Friday, November 25, 2011

Best Independent Bookshops in London

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Photo by RachelH

This is a guest post from Preeti Vadgama from Hostelbookers. Despite the gaining popularity of Kindle, Kobo and a whole host of e-book readers, physical books still hold a special place in our hearts. Nothing beats browsing entire shelves of books and finding one that catches your fancy. Here's one for the book lovers. 

London’s top independent bookshops cultivate a dedicated following of bookworms who want something more from their book buying experience than just the cheapest price. Reading is incredibly popular among Londoners; of course there are plenty of big-chain bookshops across the capital, but for a more unique experience check out the independent bookshops available. And for all you travellers, with cheap London hotels all over the capital –why not indulge in a few days of bliss to focus on your reading passion.

Camden Lock Books
So called because it was the place of inception, Camden Lock Books is now actually in Old Street Station. As one of London’s most iconic book shops Camden Lock Books specialises in photography books, local history and books on contemporary music. The shop has been running since 1984 and now has a wide stock of exclusively new books, including out of print books from Amazon Marketplace. They also have regular signings – most recently with Phil Jupitus and John Hegley.
Old Street Station, EC1Y 1BE
Mon-Fri 8:30am-7pm
Sat 12noon-5:30pm

Arthur Probsthain
This Oriental and African Bookseller has been trading for more than 100 years. The family-run bookshop stocks both great classics and modern novels from China, Japan, South-East Asia, South Asia, Africa, India and the Middle East. Just around the corner from the British Museum Arthur Probsthain’s has a full catalogue of out-of-print and antiquarian books as well as an on-site tea shop, Tea and Tattle.
41 Great Russell Street, WC1B 3PE
Mon-Fri 9:30am-5:30pm
Sat 12noon-4pm

John Sandoe
This Sloane Square independent book shop was once a poodle parlour, but now the 18th century building proudly serves its loyal book-reading customers. Around 25,000 books are crammed into every nook and cranny throughout the three floors so you’re sure to find something to interest you. The knowledgeable and dedicated staff will try their hardest to get their hands on any book you request – even if out of print – to satisfy orders sent by fax, email and phone.
10 Blacklands Terrace, SW3 2SR
Mon-Sat 9:30am-5:30pm
Wed 9:30am-7:30pm
Sun 12-6pm

Nomad Books
A real community bookshop with a cafĂ© and a book club, Nomad Books’ big, comfy sofas are perfect to slip into while you sample the books on offer. The staff are integral to the shop and will be happy to give you a personalised recommendation. Published authors regularly come in for talks and signings – most recently they’ve had Mary Berry come in for a chat with the customers and some yummy cakes.
779-781 Fulham Road, SW6 5HA
Mon-Fri 9am-7pm
Sat 10am-6pm
Sun 11am-5pm

Brick Lane Bookshop
Once known as Eastside Books, the Brick Lane Bookshop on Brick Lane has been providing the East End with books for more than 30 years. Not only do they have an excellent range of fiction, travel, classics and poetry, the Brick Lane Bookshop also plays host to some of the biggest names in literature, including most recently Michael Rosen, the poet, scriptwriter and broadcaster. There’s also a whole section dedicated to cards, wrapping and gifts.
166 Brick Lane, E1 6RU
Mon-Sun 11am-6:30pm

Koenig Books
Located in the Serpentine Gallery Koenig Books is the main London branch of Europe’s largest independent bookshop Walther Koening Books Ltd. They have a wide stock international stock of books on modern and contemporary art, photography and architecture. It also specialises in artists’ books, monographs and catalogues.
The Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA
Mon-Sun 10am-6pm

Slightly Foxed
Filled with carefully selected old books Slightly Foxed prides itself on its excellent selection of new and classic reprint books from unique and small publishers. The shop is also a launch pad for their Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader’s Quarterly publication and their successful limited edition pocket hardback series Slightly Foxed Editions. Tony Smith runs the shop along with his well-informed helpful staff. They welcome any ‘weird and wonderful request’ and even offer a monthly book club for customers to join.
123 Gloucester Road, SW7 4TE
Mon-Sat 10-7pm
Sun 11-5pm

Southbank Book Market
Open rain or shine this book market under the Waterloo Bridge is one of South Bank’s top attractions. Browse the titles in the joy of the fresh air with the London Eye and Big Ben in the background. Great for random rare editions of classics and manuscripts you never thought you’d see again. You’re sure to come across some literary rare treasure here, at a fraction of the price you’d pay in the shops too.
Under Waterloo Bridge, Queen’s Walk, SE1 7GA
Mon-Sun 11-7pm

Have you come across any other independent bookshops that left an impression? 

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