The Best Independent Bookshops in Hackney

Amy Wakeham

A melting pot of everything that is great about East London—good coffee, hip bars, cool markets—Hackney is the place to be seen in London right now. But, fear not, literature lovers; in addition to all the achingly cool cafés and street food, there’s also a great deal of fascinating bookshops worth a browse on a weekend afternoon.

1. The Broadway Bookshop

Shop, Market, Bookstore

Broadway Bookshop, on trendy Broadway Market in Hackney, East London, E8, England, UK. Image shot 07/2012. Exact date unknown.
© Monica Wells / Alamy Stock Photo
Situated right by the canal in Broadway Market, The Broadway Bookshop is worth a visit once you’ve had your fill of artisan coffee and baked delights. Small but beautifully formed, the friendly independent bookshop specialises in literary fiction and stocks a range of poetry, philosophy, politics, travel, fashion and art books, amongst many others. What’s more, the bookshop is also a permanent exhibition space, featuring the works of local artists. They also frequently hold literary events, such as book launches and talks with authors.

2. Telling Tales

Market, Shop, Store

Enchant and inspire your youngest family members and friends with this charming children’s bookshop in the heart of Hackney. Sure to make reading devotees of even the most book-shy children, Telling Tales is right on the canal, just down from Broadway Market. They stock a range of delightfully designed and illustrated children’s tales, educational books, craft manuals and much more.

3. Donlon Books

Market, Shop, Bookstore

Fancy your coffee with a side order of idiosyncrasy? Then Donlon Books is a must-stop on your weekend trip to Broadway Market. An independent bookshop and publisher that opened in 2008, Donlon Books has a reputation for stocking a varied range of new and rare titles, magazines and other printed materials. Concentrating on art, critical theory, LGBT, fashion and erotica, amongst other genres, the shop also promotes independent publishers and supports authors and artists by buying directly from them. Book readings, launches and screenings also make this an important destination for all culture vultures.

4. Guerrilla Bookshop


At the core of Guerilla Bookshop’s philosophy are the romance, history and memory central to the experience of reading. Started by legit bibliophile Tulip Tuitt, the bookshop is a somewhat under-the-radar destination, tucked away on the fringes of Hackney. However, for first editions, beautifully illustrated children’s books, literary tomes and vintage cookbooks, there is simply no better bookshop around. Serious book lovers only need apply.

5. Pages of Hackney


Pages of Hackney 1 Credit Toby Peters of Marmalade Panic
Courtesy of Toby Peters of Marmalade Panic
An unobtrusive little bookshop next to a takeaway on Lower Clapton Road, Pages of Hackney makes a rather extraordinary addition to this very ordinary street. It is worth the journey; the shop is light, bright, full of friendly staff and bursting with contemporary and classic fiction, travel books and cookbooks, children’s books, and much more. The basement is full of vintage and second-hand editions of Penguin Classics, science fiction, philosophy and art books. For music lovers, there’s also a choice selection of vintage vinyl to enjoy. Cosy armchairs mean you’re welcome to stay and read the day away, if you like.

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