something.

Here in Inverness we have Leakey's Bookshop which is right at the very end of Church Street. It's in an old church and has a huge wood-burning stove in the middle and a spiral stair up to a gallery. Worth a look but it's a while since I've been as I find it quite expensive.

Like #6 I quite like the charity shops of which there are several although the Oxfam one isn't all that good.

Mar 20, 2007, 3:27pm

I like most of the bookshops in Hay! In fact, I'm making a pilgrimage there this weekend and hope to return home laden with goodies.

Abr 7, 2007, 1:17pm

I`ve not been there for ages ! Do they still have the big outdoor shelves filled with old books and an honesty box for you to leave 50p for each book you take ? I`d like to think they do, but sadly, I suspect not.

Anyway, we`re just back from a holiday in Yorkshire. we stayed near Sedbergh, a small town - hardly even a town really -on the Yorkshire/Cumbria border, which has a number of bookshops, though some better than others. We visited a branch of Mark Westwood - their other branch is in Hay, I think. I bought Boys Will Be Boys : The Story of Sweeney Todd, Deadwood Dick, Sexton Blake, Billy Bunter, Dick Barton et al by E S Turner and a Wordsworth paperback , Classic Victorian and Edwardian Ghost Stories, which is `distinguished` by the fact a number of the stories aren`t ghost stories at all.

Anyway, worth a trip if you`re in the area already.

Abr 8, 2007, 1:38pm

#9 - I'm not sure which bookshop in Hay you remember as having an honesty box! I wish I knew - and there are too many for me to visit all in any one given trip! Several of the shops have outdoor shelves, but I didn't see an honesty box. :(

Abr 10, 2007, 4:08am

#9 I think the bookshop you are thinking of is The Castle Bookshop and yes, they still had an honesty box in May last year (we're only allowed to go once every other year...)

Abr 13, 2007, 6:32am

Only once every other year!? You poor thing, LyzzyBee!!

Abr 14, 2007, 2:56am

I'm afraid I don't know all of the address details, but there's a lovely secondhand bookshop right down near the beach at Lyme Regis. It's one of those shops that you just love as soon as you walk in the door, stacks of books a crammed onto the shelves, perfect for anyone who enjoys a good browse (and who doesn't enjoy that, huh?) - and they have very reasonable prices too, all written in pencil on the inside cover.

So if you're ever down on the coast at Lyme, be sure to pop in, I'm sure you won't be disappointed. I'm afraid I don't know the shop name, but you can't miss it, it's just off the beach and has books practically bursting from its seams :-)

Abr 20, 2007, 7:14am

Voltaire and Russeau, in otago lane, glasgow



Editado: Abr 20, 2007, 9:10am

I'm working in Worcester at the moment. I haven't spotted any yet, so this thread prompted me to google for something. First thing I found was this about bookshops near waterways.

Also found this blog about charity shops.

Abr 20, 2007, 10:58am

Reading comments in the blog about charity shops mentioned by Noisy in message 15 I came across mention of The Book Guide (, which lists bookshops as well as all sorts of other things to do with second-hand books in the UK. It had managed to escape me previously, so I thought it worth posting here as other's of you may not know of it either. (I've also emailed the BookGuide to let them know about LibraryThing in the hope they add it to their links!)


Editado: Abr 30, 2007, 1:04pm

Just visited the award winning independant "Simply Books" off Moss Rd in Bramhall, S. Manchester. Not sure what it won an award for: fairly limited stock, not particularly well displayed, in a quiet atmosphere, not aided by piano jazz (CD) in the background. Friendly staff though and a small cafe too. Worth supporting, but only because it's one of the very few independant bookshop in Manchester.

Mayo 26, 2007, 10:55am

#10 & #11

Sorry for delay in catching up with this one.

Yes, it may have been Castle Books, at least I remember the shelving being outdoors against very high stone walls. then again, I was often not sober on my last trip. I remember getting a really nice volume from (circa) the `30s from those shelves, called Modern Essays. J B Priestley was a formative influence on my reading and I mourn the passing of the essay as a published form.

Moving on from that - one shop that may be of interest to others is a bookshop on Victoria Street, Eastwood, Notts - it`s known locally as the Hospice Shop (it`s connected to a local charity) but I think it`s actually called The Treetops Book Shop. Eastwood is not generally an area for vistors, but this shop is on the same street as a D H Lawrence museum and in nearby Kimberley there`s a D H Lawrence Visitor`s Centre which could be pulled in on the same day with ease.

Jun 6, 2007, 4:46am

If ever anyone's around the North-East, they should go to Weatherley's bookshop, 84 Whitley Road, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear NE26 2NE, Tel 0191 251 5005.
I have to declare an interest in that the chap who runs it is a friend of my fathers, though, and I'm sure the stock is made up in part of my inheritance....but although it's not the biggest in the world, there's a lot of good stuff in there.

Sep 25, 2007, 8:36am

I practically live in Copperfields in Wimbledon (37 Hartfield Road, SW19 3SG. 020 8542 0113). It's one of the few decent second hand bookshops near me and they have a VERY wide selection of stock from fiction to biography to philosophy and so on. Prices are very reasonable, too. Old Penguin books in those orange covers can be had for as little as a quid. They're tucked away a bit, unfortunately, but it's well worth seeking out. I go in there so frequently now that the chap who runs it often gives me a discount of a quid or two.

Sep 29, 2007, 9:22am


Mrs Nick and I also like those old orange Penguins, but surprisingly they`re not as sought-after as they were. Funny how things change.

A quid`s a good price, though.

Sep 29, 2007, 11:34am

A second-hand bookshop fairly near me, The Bookshop on the Heath, Blackheath, has shelves outside of old Penguins organised by colour, orange on one set, green ones on another, blue ones on a third (I think that's the three main ones). They are great to browse, but the only problem is the inconsistency of the way the titles on the spine slope, some bottom side towards the front cover, others the more normal bottom side towards the back cover. It makes for a crick on the neck perusing those shelves!

Editado: Sep 29, 2007, 1:00pm

There were also brown ones and purple.

If you were looking at `50s Penguin Classics while you`re getting a crick in the neck, the colour related to the country of origin of the work in the book. (Brown - Greek, Purple - Roman, Green - French).

I`m sure there are others, but I`ve had a a stressful day and can`t bring it to mind !

Blue penguins were non-fiction.

Just to confuse the issue, there are also the red and cream `40s Penguin specials.

Sep 29, 2007, 1:03pm

> 23

Check the Wikpedia entry:

Sep 29, 2007, 1:33pm


Excellent stuff - I had no idea it was there !

I especially liked "A Penguin relaxing and reading a good book."

Sep 29, 2007, 4:07pm

What scumbags Penguin are. (Perhaps that should be 'were': they may have changed their spots in the intervening period.) I read the story about how they had persecuted the owner of a website for four years by releasing a book using the name of an existing website as the title. Such harassment is despicable.

Editado: Nov 2, 2007, 5:58am

I'd have to recommend Ken Spelman also.

70 Micklegate
YORK North Yorkshire YO1 6LF
tel: 01904 624414
Open: Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 5.30.

In one afternoon trip bookshop browsing I found two or three books that were on my wish list for an age.

They were real gems in hardback too. Sumpter's History of the Hundred Years War, Oxford History of Ancient Greece and Hellenistic World and I could have picked up a few others. Beautifully wrapped in green quality paper witha string!

28emilyjoshea Primer Mensaje
Nov 11, 2007, 1:26pm

I just skimmed through and couldn't see that any one had mentioned Barter Books, they have a large shop in Alnwick, Northumberland,

Barter Books
Alnwick Station
Alnwick NE66 2NP
01665 604888

They also have quite a good website

Nov 12, 2007, 4:00am

Barter Books is great to visit - we went there when we were on holiday and spent a very happy day reading, watching the toy trains and drinking coffee in the old waiting room. The atmosphere is excellent and the range of books superb.

Nov 12, 2007, 2:09pm

We spent a happy morning browsing through the two bookshops in Much Wenlock, Shropshire, on Saturday.

Wenlock Books
12 High Street
Much Wenlock
TF13 6AA
Tel: 01952 727877

Much More Books
6 High Street
Much Wenlock
TF13 6AA
Tel: 01952 727992

Wenlock Books has won several bookshop awards. It's a lovely place, and has a mixture of new and second hand books (the second hand ones are upstairs, but there are new ones mingled with them, so check the inside front cover to see if it's second hand).

Much More Books is just second hand books, and is very well stocked - it goes back a long way.

I can recommend the Talbot Inn, next door to Wenlock Books, for lunch! And if you go, make sure you visit Wenlock Priory too.

Scrivener's in Buxton is well worth a visit - they have more rooms & floors than I can remember, and it is *crammed* full. Be aware it's in "high" Buxton, which is a bit up a hill from the main shops. You could combine a visit here with a visit to the regular Sunday book fairs at the Pavilion Gardens - Scrivener's is usually open on a Sunday when there's a book fair on (but not when there's not).

Scrivener's Bookshop
42 High St
SK17 6HB
Tel: 01298 73100

Pavilion Gardens
St. John's Road
SK17 6XN
Tel: 01298 23114

I also occasionally visit Booklore at:

Dagfields Craft & Antiques Centre
Centre tel: 01270 841336
Booklore tel: 01270 841594

It's not a huge shop, but it's crammed full. Wrap up warm, though, it's a unit in a big shed, basically, and can be cold in winter.

I would *love* to visit Barter Books - I've seen photos of the place, and it looks magnificent!

Abr 29, 2008, 3:51am

#28 - I love it in there. They have this little train that goes around the ceiling in the first part of the shop. I do find they can be expensive though, the coding system they use for prices never seems to be in action lol! A great shop though and they have some lovely antiquarian books.

I came across a lovely on in Harrogate whilst there at a conference the other month. It's called Richard Axe but I couldn't find a website for it.

Abr 29, 2008, 7:10am

I think London, where I live, is surprisingly poorly served for second hand shops, especially after visiting Strand Books in New York City - I wish we had an equivalent as I can safely say it is my favourite bookshop in the world.

Most of London's second hand places seem to be more aimed at antiquarian collectors than folk like me who are just looking for a cheap paperback.

I most frequently go to the Outdoor Book Market next to the National Film Theatre, or BFI Southbank, as we are supposed to learn to call it.

There's a couple of OK ones dotted around the British Museum - I'm thinking Quinto specifically, which is linked to somewhere in Hay - and Skoob in the Brunswick Centre near Russell Square. There's a dedicated Oxfam bookshop in the area too.

Talking of Oxfam shops, the last time I went into my local one I seemed to have provided most of their stock!

Abr 29, 2008, 8:31am

Has anyone been to Baggins Book Bazaar in Rochester? It's enormous. I have been there a few times but for some reason didn't find much of interest.

19 High Street
United Kingdom

Tel.: + 44 (0)1634 - 811651
Fax: + 44 (0)1634 - 840591

A place I would like to go is the BookBarn:

White Cross
Somerset BS39 6EX
Tel.: 01761 451 536

Apparently it is south of Bristol. I don't know anyone who has been there but certainly looks interesting.

Editado: Abr 30, 2008, 1:50am

#32 Talking of Oxfam shops, the last time I went into my local one I seemed to have provided most of their stock!

This made me laugh Grammath! I'm the opposite as I tend to recycle my books amongst friends from my reading group - we go away twice a year (well, not all of us, 11 or so of us) and we all take our goodies with us. However I do buy a lot from the local charity shops near me.

I have visited a great one in Derbyshire that I can't remember the name of now. I'm sure it'll come back to me.

Abr 30, 2008, 5:17am

#32 Grammath - Talking of Oxfam shops, the last time I went into my local one I seemed to have provided most of their stock!

I feel like that too. I get this paranoid feeling that my husband has been sneaking my books out of our house and giving them away to cut the numbers down. I've quite often come home and done a sneaky check to make sure my copies are still safely on the shelves.

#33 - I've been to bookbarn a number of times and it is well worth a visit. But wear something warm, it's always freezing in there. They also sell a selection of music (records and tapes as well as CD's) and have a video and DVD section but the main focus is on books and there are 1000's.

Abr 30, 2008, 5:26am

>33 StringerTowers: It's a long while since I went to Baggins, but I had exactly the same reaction - dull.

The Book Barn is seriously big: allow plenty of time for a visit. Pricing can be erratic, with some books over-priced - but also bargains to be found. There is a large-ish room of more expensive books, but mostly these are not books for collectors. It's good for locating popular-market books of years past, and for satisfying a spur-of-the-moment interest at reasonable cost.

Abr 30, 2008, 7:30am

Does nobody go to Hay on Wye any more?

The last time I was there (over 20 years ago) I must have bought 100 books! The original bookshop in the old cinema was still the best place, but there were lots of others too. I daresay its more commercialised nowadays though...

Abr 30, 2008, 7:58am

#32 Guess I was exaggerating slightly, it's just that I took some stuff into my local one last week and found they still had things on their shelves from last time I went in a couple of months ago.

Either they don't sell many books, have so many that it took a while for mine to get as far as the shelves or my tastes don't chime with those of the other inhabitants of my London suburb.

Abr 30, 2008, 7:59am

# 37 I was last in Hay in 2006 for the Festival. I came back with just the 25 books.

Abr 30, 2008, 9:34am

#37 It's a 5.5 hour drive for me so it isn't somewhere I'd go. It sounds good from what I've read on the festivals etc.

Abr 30, 2008, 5:05pm

# 37 - last went to Hay in May 2006 and came back with 31... going again this May!

Mayo 1, 2008, 3:45am

#37 - I go to Hay twice a year! Once for the Festival and once for serious book-shopping. Only a few weeks to go until my next trip! :)

Mayo 1, 2008, 3:53am

LyzzyBee - are you going to the Festival in May? If so, perhaps we can meet up? I'll be there for the whole week.

Mayo 1, 2008, 5:23am

For me it is a hassle to get to Hay. I do not drive. So it is a long train journey, followed by a long bus journey to Hay. It is just about possible to do the return journey in a single day.

Editado: Mayo 1, 2008, 6:10am

There was an article in the guardian referring to the festival on Tuesday.,,2276863,00.html

How do you hyperlink on here???

Editado: Mayo 1, 2008, 7:57am

#33 and 36

I have been to Baggins Books many times, but also find it disappointing. It is just too enormous to take in properly. And yet, despite that, their sections for some things, e.g. British history, are quite small. And the stock tends to be overpriced. Apart from one visit years ago when I bought a pile of Russian history books, I have bought almost nothing there since.

And the second hand bookshops in Charing Cross Road are also not as great as they probably should be. I do get stuff from there, and yet I am positive that, over the years, I have bought more books from the small Oxfam bookshop near my workplace than from the Charing Cross road shops and Baggins put together. I go in that Oxfam shop nearly every lunchtime and pick up something on probably between half and two thirds of my visits.

#35 - I get the feeling my wife has done that too!

As for Hay on Wye, I don't drive either and it's just not a practical proposition, plus my wife gets in a tizz sometimes if I buy 3 books on one occasion, so I'm not sure I would survive a visit to Hay!


Mayo 1, 2008, 8:19am

I am a great fan of the Oxfam bookshops, and wherever possible I take my old books there rather than my local charity shop where I do offload general fiction and the like.
As for Charing Cross Road, the only second-hand shop that I make a beeline for is Henry Pordes. A strange mixture of stock but usually some interesting items. I'm not usually allowed to buy more than one or two books at a time though because my partner knows how many unread books we have in the house and can't understand why I don't read those first! My view on books - other than bestsellers - is that you have to buy them when you see them. As a bookseller I know just how quickly books can go out of print, and you might never see them again (obviously not true in the age of Abe) or more importantly you might forget what the book was.......
I've been to Hay and the first time had 8 or 9 books and less the second time. I can't really think why, but it must have been to do with the budget and presence of my partner! I too don't drive so would never be able to get there on my own more's the pity!

Mayo 1, 2008, 9:33am

#44 and #46 - andyl and john257hopper, if you plan to go to the Festival in Hay, they put on a shuttle that goes directly from the station in Hereford to the festival site! Just an FYI in case you get an itch to go! :)

Mayo 1, 2008, 1:54pm

43 No - sorry - we go on the 17th-18th - we went the week before the Festival last time and got a good deal on accommodation and lots of sales in the shops as they clear their stock to put new stuff out for the Festival... so we are going for that again! Sorry to miss you!

Mayo 1, 2008, 1:58pm

I don't donate books to charity shops any more, as I take the bulk of the ones my local one doesn't sell to put through BookCrossing, as otherwise they would be thrown away! (I do find some I want to read - if I want to read and release, I do so, if I want to keep, I go back and give them 50p per book). I can only imagine how many books go that way.

If you have books to donate, find your local BookCrossers or join yourself and give them away randomly! (sorry, not paid by BookCrossing, just enthusiastic and upset about the ones that get thrown away by charity shops!)

I have a *bad* charity shop book BUYING habit, and there are 8 on our high street...

Mayo 1, 2008, 2:19pm

#50 I know what you mean about donating books to charity shops, my local one is regularly having a buy one get one free sale. I only take very mainstream fiction there, and the odd kids book. Anything that I consider decent or of specific interest I take to the Oxfam bookshop in Marylebone High Street.

I am a bookseller and I hate to say it but I have spent a little time ripping covers off books and putting them in the recycling bin, but what we get rid of are the absolute dregs, things that have been hanging around for years, it's amazing how much dross is out there, so I can't get too precious about it.

I wish I had 8 charity shops on my high street, I only have 1, and I know their stock backwards!

Editado: Mayo 2, 2008, 9:53am

Scarthin Books, across from the old mill pond in Cromford, in the loveliest part of England (to me, anyway) - the Peak District - is the one secondhand bookshop I return to again and again.

#13 I believe the Lyme Regis bookshop referred to in Tane's message was the one where we spent a weekend last summer. It has a few bed & breakfast rooms in its upper floors - all rooms, including the bathroom, are lined with bookcases chockfull of old books.

Mayo 2, 2008, 2:22pm

Scarthin books is pretty good. If anyone ventures in that direction, there are also some attractive walks in the area, notably towards Matlock.

Mayo 2, 2008, 2:34pm

...or Cromford Canal for the less vigorous walker.

Mayo 2, 2008, 2:42pm

And a former railway line (the High Peak trail) through the Peak farmlands which can be walked or cycled...

Mayo 2, 2008, 3:20pm

#13/52 - I've been to the Lyme Regis bookshop too! More than three people in the shop and you all have to go outside and come back in again in a different order so you can look at a different shelf! I love that shop.

Mayo 3, 2008, 3:10am


I used to have a flat of similar dimensions !

Mayo 3, 2008, 8:32am


Sorry, I overlooked that earlier.

Another fun thing to do is join up some of the shorter walks in the area. I recall one myself and a friend did, Matlock Bath to Cromford, then by different route to Matlock Bath (enormous lunch at Jay Cee`s cafe), then I think on to Matlock Town via Heights of Abraham and bit of a general bat round there.

I`ve still never seen falcons near High Tor and don`t believe there are any !

Editado: Mayo 14, 2008, 7:01am


nick - I haven't seen any falcons there either, although now we have moved 'down south' I don't get into Derbyshire as much as I would like.

The best I can offer is ravens in the Malvern hills (well it was an 'event' for me - I have never seen ravens in the wild before)

Mayo 14, 2008, 4:31am

# 59

You can actually see Peregrines in Derby and Nott`m City Centres much more reliably.

Am going walking in the Cromford/Matlock area at the weekend - I`ll give Scarthins your regards if we go past !

Mayo 14, 2008, 8:15am

Down in the south, I highly recommend:

Much Ado Books
High Street
Alfriston, East Sussex BN26 5TY

They have a good selection, and they're very friendly and helpful. And it's a beautiful area to visit, too.

Mayo 28, 2008, 7:07pm

Thanks all, it's good to have these recommendations - are people putting them on LT Local? It is easier to access them there if one is travelling away from home.

I've put one entry for East Molesey and one for Mortonhampstead.

Mayo 29, 2008, 12:26pm

I have a nice independant bookshop that is closed I believe at the moment. The owner has been arrested for child pornography! :-(

Ago 14, 2009, 5:58am

#33 StringerTowers...

I live pretty much next door to the Bookbarn at White Cross, I am in the next village along that road. I love the bookbarn so much, I have worked their on Sundays' and still help out now and then. I want to work for them again, but earning too much money where I am, people think I am nuts to want to work their again :)

Also Stringer, is that your surname as I was a Stringer, got married 18 months ago and now a Brookbank!

Ago 14, 2009, 9:37am

There's a few in city centre Manchester which I check out on a regular basis. My biggest source would probably be the OXFAM shop on Oldham St. Following this there's the cabin/market stall type place on the corner of High St & Church St. Then there's the twin attack of shops around Shudehill. One more would be the Basement store on Lever St.

Oh! Almost forgot to mention that Fopp and HMV have provided an occasional source of cheap books.

Sep 19, 2009, 7:16am

Hello, Message #5 Liz I live in Birmingham too and have been a frequent visitor to the charity shops in Kings Heath for books. Also, check out Cotteridge and Harborne. There is an Oxfam bookshop in Harborne which is a little pricey but some other good shops there too. Some of the Cotteridge charity shops have regular '3 books for £1' offers.

Ene 2, 2010, 6:05pm

Claire House charity shops are always a really good place for cheap books. I always buy books there because I don't like Oxfam (£25 for a second hand book which was the size of a cd case and a second hand "vintage style" puma bag on their ebay site for £35 which my sister bought for £20). The books in my local shop are 3 for £1 or 50p each and I always buy loads, read them and take them back! I used to volunteer there too and I much prefer that shop to commercial companies such as Oxfam!

Ene 3, 2010, 10:56am

#67: Another aspect to the commercialism of Oxfam that I was previously unaware of was described in the current double Christmas issue of the Spectator magazine. It said the big charities (Christian Aid, Save the Children, RSPB) get very considerable sums from the government which has led to their politicization in ways which the writer did not consider beneficial. Also mentioned that Christian Aid which was set up in the afermath of World War II to help people overseas has more staff in Britain than overseas. I tend to discard books to Oxfam because they have a collection bin at the local supermarket but perhaps I should take the trouble to go into town and leave them with a more deserving charity.

Feb 3, 2010, 7:26pm

Not strictly a secondhand place (most of it seems to be Waterstones cast-offs!) but out on the A515 just south of Buxton in Derbyshire, there's the Brierlow Bar bookshop. Their prices are good, and I never seem to come away with fewer than 15 books. Definitely worth a look if you're in the area; my dad and I (foolishly?!) ventured up there in the snow between Christmas & New Year and came away with an excellent haul, and didn't get stuck in the snow in the end! They've got a cafe and lots of heaters, which are good on chilly drives south-east of Manchester.

Their website's here:

On the subject of the Castle bookshop in Hay-on-Wye, it was still going strong last time I was down there last May.

When I lived in London, I generally found that charity shops in well-off areas were an absolute gold mine; I lived in Chiswick and spent many a Saturday trekking up and down the High Road, and then when I moved up to Holloway, used to go to Highgate and Crouch End for my literary fix!

Feb 24, 2010, 7:27am

Has anyone mentioned Barter Books in Alnwick yet?

It's in the former railway station. Wonderful building (including model trains whizzing round on tracks above the book cases, interesting selection, and a little area where you can get a tea or coffee, and where dogs are welcome too.

Alnwick Station
Wagon Way Road, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 2NP
01665 604 888

If anyone is holidaying in beautiful Northumberland, this is well worth a visit.


Feb 24, 2010, 11:20am

>70 gennyt: Perhaps he should not be named, but Alnwick is on the Harry Potter trail, is it not?

Feb 24, 2010, 12:09pm

Indeed he is. Harry Hotspur used to be the most famous Harry, but now when you visit Alnwick Castle it's all Harry Potter!

Feb 24, 2010, 1:05pm

70> Isn't it a great place! I was there three years ago and spent a happy day browsing and investigating my finds while partaking of a great cup of coffee in the waiting room.

I shall be spending a week near Hay in May (before the festival!). Does anyone have any particular suggestions there? Last time I was there it was still just the old cinema for books... umm, quite a few years ago.

Feb 25, 2010, 10:24am

Sorry, it's been ages too since I was in Hay, and I can only remember there being so many books everywhere it was hard to know where to start!

Feb 26, 2010, 3:27am

Cinema BookShop is still my favourite. Booths was being repaired last summer and upstairs was closed. Sensible downstairs has millions of excellent books at £1 each. Cinema and Sensible are where I buy most of mine each time.

Feb 26, 2010, 11:34am

Thanks, Lyzzy - I daresay two will be (more than) enough for my wallet!

Abr 7, 2010, 1:14am

For non-antiquarian books in London my favourite bookshops are:

Judd Books
82 Marchmont Street
London WC1N 1AG


Any Amount of Books
56 Charing Cross Road
London WC2H 0QA

Both have a good range, from cheap paperbacks to modern first editions.

Outside of London I can recommend:

Red Lion Street
West Sussex GU29 9PB

Abr 7, 2010, 2:59am

>73 sarahemmm: Sarahemmm, you're going to have such fun in Hay! There are so many bookshops! The Cinema is still really good, but I always like Addyman's (there are two - the main one and the annex). Other than that, there are just too many shops to mention! The antiques centre is nice as well, and make sure you have an ice cream at Shepherd's. And if you're there on market day, that's always good fun!

Abr 9, 2010, 6:53am

78: Fun - for sure we will! Thank you for the advice; we shall certainly pause at Shepherd's. We will be visiting the Children's Bookshop definitely, to pick up some missing and loved books. Only problem is likely to be my redhot credit card!

Abr 22, 2010, 3:04pm

Not many secondhand bookshops in Pembrokeshire, but if anybody is travelling here on holiday desperate for a good read when the weather turns nasty I can suggest the following for starters.

Newport, Pembs: an antique-cum-bricabrac shop on the main road (name forgotten, but Newport is small, the shop is near the junction with Market Street) has shelves of stuff, all higgledy-piggledy, worth a browse for the occasional bargain. Some stock can't have changed for what feels like decades though!
Narberth: Animal Kitchen, despite its name, sells a mix of new and secondhand; if you can bear to, ask the owner and he will dig up a box (or move a few others) to provide access to titles in your preferred genre. Decidedly idiosyncratic, you will find you have to step over items and squeeze around other bemused (though often loyal and regular) customers.
Narberth: the Museum Bookshop (at the other end of town from Animal Kitchen) also sells a mix of new and secondhand, but is rather less chaotic than the aforementioned.
Haverfordwest: as well as the ubiquitous The Works and independent Victoria Bookshop (selling the range of stuff you might expect in, say, W H Smith) there is an Oxfam bookshop, rather small, which doesn't seem to have drawn much clientele away from the many other charity shops in the town that happen to sell, inter alia, books.
Haverfordwest: I recently discovered Twilight Bookshop in Market Street, at the top of the town, which is planning a more user-friendly approach with occasional live music, a coffee machine etc, and which also runs an online book service ( This could be promising, or it could fold within a year as it's rather a long walk up a steep hill from the main shopping streets.

Abr 23, 2010, 10:41am

> 80: ed.pendragon, are you in Pembrokeshire? I was born there and reluctantly moved away to Cornwall last year.

Animal Kitchen is one of my favourite spots!

Also, if you're willing to venture into Carmarthenshire, don't forget Corran Books in Laugharne!

Abr 28, 2010, 12:10pm

>80 ed.pendragon:,81 I had the "pleasure" of growing up in Haverfordwest, that hill is quite steep and all the lorries got stuck on it. I was amazed how much of it I remembered when I went back last year (for the first time in a long long time) but sadly didnt see the second hand book shops - it could have done with some when I lived there.

Editado: Abr 28, 2010, 3:36pm

I also like poundland. It has some amazing books but often a small selection that changes frequently. I bought Himalaya by Michael Palin and then walked into waterstones the day after and saw it on display for about £17! I also bought The Chronicles of Narnia, Bridget Jones´ Diary and David Copperfield in the 99p Store too :)

Abr 28, 2010, 3:28pm

Funny, our Poundland has usually only got the expected celebrity tat, but once they had hardbacks of David Crystal's The Stories of English (a hefty 580-page tome with a cover price of £25); I bought two – one for me and one for a colleague!

Abr 28, 2010, 3:35pm

I think they are different everywhere. My mum buys several hardbacks a week from Poundland. Lots of political type autobiographies but also many good non-fiction books too.

Mayo 28, 2010, 4:53pm

Any Oxfam shop, or any charity shop for that matter.... I love their small unpredictable collections and never knowing what you may come across. Also, I can afford them. =)

Mayo 28, 2010, 7:45pm

Oxfam shops are good, yes - in Oxford there is one devoted entirely to books (a very good range) and most of my books came from there when I was a student.

Mayo 29, 2010, 3:47am

I think Oxfam does a line of book/music only shops as we have one in St. Ives as well. It's such a treat to spend a quiet hour there!

Mayo 29, 2010, 5:04am

And one in Guildford. Have to say that their prices are a lot higher than the other charity shops.

Mayo 29, 2010, 6:21am

#86 et seq - yes, and an excellent one in Westminster near where I work, on Strutton Ground, off Victoria Street. Their prices are higher, but the raneg and quality is much better than other charity shops.

Mayo 29, 2010, 3:15pm

The one in Bangor (Wales) has a bunch of lovely old, old books, appropriately priced, but so pretty.... Find their general fiction about the same as other places, only larger, though a lot of that will be from receiving more donations. Oh, and then there's their online shop. They're less useful if you're looking for something specific, but there's Amazon trade for that.

Mayo 31, 2010, 6:40pm

*timidly peeks around corner* I'm the book volunteer for my local Oxfam shop... please don't eat me! You can find your nearest Oxfam bookshop here (they're all over the place!) -

The British Heart Foundation also have specialist bookshops. There's one on Whiteladies Road in Bristol, and I imagine there are others elsewhere.

Jun 2, 2010, 3:12am

Thanks, Pokare!

I find the biggest problem is the time spent looking at all the different sites for the books I seek. Oh for an Abebooks presence!

Jun 4, 2010, 4:39pm

From The Times yesterday:

An edition of the first Beano annual, from 1939, has raised £4264 for charity after it was handed in at a Cancer Research UK shop in St Andrew's, Fife. Featuring Lord Snooty, but not Dennis the Menace, it is believed to be one of the 11 copies left.

No bargain there, then ;-)

Jun 7, 2010, 4:08am

What a fabulous place to work, pokarekareana! Lucky you!

Jul 5, 2010, 4:52pm

Yes, I am in Pembrokeshire, moved there half a dozen years ago from Bristol which, at the time was well-endowed with bookshops (three Waterstones, one or two Blackwells, a Borders and several independent bookshops (like Clifton Bookshop) and other outlets. I was a bit dismayed to come to Pembrokeshire and find rather fewer outlets and already diminishing -- Newport's independent closed within a couple of years. I can recommend Seaways in Fishguard, small but friendly and accommodating, and including remaindered books as well as new.
Corran Books in Laugharne I know of through a lovely monochrome print generally available in art outlets which features its intriguing shopfront!

Editado: Dic 19, 2010, 2:46am

I'm temporarily 2 miles out of a small village in Devon called Winkleigh. I don't have easy transport so an absolutely brilliant find was

Winkleigh Cider Co
Western Barn
Hatherleigh Road
EX19 8AP

and not necessarily for the cider! In the foyer are lots of books of various genre. If you want one, you make your own donation into the charity box for the Devon helicopter rescue service. What a fantastic idea in this small community. And, of course, you leave any book you want to donate on the shelf.

Ene 1, 2011, 5:35pm

My favourite second hand bookshop is 'The Carnforth Bookshop' in north Lancashire. The top two floors of the building have over a dozen rooms with different genres in each room. It is well organised and has a huge range of books.

Mar 18, 2011, 11:03am

I was in Norwich visiting an aunt this week and spent a day at Blickling Hall where I discovered a fantastic second-hand bookshop. If I hadn't had to lug all my treasures back on the train with me, I'd have bought a lot more. Excellent prices, too.

Abr 4, 2011, 8:00am

I didn't know that Blickling has one - but the one at Oxborough Hall (also NT) had the same effect on me!

Hope you enjoyed your day?

Abr 4, 2011, 2:05pm

It was great! Upon further investigation, it looks as if quite a few NT properties have second-hand bookshops. A marriage made in heaven, if you ask me!

Editado: Abr 4, 2011, 6:03pm

Dinefwr Castle (NT) in Carmarthenshire also does second-hand books. The Castle is worth a visit too!

Abr 7, 2011, 4:18pm

There's also a second-hand bookshop in the stable block at Basildon Park in Berkshire, another NT property. And the main house was used as one of the locations for Pride & Prejudice (the film version with Keira Knightly that is).

Editado: Abr 7, 2011, 5:00pm

There's a warehouse in Sharston South Manchester called Sharston books, between the M60 and M56, its really big, got a lot and they sell online as well.

George Street books in Glossop is a nice place and crammed.

Marple has one called talisman books on town st that's really near the Train station and it's small but there is a really helpful guy.

Abr 26, 2011, 11:46am

I live near to Hay and it is a dangerous, dangerous town to be near! If I ever become bankrupt, Hay will be the culprit.

Abr 27, 2011, 12:23pm

On a trip miles from home I just discovered the Astley Book Farm, in the depths of the country just west of Lutterworth, which is on the M1, north of the M6. A real treasure contained in a lovely old barn. I've used their efficient internet service for a while, but it's wonderful to see the reality. Quite an experience!

Mayo 11, 2011, 8:05am

We went on holiday to North Yorkshire a couple of years ago and on a day trip to Pickering we discovered a lovely little bookshop. It seemed to be situated in the downstairs of someone's house and the walls were just lined with bookshelves. There were books stacked on the windowsills, the floor, the mantlepiece, everywhere!

I came away with a couple of Michael Jecks books for my Dad and a small stack of Tolkien (and Tolkien-related) books for myself. ^_^

Mayo 26, 2011, 4:53pm

I am a member of an Amnesty International chapter in south-east London, and on 18 June we are having our 37th annual booksale as a fundraiser in SE10 (Greenwich/Blackheath/Lewisham borders, Lewisham is the nearest station). There will be easily three tonnes of books, most for a few pounds, and most in excellent condition. This link is of our flyer with the times, and a map.

Please bring your friends.

Jun 5, 2011, 9:54am

#108 - I live in Bexleyheath, not far from you (and am also a member of AI), so I'll try to get along to this if I am free.


Ago 30, 2011, 2:29pm

I live in central Scotland and i always do the rounds on the charity shops, british heart foundation is far to expensive £2 for a book when i can get 3 for £1, totally hooked on buying books but i have hardly any time to read them!

Ago 30, 2011, 6:01pm

Those who like Hay-on-Wye and are not yet bankrupt should try to make their way to Wigtown in Dumfries and Galloway, which is Scotland's Book Town.

Sep 14, 2011, 4:33pm

Tunbridge Wells has a good selection of second hand bookshops. Halls is the most famous of them, being the bookshop in the famous Fly Fishing by J R Hartley advert for Yellow Pages. There's a constantly changing selection of books for 50p on shelves outside the shop, and inside a wonderfully ramshackle shop with books floor to ceiling on two floors - including a galleried second floor which seems too flimsy for the weight of all the books it has to support. 20-22 Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1YQ

The Pantiles Bookshop (on the Pantiles) is also worth a browse, along with its sister at 13 Nevill Street - especially good at children's books and local history.

Finally there is the inevitable Oxfam bookshop on Chapel Place - staffed by the usual cast of eccentric Oxfam volunteers. I especially recommend visiting on a Friday when THE MAN WITH THE VOICE does his shift.

Other good hunting grounds are North Laine in Brighton and the Old Town in Hastings.

Sep 15, 2011, 5:27am

Ahhh ... Halls - I had a friend who worked there when we were late teenagers and used to take advantage of her discount!

Sep 15, 2011, 7:46am

I'm going to be working near Chard in Somerset soon - does anyone know the area well enough to recommend a second hand bookshop?

Sep 17, 2011, 3:22am

On a recent visit to Yorkshire I discovered a newly opened secondhand bookshop at Harewood House, near Leeds. A building previously not open to the public, has been converted into a bookshop. It's arranged across a series of ground floor rooms, including one main large room where most of the fiction is to be found. There's plenty of stock already, although they were appealing for more children's books. There's a big dining table and a few sofa's, and you can get a coffee here as well.

It's entirely volunteer run, and proceeds will all be put back into educational initiatives at Harewood.

Details here ( but do note it is in the main visitor grounds for the Harewood Estate, so you will need to pay to get into the grounds. But the shop makes a nice addition to what's on offer when visiting Harewood.

Sep 17, 2011, 6:29am

Trelissick in Cornwall has a second hand bookshop now too.

It's not very large, but has a few nice little treasures.

Sep 19, 2011, 5:17am

There's not a lot of bookshops around the Stoke-on-Trent area sadly, not even new bookshops let alone second hand. It explains a lot, believe me. In Newcastle-Under-Lyme, where I live, one has just opened on Merrial Street but that is all. There are books to be had in various charity shops but no dedicated Oxfam bookshop. One good place to pick up second hand books though is the Flea Market that is held in Newcastle every Tuesday, there are a couple of really good booksellers who usually turn up.

Sep 28, 2011, 8:35am

There's a new guide to independent London bookshops, including secondhand out according to the Bookseller available from shops and galleries

Sep 30, 2011, 4:23pm

>118 Mweb: Sounds great!

Oct 4, 2011, 8:55am

The exponential success of Kindle and iPad (no I haven't been converted yet, but it's only a matter of time, in the same way that I now get my news online as well as from the occasional newspaper) plus other obvious economic factors are threatening the availability of bookstores, secondhand or otherwise, near all of us. What's to be done? It's not just a question of 'use it or lose it' as this article shows:

Oct 4, 2011, 2:36pm

The Guardian on Saturday included a guide to independent bookshops - some secondhand included and a few articles about selected shops.

Oct 4, 2011, 5:28pm

Saw this too. Disappointed that Wales doesn't feature at all (or at least when I first looked): does this mean there are no decent bookshops here?

Editado: Oct 4, 2011, 5:34pm

#122 - Although it might feel English, Hay-on-Wye is in Wales. Just. I might be moving nearer the Cardiff area soon - I hope there are some good independents down there...

Oct 5, 2011, 5:12am

Yes, the unilateral declaration of independence last century confused me into forgetting that 'on' the border of Wales and England actually meant it was in one or the other, and forgot it has a bona fide Welsh name for a very good reason. Thanks for reminding me!

Oct 6, 2011, 5:42am

I do love picking up a bargain from a library sell-off shelf. Yesterday I snagged a hardback Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky (in pretty good condition as well) in Great Malvern for 50p!

Oct 9, 2011, 5:48pm

125 - Bargain! I love that book, it's one of my favourites ever ever ever - enjoy!

Oct 9, 2011, 8:00pm

126 - Nice one! I am looking forward to it - maybe sooner rather than later...

Oct 24, 2011, 4:13am

One of the best second hand book shops is in Llandeilo. Stuffed full of fiction, local books, texts, as well as biogs, it's nicely presented and the couple who run it are book people with business heads. Long may it prosper in these anti-book times.

Oct 24, 2011, 2:36pm

Oh, that is a good shop, scintilla!

Newlyn Books in Penzance is pretty good as is The Cook Book in St. Just - the latter is also a favourite spot because it has a cafe and they make the most delicious soups!

Editado: Oct 26, 2011, 9:44am

One of the best second hand book shops is in Llandeilo ... Long may it prosper in these anti-book times.
I certainly hope so too, as the occasional time I visit it (perhaps two or three times a year) I'm often the only browser for much of the time.

Visited Bristol again recently and upset that so many retailers closed down in the last year or so. Apart from the well-publicised demise of Borders, the University and Park Street branches of Waterstones have gone (I know not too many people may be upset here) and the Park Street Blackwells has shrunk to one floor with limited choice (too many titles represented by multiple copies, thereby excluding other worthy titles).

That said, charity shops seem to be the mainstay there: Amnesty Bookshop (Gloucester Road) is still going strong and I discovered a British Heart Foundation bookshop at the top of Whiteladies Road. I picked up about eight good-quality recycled titles before I had to call a halt (my backpack couldn't fit in any more).

Editado: Oct 26, 2011, 2:10pm

In Dorking, Surrey, there is MXS Books in St Martin's Walk. (A pedestrian precinct - near the entrance to Marks & Spencer.) A small, but very full, shop with a quirky pricing policy - everything costs £2*. I heard the owner offer a 'deal' of 100 books for £100 - might be repeatable. St Martin's Walk is a literary oasis: the (downsized) Dorking Waterstone's is opposite, as will soon be the Public Library.

Dorking also has an Oxfam bookshop in the High Street. A good selection, if carrying the usual Oxfam premium prices.

* of course this reduces the likelihood that you will find a Ben Hur 1860, 3rd Edition with the erratum on page one-sixteen ;-)

Oct 28, 2011, 4:16pm

130 - The Blackwells on Park St has split in two - the academic books are now in new premises round the corner on Park Row.

I think the Amnesty bookshop is such a great, great shop - they seem to have a far more sensible pricing structure than some of the other charity shops. I've found some rather obscure bargains in there in the past.

Editado: Oct 28, 2011, 7:33pm

pokarekareana - I'd have to agree with that. I found a lovely old hardback The Mansion by Faulkner in the Malvern branch the other week. It's in fine condition and was only 50p.

Oct 29, 2011, 5:58pm

>132 pokarekareana:
The Blackwells on Park St has split in two - the academic books are now in new premises round the corner on Park Row.
Yes, I visited this, but it's mainly (perhaps only) recommended reading for undergraduate courses in law, sociology and a few other subjects, as far as I could see.

I think the Amnesty bookshop is such a great, great shop - they seem to have a far more sensible pricing structure than some of the other charity shops. I've found some rather obscure bargains in there in the past.
I agree, not as much as some Oxfam bookshops but not as low as other high street general charity shops. I don't if this only applies to the Bristol Amnesty shop.

I'd like here to also mention another Pembrokeshire secondhand book sourse, Carningli Centre in Newport, Pembs. Good changeover of titles from month to month, but especially good for general fiction and a good many non-fiction areas, less good for SFF and music scores. But they also do online sales. And art, railway memorabilia and antiques.

Oct 30, 2011, 8:58am

Talking about Bristol book shops, couldnt see anyone mentioning there's a couple of nice secondhand ones on Park Row: Blaze is the better, but smaller and more expensive.

Oct 30, 2011, 9:08am

>135 clfisha:
Whoops! Missed these on my last flying visit! Will make a point searching them out next time.

Oct 30, 2011, 9:10am

They are tucked away, next to the nice Smiles pub though :)

Nov 5, 2011, 7:51am

Hello - those of you who can travel to SE London - on 19 November the Blackheath & Greenwich Amnesty International chapter is having its 10th annual winter booksale - so two tons of books at even more reduced prices. It's on from 10 am to 4 pm in Church of the Ascension, Lewisham SE10, a ten minute walk from Lewisham Station. The link features a map:

Please tell your friends!

Nov 6, 2011, 2:51am

Thanks banriona - that's about 3 miles away from me, so I shall endevour to be there!

Jul 1, 2012, 3:35pm

Going to be in Berwick upon tweed next week anyone know of any good bookshops? cheers

Jul 2, 2012, 8:57am

I don't know Berwick sorry :( but I did find this link

I did go to a great one in Preston at the weekend, Halewood & Sons on friargate in the centre.. there are two on the same street but its the one furthest from the centre towards the Uni.

Jul 3, 2012, 4:17pm

Not sure about Berwick, but if you can get down to road to Alnwick there is the fantastic Barter Books in the old railway station building.

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