If cultivating two universities is some indication of Brighton’s dedication to innovation and learning, it’s perhaps no surprise the city is fertile grounds for unique, homegrown bookshops. Here are the best independently-run booksellers to help you read up on your specialist subject, or lose yourself in the nooks and crannies of your imagination.
There’s little the Kemptown Bookshop doesn’t offer in the way of variety; from literary fiction, to an extensive children’s collection, to limited edition print (and the home of Bookroom Art Press), each satisfyingly hinted at just beyond the brick-fronted, many-paned shop front. Its quaintness belies a sophistication that will please art lovers and bibliophiles alike.
A quiet space to escape the bustling traffic of the North Laine, Brighton Books ticks all the boxes for serious book seekers. Specialising in second-hand fare, there’s an air here of studious reflection amongst the wooden shelves. Spread over two floors, the staff are knowledgeable and decorous.
From book-covered floor to ceiling, City Books is a sparkling example of the browse-and-linger booksellers from days past, still going strong after over 25 years. Founders Paul and Inge Sweetman have curated a stimulating programme of readings, events and even gin tastings, keeping the written word at the beating heart of Hove.
Colin Page Antiquarian Books
Crossing the threshold here is a ticket back in time – a time when a book was a special, rare thing to hold in your hand. Across the stacks and up the spiral staircase, visitors breathing the fine dust of beloved, second-hand tomes are transported into a reverie of nostalgia. This hand-picked collection is not available online and it’s all the better for it.
The Book Nook
A children’s book shop should be a magical place – and the award-winning Book Nook is no exception. With regular signings, readings and arts and crafts, there’s plenty to fire young peoples’ imaginations, instilling a love of storytelling in the next generation. Best of all, there’s a pirate ship to settle into for a while with your newest purchase.
Once the refuge of the misunderstood and angst-ridden, comics and their step-sibling the graphic novel are reaching much broader, diverse audiences each day. Classic names like Marvel, DC and Adventure Time sit alongside pioneering works from the likes of Daniel Clowes, Neil Gaiman and Marjane Satrapi. To visit Dave‘s is to immerse yourself in a world – or, in fact, hundreds – you didn’t know existed.
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