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Leicester Square | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
Leicester Square | © Paul Hudson/Flickr
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The Best Independent Bookshops in Leicester Square

Picture of James Gunn
Updated: 4 October 2017
Leicester Square may be known popularly nowadays for the red carpet and the M&M store, but along a small strip of Charing Cross Road to its east are some of the most fiercely competitive independent bookshops out there. So bounteous are these establishments that it will be hard to believe how close they are to each other. But we’re not lying; see for yourself.
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Henry Pordes Books Ltd

In what begins a seemingly never-ending list of spoils on Charing Cross Road, Henry Pordes Books sets the bar for what one should expect from one of these shops. A wide range of contemporary titles matched by a wealth of rare and antique books. The shop specializes in, among other topics, art, history, science and medicine.

Henry Pordes Books Ltd, 58-60 Charing Cross Road, London

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Any Amount of Books

This could be the most extensive selection of second-hand titles in Central London, sat next door to Henry Pordes. Any Amount of Books stocks over 55,000 titles, which it also vends online. Books start at £1, and, for those with more discerning tastes rare, books are also on offer.

Any Amount of Books, 56 Charing Cross Road, London

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Quinto Bookshop

Thirty seconds down the road from Any Amount of Books, Quinto is a two-floor shop home to more second-hand books. Yet, what makes Quinto stand apart is the wide range of antiquarian, collectible and rare books that makes it the specialist bookshop it is.

Quinto Bookshop, 72 Charing Cross Road, London

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Koenig Books Ltd

Koenig Books looks and feels like a bookshop should. Every month the stock is changed. There is no room for stagnation here at this shop which has a sister shop in Brussels.

Koenig Books Ltd, 80 Charing Cross Road, London

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Pleasures Of Past Times

If you do one thing today, check out the website for Pleasures of Past Times. If that is not enough, and you want to see this shop in the flesh, go. Cecil Court, as you will soon see with the following suggestions, is something of a Mecca for independent bookselling. Pleasures of Past Times deals in all things Popular Culture in the last three centuries. It’s whacky, it’s zany and it’s worth a visit.

Pleasures of Past Times, 11 Cecil Court, London

Cecil Court | © VasenkaPhotography/Flickr

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Watkins Books

The self-described best esoteric bookshop in London. If you go into Watkins Books not knowing what to expect, you might be in for a fright. Well, probably not, but you might be scared by some of the contents of titles in the Magick & Occult and Spirituality sections.

Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London

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Goldsboro Books

Two doors down from Watkins is the First Editions specialist Goldsboro Books. Selling first editions and editions signed by authors, a trip to Goldsboro Books brings lovers of literature that extra step closer to the writers they admire.

Goldsboro Books, 23-27 Cecil Court, London

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Travis & Emery Music Bookshop

Again, just yards away is another bookshop. But you will not tire of these independent booksellers since they keep offering something new along Cecil Court. Travis & Emery is no different and stands as one of the best music specialist bookshops in London.

Travis & Emery Music Bookshop, 17 Cecil Court, London

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If the leafy window displays don’t tempt you in, Marchpane is a high-caliber antiquarian book dealer like many others on the list, yet it has a niche. It has become known as something of a specialist in children’s literature, being most popular for its illustrated books from the 18th century to the present day.

Marchpane Books, 16 Charing Cross Road, London