Spread everywhere, from the famous Bloomsbury district to multi-ethnic Brixton, second-hand bookshops offer a broad selection of titles at bargain prices. Here’s our list of the best stores to read, buy or smell the oldest books in London.
In a 2,000-square-foot space – with over 55,000 titles squeezed on shelves, displayed on tables or even towered up on the floor – Skoob Books is considered one of the best and broadest second-hand bookshops in London. Located on the underground level of The Brunswick in the Bloomsbury area, this amazing store provides its customers with a large collection of books in philosophy, modern literature, art, politics and many other subjects – all at half price or less! It also sells postcards, book cover posters, and Penguin and Puffin mugs, and they even offer discounts for both students and cinema-goers.
Situated on Marchmont Street near Russell Square is Judd Books. Opened in 1992, this shop is spread across two floors, with shelves filled with a wide range of both used and bargain academic books that will enrich the knowledge of the student, the occasional or the avid reader. With its knowledgeable and helpful staff –and bohemian atmosphere – the cosy Judd Books is the kind of place where you run to and hide on a stormy afternoon.
If you’re near Brixton tube station, head down Coldharbour Lane to the characteristic Book Mongers. Buying and selling second-hand books of all shapes and sizes, this shop has been building, for the past 20 years, an eclectic selection of books for the local residents. Owned and run by an American book expert that crossed the ocean to come to London, this shop welcomes its costumers with a gorgeous friendly dog who clearly enjoys the peaceful atmosphere of a bookstore. With volumes piled up everywhere and a homely environment, Book Mongers is worth crossing the seven seas for.
Established in 1967, the Book & Comic Exchange in Notting Hill is an absolute must for book hunters! Tightly but tidily packed, its shelves are stocked with books of literary fiction, poetry and plays, while a middle aisle is filled with vintage comics and magazines. We know you can already smell that ‘old book smell’! There is also a basement where customers can find hundreds of items available for 50p or even less. With friendly and competent staff, excellent music piping throughout the shop and a variety of books to choose from, Book & Comic Exchange is definitely a place to visit when in Notting Hill.
With thousands of new and old books spanning history and travel (especially on North America), children’s books, literature, London history, archaeology, and texts on cinema and film scripts, Quinto Bookshop covers all interests. Situated on the busy Charing Cross Road, with its attractive and colourful windows displays, Quinto Bookshop is a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the street.
Opened as a family business in 1983, Henry Pordes Books has been one of the main destinations for book lovers ever since. This old-fashioned shop attracts many visitors, from arts and humanities students to antiquarian book collectors. Original and vintage editions are proudly displayed on the window shelves, while the inside shows off a whole world of books covering modern and contemporary literature, travel, art and drama in each corner. On Charing Cross Road, Henry Pordes is a bibliophile’s heaven.
Worlds End Bookshop is an established leading dealer in antiquarian and second-hand books in Chelsea. With more than 25 years of practice, this small shop has been a prime location for West Enders for many years. Specialising in architecture, modern art, and fashion and costume, the staff at Worlds End Bookshop are always willing to help with book suggestions and answer any questions you may have.