If you love a good independent bookshop, with its smell of inked paper and quiet corners where you can leaf through its wares, then this guide is for you.
Octavo’s Book Cafe and Wine Bar
This place is praised not only for its book selection but also its great food (vegan friendly, using local produce and often traditionally Welsh), wine and coffee (with the beans roasted in Wales). Octavo Book Cafe and Wine Bar is a relatively new establishment found just outside the centre in Cardiff Bay. They also host clubs, put on loads of events and were shortlisted for Independent Book Shop of the Year 2017.
West Bute Street, Cardiff. +44 29 2049 1220
The Wellfield Bookshop
This independent, family-run bookshop has been going since 1982 and is in the Roath area of the city on busy Wellfield road. Go here for book launches and readings as well as to browse a selection of new books. There are also diaries, stationary, gifts, CDs, DVDs and eBooks for sale and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask the knowledgeable staff who’ll be able to order what you want.
16 Wellfield Road. +44 29 2048 3106
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Bear Island Book Exchange
If you’re looking for a newly-released book, this might not be the place for you, but Bear Island second hand bookshop has plenty else to offer. It’s found in Cardiff Market, among other stalls selling everything from Welsh cakes, vintage clothes, veggie snacks and gifts. The higgledy piggledy floor-to-ceiling shelves are asking for a look through and there’re all sorts of genres, including comics and rare editions, at reasonable prices.
Stalls 176-180, Cardiff Market, St Mary’s Street +44 29 2038 8631
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Rather than a charity shop full of a bit of everything, this Oxfam just focuses on second-hand books, with some CDs, vinyl and DVDs thrown in. This is a great place to find rare and/or big coffee table books for cheap, and you’re giving to charity at the same time.
36 St Mary Street. +44 29 2022 0736
This is the type of quintessential bookshop that book lovers’ dreams are made of, as it’s cosy, well-stocked, thoroughly-organised and peaceful, and can be found in one of Cardiff’s old-fashioned arcades. As mentioned, the books are organised: categorised by genre and sorted alphabetically so you’ll have no trouble seeing if what you’re looking for is there. There’s a very good range to choose from including children’s books, Welsh history, sci-fi and antiques.
39-43 Castle Arcade. +44 29 2038 2814
The Castle Emporium, near Cardiff Castle, is a little collection of independent businesses all under one roof. Minotaur Books is one of them and is found on the first floor. There’re all sorts of books for sale and they’re likely to be a bargain, plus the rest of the stalls are a pleasure to browse too.
Castle Emporium, Womanly Street
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About a 25 minute walk from the centre is where you’ll find Caban (cabin in Welsh) on residential street King’s Road. It’s a small shop which specialises purely in Welsh language books and goods. You’ll find translations of the classics, children’s books and greetings cards, as well as resources for Welsh learners. It’s a place where Welsh is the first language of staff and customers. There’s a great collection of gifts made in Wales on sale too, so if you’re just visiting Wales, you can stock up on authentic Welsh souvenirs.
169 King’s Road, Pontcanna. +44 2920342223