Finders Keepers, Readers!

London

London’s independent and second-hand bookshops are havens for the literary mind. Once that old book smell hits you as you enter, you know the search is on for your next read. It takes patience to sift through piles of random volumes (sometimes, decades-old and long out-of-print), but the haul is always worth it. Even if they’re arranged in loose categories, serendipity brings a book to its rightful owner. Go through some of the city’s best bookstores to discover new subjects, genres, or authors that unexpectedly strike your fancy. The best part: everything is at markdown prices! Get ready to build up your To-Read pile, bookworms. You have a lot of unearthing to do!

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Updated 2 years ago

Any Amount of Books

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

On Charing Cross Road, Any Amount of Books lures passersby with bins of one-pound paperbacks. Venture inside to see first editions, vintage books, and leather-bound antiques lining the far wall. Look further, and you’ll see fiction and non-fiction packed on the floor-to-ceiling shelves all over the shop. Descend into the basement for even more. You’ll always be spoilt for choice, as the turnover is high and the titles on the tall shelves are ever changing. Mr. Nigel Burwood, the man behind the shop, is highly selective when it comes to his collection. You won’t find romance, magazines, or textbooks, but he covers an extensive range of topics. Art, Biography, Children’s Literature, Design—just go down the alphabet of what’s available!

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Black Gull Books

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Right in the thick of the Camden Lock Market, Black Gull Books caters to bookworms among the various specialty shops. Find order in the chaotic market, thanks to the bookshop’s neatly organized shelves. Out front is where the popular titles and classic children’s books are stacked, while the heavier reads are stashed inside. Crane your necks and crouch down low to see all the hidden wealth the Black Gull keeps. Prices are penciled individually on each book, so crack one open to see how much it’s worth.

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Walden Books

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Just five minutes away from the Camden Lock Market, Walden Books is a quiet respite on Harmood Street that stocks books on topics like 17th Century Art and Literary Criticism. There are only two kinds of people who find their way here: hardcore book-hunters in the know and those who stumble happily upon it. Now, you’re part of the first group! Savor your poetry and prose undisturbed. The shop stands along a quaint row of red-brick houses, leafy plants and flowering bushes hiding the storefront under its shadow. The beautiful blooms are thanks to Walden Books’ owner, a former gardener who has tended to the shop since 1979.

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Bookmongers

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Bookmongers has been around much longer than most of its neighbors, its laid-back atmosphere surviving the changing times for over two decades. It hasn’t been easy, but regulars are always comforted by the shop’s presence on Coldharbour Lane. Overflowing bookshelves carrying various genres and a beat-up couch invite locals to stay awhile. Hang out with the resident dog, Rosa, or strike up a conversation with Bookmonger’s owner, Patrick Kelly. He knows as much about Brixton as the stock on his shelves.

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Word on the Water

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

London’s coziest bookshop might not even be on land—it might be on a Dutch barge from the 1920s! Word on the Water is a floating bookshop docked out on Regent’s Canal at Granary Square. A display of books is laid out under the sun for avid readers to peruse. Below deck, there are more books and a few vinyls for sale. Settle into your read by the fireplace or in a plush armchair, as the light trickles here in the most beautiful way. On-deck, performers serenade guests as they drift through the barge’s collection of books. You’ll hear the occasional jazz musician, full band, or acoustic songbird playing on the waters. Word on the Water hosts intimate poetry slams, open mics, book talks, and meet-the-author events, so check in on their social media from time to time.

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South Bank Book Market

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

The Regent’s Canal flows into the River Thames where the South Bank Book Market sets up shop every day. The riverside market is right at home among the cultural bigwigs: the National Theatre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, and Hayward Gallery. Tourists and locals come every day to browse through the tables covered in books. The various classics and contemporary titles are the best companions for a riverside stroll or on the Tube!

  • Belvedere Road, Lambeth, London, United Kingdom

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Halcyon Books (Lee High Road)

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Of the many beautiful bookshops we feature, Halcyon is one of the few that encourages you to sit down for a cup of coffee or tea! The spacious shop has plenty of elbow room and head space to read through your haul. They boast an eclectic selection of old and new, rare first editions, and old antiquarian tomes. Get comfortable by the wall-to-wall windows for a glimpse into the street as you take in the city, the prose, and the tea—an unbeatable trifecta for a day out in London!

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Skoob Books

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Scour over 50,000 books at Skoob Books for bargains on the classics and out-of-print texts you won’t find elsewhere. Local students hunt down their class readings in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and they even get a 10% discount on top of the markdown! Skoob has more stock hidden away in its warehouse in Oxford, so let them know if you’re looking for something in particular. Tucked away on a side street, Skoob is somewhat of a sanctuary for book lovers. Go down to the quiet basement where shelves cover the walls, and rows line up in a labyrinth of books. Hoard vintage Penguin paperbacks from their large Orange, Classics, and Crime Collection. A piano also invites shoppers to tickle its ivory keys while at the music section of the bookshop.

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Judd Books

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Find even more school reads at Judd Books, another shop on the same row as Skoob Books on Marchmont Street. Explore the Ground Floor for texts on Cultural Studies and Literary Criticism. In the Basement is where they keep their stocks on History, Philosophy, Psychology, Politics, and Economics. Fret not, light readers! Judd Books also has a few Penguin paperbacks to tote along on your daily commute. Remember (just like at Skoob): bring your student I.D. to enjoy 10% off on your haul!

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Wood Street Non-fiction Secondhand Bookshop

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London, United Kingdom • Recommendation • 

Learning can go beyond school books, as all bibliophiles know. Wood Street Non-Fiction Secondhand Bookshop deals in the books to buff up your grey matter. Beat out your friends on the next Trivia Game Night or live vicariously through an iconic personality’s biography—the shop has a miscellany of topics to choose from. These books are just the right amount of entertainment value while tiptoeing into the “academic” stuff.

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