Are you looking for an offbeat and exciting read for the upcoming holidays? We’ve got you covered. Discover some of the coolest indie book stores in London and find out what their booksellers would recommend.
Words: Julia Tsilman. Subeditor: Tenelle Ottley-Matthew
One of the most iconic independent book stores in London, Brick Lane Bookshop has been going for more than 30 years. It’s an ideal place for discovering less-known authors and unique publications. Its selection of literature, ranging from local history to elitist non-fiction, is tastefully curated and you can also purchase some stunning gift cards and tote bags. The bookshop staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, and the prices are surprisingly affordable. As an extra bonus, Brick Lane Bookshop hosts weekly writing groups and monthly book clubs which are definitely a must-visit for all bookworms living in London.
This superb second-hand bookshop is situated, very conveniently, inside Old Street Station. It may look slightly mediocre from the outside, but don’t be fooled – it’s a literary treasure house. It specialises in art and photography publications, yet its selection of both general reads and collectable books is fantastic too. It’s stacked with books and is perfect for browsing. It has a homely and nostalgic atmosphere to it that is impossible to fake and, thus, so hard to come across in London. Another thing Camden Lock Books is loved for is how affordable it is – plenty of excellent quality books are being sold for £2.99. Good luck finding a similar deal in Waterstones!
As the name suggests, Artwords Bookshop stores a great deal of hard-to-find art books, including everything from architecture to fashion. Its wide-ranging selection of magazines overshadows most other magazine stores found in London. If you’re searching for niche or emerging publications, or something perhaps a tiny bit too controversial to be found in general bookshops, this is the place to check out. Plus, the staff are friendly and happy to send you an email reminder when the new issue of your favourite magazine comes into stock. What’s not to love about it?
Daunt Books, Cheapside
This shop near St Paul’s is the latest addition to the Daunt Books‘ family. Although not as huge as its “brother” in Marylebone, this two-storey shop is heaven for all book lovers, in particular those of us who are avid travellers or take an interest in international literature. While the ground floor stores general fiction and non-fiction books, with some collectable publications and rare editions picking from the shelves, the basement is stacked with travel guides and all kinds of international books. The latter are categorised by countries and regions to make it less overwhelming.
Come at the right time and you’ll enjoy browsing through beautiful books with St Paul’s bells being rung in the background. Magical experience guaranteed!
Check out our previous post on best indie bookshops in London for lovers of art and writing.