Find your favourite titles, hunt for bargains, get lost through the stacks and discover hidden notes in the margins at the best second-hand bookshops in London.
Founded in 1966 by John La Rose and Sarah White, New Beacon Books became the UK’s first black publisher, specialist bookshop and international book distributor – as well as a key player in many political and social movements. More than 50 years later, it continues to celebrate and share literature with a focus on Africa and the Caribbean, and hosts a variety of talks and readings. The Finsbury Park space is also home to the George Padmore Institute, an archive and research centre housing materials relating to the black community in Britain and Europe.
If you’re in Brixton, head down Coldharbour Lane to the characteristic Book Mongers to discover volumes piled up everywhere. This shop has been building an eclectic selection of books for the past 20 years, while buying and selling second-hand books of all shapes and sizes. The shop is owned and run by an American book expert and watched over by a big, friendly dog.
The Book & Comic Exchange in Notting Hill, established in 1967, 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. There is also a basement where you 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 most definitely a place to visit when in Notting Hill.
Mandi Keighran contributed additional reporting to this article.