In the digital age of Kindles and Amazon Prime, it takes more than your standard branch of WHSmiths to tempt passers-by into a bookshop. Interesting collections, unusual gimmicks and creating the right atmosphere to get comfortable when browsing all help to create successful stores that keep print alive. If you’re a bit of a bookworm and live in the Manchester
area, here are four of the coolest independent book stores in the city that will encourage you to step away from your tablets.
The Art of Tea / Didsbury Village Bookshop
A bit of a hidden secret, this cosy little café-bar tucked down a side street in Didsbury Village is the perfect place to settle down with a good book and a cup of delicious loose leaf tea. Once you’ve ordered, open the doorway at the back of the bar and step through into a booklover’s Narnia. The decision to connect the Didsbury Village Bookshop to this charming little café was a stroke of genius, allowing visitors to browse the selection of second-hand books before bringing their purchases through to the café to enjoy with a cup of tea and locally sourced fresh food. A great place to look for gifts or niche tastes, the eclectic collection of both fiction and non-fiction offers something for everyone.
47 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester, UK, +44 161 448 9323
A good book | © Slack
Not too many people know about this relatively recent addition to the Northern Quarter, but those who do make a habit of visiting as often as possible. It’s nice to find a cosy and cool spot in the hip neighbourhood that isn’t full to capacity, with plenty of room to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and slice of cake whilst you browse their book selection. As well as offering the current best-sellers, Chapter One is perfect for those seeking something a little different, offering an unusual collection of tomes that you won’t find elsewhere in the city. The piles of reading copies mean that you can pick up a book to read with your coffee before deciding if you’d like to buy it and take it home. Keep your eyes open for their literary events and have a go at crafting your own novel in one of the typewriter booths.
Chatsworth House, Lever St, Manchester, UK, +44 161 298 2015
Typewriter | © Unsplash / Pixabay
This beloved local bookshop almost shut down a couple of years ago, riling hundreds of loyal customers who turned up to protest and proclaim their love for the family-run store. Thankfully, it survived, and still offers a diverse selection of current bestsellers, children’s books and a wide variety of genre fiction. One of the main delights of visiting Chorlton Bookshop is having a conversation with the members of staff, who are extremely knowledgeable and more than willing to recommend your next read based upon your favourite titles.
506-508 Wilbraham Road, Chorlton, UK
Second Hand Books |© Cierra Woodard/ Stocksnap
It might not look like much from the outside, but inside you’ll find one of the city’s best collections of retro books with everything from a comprehensive sci-fi section to a wide variety of childhood favourite such as Enid Blyton and Tintin. A local institution beloved of Manchester bookworms, Paramount is as famed for its eclectic interior and bizarre deals (free fruit!) as it is for its diverse collection of books. One of our favourite stories about Paramount even made the local news – the MEN reported that a man had been so absorbed in the collection of sci-fi books in the back room that he didn’t realise that the store had closed and phoned the police to escape! Listen out for the classical music blaring from the outdoor speakers, pull a book from the shelf and settle down on one of the sofas. Just don’t get so absorbed that you also get locked in!
25-27 Shudehill, Manchester, UK, +44 161 834 9509
Paramount Books Manchester | © Per Gosche / Flickr