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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.