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1NickW
Jul 30, 2006, 1:18pm Top

I thought it was about time someone started a group for LT'ers living in London. Let's see what living in the metropolis does to our group zeitgeist!

2palimpsestuous
Jul 31, 2006, 8:15am Top

Hi ... I guess I should be an honorary member of this group. At the moment I'm back in NYC, but I've lived in London on and off for several years (for my postgraduate studies) and wished I could find a way to get back.... :)

3mjs110 First Message
Aug 1, 2006, 5:05am Top

Ok, so first question:
What's the best bookshop in London
a)Second Hand
b)New

And second question:
Best library?

4NickW
Aug 1, 2006, 6:28am Top

Foyles is my favourite central store - mainly because it feels a good deal calmer than some of the other big ones, and the makeover is an improvement too. The London Review bookshop near the BM is also worth a visit.

For radical stuff I go to Housemans in Caledonian Road, and Freedom in Whitechapel.

For second hand books it's got to be the stalls under Waterloo Bridge. Quintos in Charing Cross Road is good for non-fiction stuff, and there's a few second hand shops in Greenwich and Blackheath I pop into now and then.

5tartalom
Aug 1, 2006, 9:39am Top

Those Charing Cross Booksellers seem to be geared to touris t trade everything is a few pounds more than you would expect

6perodicticus
Aug 1, 2006, 10:56am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

7bric First Message
Aug 1, 2006, 1:00pm Top

The staff in Foyles are a lot better than they used to be - at least now they mostly understand English . . . but although the stock is good you don't now find those unexpected treasures (with 10-year old price tickets) you used to. Unfortunately the biggest disappointment in London bookshops is Blackwell's, which in service and stock seems to be quite unrelated to the Oxford shop.

8tartalom
Aug 1, 2006, 2:07pm Top

the 2nd hand books in waterstones gower street are overpriced too!

9wonderlanded First Message
Aug 1, 2006, 5:29pm Top

The best new bookshop in London is Daunt Books on Marylebone High Street -- an absolute joy all the way through.

10deliriumslibrarian
Aug 1, 2006, 6:58pm Top

Hello Londoners!

I am recently returned from Toronto and miss the Toronto Women's Bookstore like crazy... I can't go into Foyles because the sad state of Silver Moon makes me all queasy (although Jaffa Cake cake at Ray's Cafe is pretty awesome).

I love Daunt Books (all of 'em, there are four now), but refuse to enter the other chains except to turn friends' books face out ;) Doesn't everyone do that?

I live very close to Prospero's Books, which is a new bookstore that's qonderfully similar to Black Books, although slightly less surreal. They had three copies of Lust for Life a new book on Kathy Acker which endeared them to me, and they write their sales down on pieces of paper sellotaped to the desk... An other, older world.

Joseph's Bookstore in Temple Fortune is really good as well, and has a lovely cafe.

Recently discovered: bookartbookshop, which is a zine and handmades store/gallery in Hoxton/Old Street. Gorgeous, you will lose hours of your life in there.

What about good libraries in London? I have wangled my way into a British Library card but it's so full of undergrads on cellphones... Any recommendations?

11paperhoard First Message
Aug 1, 2006, 9:50pm Top

How about Pan Bookshop on Fulham? I've only visited London, but so far Pan Bookshop impressed me the most.

12Wanderlust_Lost
Aug 2, 2006, 9:20am Top

a)Second Hand- I like the used bookshop across the street from the British Museum (starts with a Q, can't quite remember)

b)New- I usually end up in Prospero's in Crouch End as it's right near where I work.

And second question:

Best library? Haven't been able to find a terrific one, but the Hornsey Library is pretty goo.

13franhigg
Aug 2, 2006, 12:41pm Top

Wanderlust Lost: Are you thinking of Quintos? I've never been in it, but I reckon the best thing opposite the BM is the Bizarre Books section of Jarndyce's window - the first time I saw it I made a public exhibition of myself laughing so much. I think my favourites were Life and Laughter 'midst the Cannibals, How to Abandon Ship, Fish who Answer the Telephone, and Lives of Octogenarian Teetotallers :)) Doesn't appeal to everyone, of course ...

As to libraries, I know the undergrads at the BL are a nuisance, but I still reckon it's the best place for sustained work. The seats are so comfortable, and when you are working there for years on end that really matters!

14tartalom
Aug 3, 2006, 8:44am Top

For you sarf londoners: My Back Pages in Balham is an excellent 2nd hand bookshop

15mayleaves First Message
Aug 4, 2006, 8:45am Top

Secondhand - Osterley Bookshop and Judd Books (nr Euston) both good.

16crazydave First Message
Aug 6, 2006, 1:46pm Top

I buy a lot of second hand SF, and I've always found Oxfam's to be quite good.

They recently opened up a new bookstore on the New Oxford Street / Bloomsbury Street.

The staff at the Oxfam in West Ealing used to know me on sight, and let me rummage through the unsorted books a couple of times.

17Wanderlust_Lost
Aug 9, 2006, 7:27am Top

Yes! Quintos! It's a beautiful little shop complete with high dusty shelves stacked with rare/antique volumes on all sorts of subjects that normal people would be a bit bewildered about and downstairs is a section for paperbacks. You can get all sorts of classics (and newer books as well) second hand for a pound. They're great. I got my BK Lovers' London there. They sell them at the counter.

18Wanderlust_Lost
Aug 9, 2006, 7:27am Top

Oh, and the Oxfam Books in Crouch End is really good too. They had a few copies of Isherwood from the 60s a while back with really nice bindings.

19Hera
Aug 14, 2006, 6:11am Top

Foyles is lovely, I've been a fan since childhood. Nice staff, good poetry section, excellent choice of Loeb classics and so peaceful.

I live in Greenwich, we've got lots of second hand bookshops (over-priced, though) and too many £2 book outlets. The Oxfam shop in Blackheath Village is my favourite haunt for a classy bargain. The stalls on the South Bank are good, too.

20mjiko First Message
Sep 4, 2006, 12:58pm Top

I have to admit I'm a bit of a sucker for big corporate bookshops, so I'd have to say Waterstones Piccadilly, as its got a really good range of books and the building has really great original art deco features. Definitely not keen on the Charing Cross Rd shops, just a tourist trap.

As for libraries, I really like studying in small, local libraries. Peckham library is a must for the incredible Will Alsop architecture and Manor House library in Lee, South London, is really quiet and comfortingly homely.

21umera First Message
Sep 4, 2006, 2:34pm Top

I have just moved from London to Toronto, but really miss the bookshops in London. My favourite is/was Foyles. I am sure I just need to explore TO more and find more books. London was always great finding contemporary literature and foreign authors and I really miss that in TO. Need to explore more.

My favourite library is Lincoln's Inn Library, it is not public but was great and I have amazing memories of hours spend in the library. It is also great library for legal research.

22magus
Edited: Sep 7, 2006, 11:42am Top

I must agree with deliriumslibrarian, Daunt's on Marylebone High Street is a beautiful shop. Lovely galleries, and well chosen table displays. Slightly disappointed it has started branching out, I hope they retain their charm.

Also, the "London Review Of Books" bookshop in Bloomsbury is a great new non-corporate shop, with very knowledgeable staff.

23Killeymoon
Sep 10, 2006, 8:52am Top

I agree with magus on the London Review Bookshop - and they often have the full works of the authors they stock in the fiction section, unlike the big chains that only have the best selling titles. It's also worth having a look at the nearby Lamb Bookshop in Lamb's Conduit Street (about 10 minutes away) - they are small, but all their fiction is half price. You won't get new new releases, but still a good selection.

I also must admit to enjoying Waterstone's Picadilly, just for sheer size, and the ability to loose 3 hours out of Saturday without even noticing...

24lynne.litchfield
Sep 14, 2006, 7:11pm Top

I would really like to join you - I am a Londoner in exile in the north-east......still homesick after being up here for 25 years!! Indeed I have that picture of London by night as my desktop.....how sad is that! I come back often, and can't wait to visit some of the bookshops I don't know, thanks for the recommendations!

25mlfhlibrarian
Sep 18, 2006, 2:20pm Top

Hi I live in Croydon, does that count as London? ;-)
Ottakars branches are my favourites but I'm not happy they've been taken over. The Bromley branch is really nice, well laid out, nice selection of books, comfy chairs - what more could you ask?
Watkins and Treadwells for those of us with specialised occult interests.
Secondhand I don't often buy, so haven't got a fav.
Libraries - well I work in one, so mine! :-) London Library was most impressive, you could get seriously lost in that place...mmm, library of my dreams.

26PrinceofThieves First Message
Sep 19, 2006, 5:00pm Top

I've always liked the Waterstone's in Picadilly, for it's sheer size and the fact it's always very quiet and never that busy, so you can just whittle away hours! Other than that I'd swear by charity shops; I once had to find some Bernadette Devlin for history, and managed to find it in Oxfam for a penny.

27WarlockUK
Nov 18, 2006, 7:40am Top

My early years were spent going to the library with my father and that stimulated my love of reading. The other favourite location was a second hand bookshop in Streatham called Jennings, long since closed and now a mobile phone/communications store.

I don't think it's possible to select a favourite book store in London as there are so many. I have shopped at numerous branches of the major bookstores and have shopped at smaller stores in and around London. I often find second hand bookstores all around London, even close to home.

If I want a new title it's usually Amazon or a visit to Bookbrain but I will often go into charity stores as will the girlfriend and it's amazing what you can find there.

28JamesCotton
Nov 23, 2006, 5:04am Top

Hi, new member, I'm James, hello!

a) There a great charity one in Putney (not a large shp, but the books 'move' quickly and they get reviewers' copies in), and the one at the end of Kings Road in Chelsea (tucked in behind the builders' suppliers)

b) Mm, not sure, not found any good ones near where I live (Putney).

29finebalance
Jan 16, 2007, 6:20am Top

I am a huge fan of Daunt's on Marylebone High Street. If I had to limit myself to one bookshop, that would be it. But can I also put in a word for a couple of Lamb's Conduit Street. In addition to the Lamb Bookshop and its half-price paperbacks, Persephone books is also a real pleasure. But then I am a big fan of that imprint.

30SamSattler
Jan 18, 2007, 9:17pm Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

31TerrapinJetta
Mar 16, 2007, 6:16am Top

I tend to just wander into any of the little old bookshops I can find and buy nice smelling old books. Can't remember the names of any of them though, probably somewhere around Charing Cross. I spend a lot of time in Barbican library, which I think is a very nice sweet library, staff are really nice and the music section is alright too.

32dianegreco
Edited: Mar 26, 2007, 11:42am Top

In Exmouth Market there's Metropolitan Books & Jake Fior. Lovely little places. Not sure if they are still there, though - my last visit was a couple of years ago. Alas.

33Bookbox
Edited: Apr 23, 2007, 2:37pm Top

Readers & Writers Day - do join us and meet leading people from across the publishing industry - authors, agents, publishers, journalists on Saturday May 19th anytime from 12 - 4pm at Borders Charing Cross Road.
It's to launch Jane Wenham-Jones new book Wannabe A Writer? Other authors coming include Katie Fforde, Adele Parks, Lynne Barrett-Lee and Judy Astley

34Grammath
Mar 15, 2008, 7:25am Top

I've been looking for a London LTers group for a while, so I'm glad I've found this one. I'm a resident of Southgate (N14) and grew up in Metroland. I've lived in London all my life apart from when I was at college. I love it, warts and all.

For those in north London, I've been reading the blog of a couple of guys who last weekend opened a new bookshop in Wood Green. It's at http://www.woodgreenbookshop.blogspot.com . They worked at the branch of Ottakar's there that closed when Waterstone's bought the chain. I haven't had a chance to check it out myself yet, but their enthusiasm is infectious.

35sukih
Mar 15, 2008, 10:39am Top

I have only recently joined so it is great to find this group. One of the best bookshops is the smaller branch of Foyle's near the Festival Hall.

The stalls on the Southbank are good for secondhand books. I work at St Thomas' hospital so it is good to go and have a look around in my lunch hour. The perfect stress buster.

36Grammath
Mar 15, 2008, 4:11pm Top

I agree, sukih, on both counts. Most of my book buying is done either on the South Bank or Charing Cross Road, with some visits to Waterstone's and Hatchards on Piccadilly.

37Killeymoon
Mar 17, 2008, 4:30am Top

Grammath - I went up to the "Big Green Bookshop" last week, and it's great. Small, but perfectly formed, as they say, and they guys up there are lovely. When I put down my three books to buy they seemed so genuinely pleased I wanted to buy the whole shop!

38Grammath
Mar 17, 2008, 7:03pm Top

Thanks for that, killeymoon, Going to try to pop along over the Easter weekend.

39phillipsccw
Mar 19, 2008, 7:33pm Top

I moved away from London 10 months ago, but I'm back to visit next month and looking forward to revisiting as many bookshops as I can.

My favourite 'new' shops would have to be Daunt on Marylebone High Street, John Sandoe off the Kings Road and the London Review Bookshop. The first two have all the character and romance you could look for in a bookshop, and the LRB has a great selection of books. All are great places to make discoveries.

For 'secondhand' stores, Oxfam on Marylebone High Street and the Gloucester Road bookshop have both been the sources of some great aquisitions. I also like Judd Books in Bloomsbury for remainers in particular. The books can be pricey, but Cecil Court is a great place to browse too!

40beatles1964
May 1, 2008, 9:24am Top

Even though I have never visited London before but have always wanted to I still fell like a native Londoner because I have played my PS2 Video Games of The Getaway and The Getaway: Black Monday. They are some of my favourite Video Games and plan to buy The Getaway 3 if and whenever that comes out on the market. Does anyone have any kind of idea when it is due out? The last thing I knew about this game was that they hadn't really thought up a name for the game other than The Getaway 3.

beatles1964

41beatles1964
Edited: May 1, 2008, 9:51am Top

I just went to Google and found out that Getaway or The Getaway 3 is set to be released for the PS3. And depending upon which source you want to believe it will either officially come out on:

According to Play.com the release date is September 26, 2008

HMV.co.uk says the release date is September 12, 2008

Gamestop.com has the release date as being February 1, 2009.

So I guess until it officially comes out whenever that may be I will have to be content with playing my copies of The Getaway and The Getaway: Black Monday. Now with this news it gives me a reason to try to go out and find the PS3 version that has all the updated bells and whistles over the original PS3 version. I know I can't hardly wait until they release this third game in The Getaway series. Is anyone else out there a fan of the first two PS2 Getaway games?

beatles1964

42Grammath
May 1, 2008, 12:28pm Top

I'm sorry, beatles1964, but I can't see how a video game could ever be an effective substitute for actually visiting the Big Smoke. Does this video game have bendy buses in it, for example. Is it littered with copies of "London Lite", or pigeons with bits missing, or smell like the armpit of the person straphanging next to you on the Underground?

Talking of bendy buses, I'm off to exercise my democratic right and vote in the mayoral elections. Although I voted for Ken in the last two, I don't think I'm going to be able to decide if I'm going to put a cross against his name for the third time until I'm in the polling station.

43StringerTowers
May 1, 2008, 1:38pm Top

I've voted for Ken today. The thought of Boris for Mayor is too much to bear. I dithered over my second vote though.
The bit about pigeons with bits missing is so true.

44Grammath
Edited: May 1, 2008, 5:14pm Top

I know what you mean, StringerTowers. I'm an ABB (Anyone But Boris) person. The idea of that bumbling buffoon representing the city I live in is too depressing to contemplate.

I voted for Sian Berry and, as the Greens requested, gave Ken my second vote. Brian Paddick came within a whisker of getting a vote - I saw him speak last month and found him refreshingly down to earth.

45StringerTowers
May 2, 2008, 8:35am Top

Grammath, no announcement yet but it is starting to look very depressing!
I gave Brian Paddick my second vote, I saw him in a debate recently where Boris and Ken were both making each other look ridiculous and Paddick seemed refreshingly sensible. Sian Berry would have been my next choice.

46beatles1964
Edited: May 2, 2008, 11:49am Top

All I meant was that it was a very realistic game where you have all the traffic, street and sights of London while you drive around and are being chased by both the Police and London Mob. I know a video game is nothing like actually being in London for yourself but for now these Getaway video games will be as close as I come to actually seeing London for myself. I did not my any disrespect to London, it's people or anything else by what I stated in posts #40 and 41. I love London it's History, Culture, People and everything about London and England. I only meant it is a very realistic game of what London looks like. Please accept my heartfelt Apology if I offended anyone because that was not my original intent, I never meant to offend the city London or it's people.

I am Truly Sorry that my statements were taken out of context. The Getaway video games are excellent video games. The people who made up these Getaway video games did a remarkable job in trying to make London look as realistic as possible. Again I am Very Sorry for offending anyone. I am a lifelong Anglophile and would neer intentionally say anything bad about a Country that has given so much to World.

It's Great Culture, the English language, Great Politicians and Athletes, Comedies and Television Shows. I Truly Love London and England and one day hope to live and work over there.

beatles1964

47Grammath
May 2, 2008, 12:00pm Top

Don't sweat it, beatles1964, I was amused more than anything.

I'm no fan of video games, but it sounds like you're really into this one and it is giving you a flavour of what London is like. If you like the game that much, you should come and visit us and discover the Mob don't lurk on every corner. Well, not north of the river anyway ;).

We Londoners do, I'm afraid, have a reputation as a bit of a surly bunch, content to hide behind our newspapers rather than engage in conversation with one another, but we're nice once you get to know us.

StringerTowers, I know Labour had a rough time in the rest of the country, but I think (hope) the London campaign will be different because it's mostly been about the characters involved, whereas the rest of the country has basically been giving Gordon a kicking because the price of everything is going up. The London electorate is, IMO, different to the rest of the UK, much more liberal (with a small "l"). I'm not sure Ken would ever have got himself elected anywhere else.

I did a small amount of campaigning for Ken in the 2000 election when he stood as an independent, and I do have a lot of time for him. However, it is my observation that politicians everywhere struggle in their third term (as New Labour are demonstrating at a national level at the moment) and some of Ken's recent pronouncements have smacked of the arrogance that comes from having been in power for a long period.

48aluvalibri
May 6, 2008, 10:08am Top

We Londoners do, I'm afraid, have a reputation as a bit of a surly bunch, content to hide behind our newspapers rather than engage in conversation with one another, but we're nice once you get to know us.

Grammath, I must say that I agree totally, especially with the last sentence in the paragraph. My experiences with Londoners and other British citizens have always been pleasant. But then, again, I am an anglophile!
:-))

49Moomin_Mama
Nov 2, 2008, 9:41am Top

Back to the Bookshops theme - grew up in Kentish Town and The Owl Bookshop is still going strong. Good memories of the place as a child.

50Austrianprincess
Feb 4, 2009, 5:49pm Top

Hiya,

Bookshops in london???

Hmm...Tried to find Foyles book shop, I couldn't. I really wanted to go in there. :( Where abouts in London is it?

Used to Live in London but not now..and I love London. But i do go down there frequently.

Jen
x

51Foxhunter
Edited: Feb 5, 2009, 7:48am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

52beatles1964
Edited: Feb 5, 2009, 9:02am Top

I know there was the book 84 Charing Cross Road written by
Helene Hanff and also a 1987 movie version with Anne Bancroft, Judi Dench and Anthony Hopkins in it who were the main Stars of the movie. I know that I do own a copy of the book somewhere at home. Which I have always wanted to read before and now maybe I will. Right now it would take me some time if I tried to hunt for the book. The way things usually work for me is that I can never find anything that I am looking for when I am looking for it at the time. I usually find things whenever I am not looking for it and I am usually trying to find something else at the time. And I think I have also seen bits and pieces of the movie but it hasn't been on tv in years. I may have to try to buy myself a copy of the movie.

Beatles1964

53Foxhunter
Feb 5, 2009, 8:59am Top

This message has been deleted by its author.

54beatles1964
Feb 5, 2009, 9:04am Top

I also own a book called London After the Bomb. I've never read the book but I always thought it sounded like a very interesting read to me.

Beatles1964

55Austrianprincess
Feb 8, 2009, 7:49am Top

Thank you. I will visit!

I am back in London again in March 2009, so I'll ask if I can go.

(Although I do not live in London, I actually do come from London and lived there for the first few years of my life).

Jen
x

56hex
Jul 16, 2009, 10:53am Top

The best second-hand bookshop I know is the Book and Comic Exchange, on Pembridge Road, just next to Notting Hill Gate tube station. I've been getting my books from there for well over 15 years.

http://www.thetopfloorflat.com/2009/03/book-and-comic-exchange-in-notting-hill/

Some years back when I was last in Brixton I found a second-hand bookshop called Bookmongers, on Coldharbour Lane, which is also very good.

57melinski
Jan 19, 2010, 7:31am Top

My local `new`book shop is Cheners in Lordship Lane se22....it`s tiny but filled to the rafters and a huge choice. The staff are friendly and helpful and will order in for you,although this can take some time! I like their display table which always sees me come away with something I wouldn`t necessarily have thought about buying before. Lets keep these small bookshops afloat as much as possible! Unless you need to read something immediately it shouldnt matter too much if it takes a while to order something in.

58elkiedee
Jan 27, 2010, 8:09am Top

It has been mentioned a couple of years ago on this thread but I thought I'd mention The Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green again, as it seems other people posting live and/or work in its vicinity. I don't get to them because of the kids, sadly, but they have very frequent author events.

It's been a while since I've visited Charing Cross Road as I've been on maternity leave for over half of the last 3 years and don't spend as much time shopping for books after work as I used to now I have two little ones to go home for. But I'm sad that most of my favourite haunts have closed - Silver Moon, Crime in Store, Murder One is now gone or going. Years ago I used to love Colletts and Compendium. I know it's changed and I've been to events there and am on their mailing list, but I remember people used to boycott Foyles because of their treatment of staff at the time. I like the secondhand shop Any Amount of Books near Leicester Square tube.

Libraries - I have cards for Haringey where I live, Camden where I work and Islington where I used to work/my partner still does. I also had a card for Westminster Libraries - they have a branch on Charing Cross Road but my favourite branch used to be Marylebone near Baker Street tube. Again, kids have curtailed my time for visiting the library, though I do have lots of books out on mine and my partner's library cards. Islington does free online reservations, but Camden's 44p charge is well worth the convenience for me too.

59Moomin_Mama
Jan 28, 2010, 7:02am Top

Hi elkiedee, how are Camden libraries nowadays? I grew up there and have great memories, especially of Kentish Town and Queen's Crescent libraries, although they were quite under-funded (this was the 80s).

60sunnysmiles
Mar 5, 2010, 12:44pm Top

My favourite Bookshop in London Is a very specialist one It sells Islamic Books and has a lot of sufi Books in and on the midde east. Its called Dar Al Taqwa and it is on Melcombe street near Baker street Tube station,

61JanetinLondon
Mar 6, 2010, 6:53am Top

Hi. I had a few minutes today and read all the way back through this thread and was surprised not to find any mentions of Skoob Books, currently located next to Waitrose in the Brunswick Centre in Russell Square. I always find something I want there.

I also second the old opinions about Oxfam in Crouch End. I know there's a huge debate about whether Oxfam bookshops are good or bad, but this one always has lots of interesting books, and the staff are friendly, too.

Oh, and the Hornsey library is also good - they actually have a lot of stuff in the "Reserve" in the basement - old things that hardly anyone ever asks for, I think.

62Moomin_Mama
Mar 6, 2010, 8:28am Top

I don't think you can beat charity shops. My local Cats Protection League shop sells books cheaper than any charity shop I've come across, will look out for and put things aside if a customer requests it, and you never know what's going to come in.

63elkiedee
Mar 10, 2010, 3:26pm Top

Janet, Skoob is near where I work. It has some good books and I bought a few on my last visit, but it's a lot more expensive than my favourite secondhand shop in London, Any Amount of Books.

I also don't live that far from Crouch End. I didn't know Haringey's reserve stock is in the basement there. Do you get staff to get things out for you? I've been waiting months for Haringey libraries to process a request for reserve stock to my local branch.

64dkathman
Mar 11, 2010, 4:30pm Top

Skoob and Any Amount of Books are both among the favorite bookstores that I list here on LT. I live in Chicago, but spend a couple of weeks a year in London. I used to stay in a friend's flat in Russell Square, and I remember when Skoob was in the old, dilapidated Brunswick Centre when half the stores were empty, before they renovated the whole thing, put in that Waitrose, and moved Skoob around the corner onto Marchmont Street.

Any Amount of Books is great, with a deceptively small storefront that only holds a tiny fraction of what they have. I often stop in there before seeing a show in the West End, and usually find some bargains.

65Grammath
Mar 13, 2010, 7:18pm Top

>58 elkiedee:/63

I also live only a few miles from The Big Green Bookshop. The two guys that run it are refugees from the old Ottakar's on the High Road and they are lovely blokes, as evidenced by their blog. They have a Facebook group to that's well worth joining not least to get publicity about their author events. I've been to see Will Self and Mark Billingham speak there in the last couple of years.

Skoob is quite a cornucopia, but I agree on the pricey side for second hand books. In general, they just seem to be getting more expensive, not only in Oxfam, but the booksale outside the National Film Theatre (BFI Southbank, wossat?) sells plenty of stuff at £4+.

66JanetinLondon
Mar 15, 2010, 2:15pm Top

#63 - Yes, just ask the desk staff at Hornsey library to go down and look for it if the catalogue says it's down there. You need to try to get one of the "grownups", because the young helpers just come back looking confused and say it's not there. Also, thanks for the tip re Any Amount of Books - incredibly, I didn't know it, but now I do!

67JanetinLondon
Mar 15, 2010, 3:25pm Top

oh silly me - I looked up Any Amount of Books, and of course I know it - I just didn't know what it was called, just thought of it as "the good one in Charing Cross Road"! But now I've been reminded of it, I'll be popping down there this week.

68anisoara
Mar 22, 2010, 5:26pm Top

I am about to get a book on secondhand bookshops in London (I hope).... I can't wait!

69Novak
Edited: Apr 4, 2010, 10:47am Top

As a Londoner now living in Cornwall your mention of Skoob and Any Amount of Books has just cost me a fortune on a recent visit !!! (They weren’t there in my day) Wonderful stuff, thanks for the tips. Here’s to the next trip……….

70Grammath
Apr 4, 2010, 1:41pm Top

Er, all part of the service, Novak ;)

71Novak
Edited: Apr 15, 2010, 3:23pm Top

Thank you! Grammath. Moving to a rural area does have it's upside but the bookshop is not one of them. When I think of you guys just wandering in and out of those bookshops at will……………….browsing………..reading a chapter………..replacing the book…………..wandering out………Ohhh it makes me want to spit !!!

Hope you appreciate your good fortune (or is it cunning and planning?)

72cocoafiend
Apr 29, 2010, 6:36am Top

I will have to check out Skoob and Any Amount of Books... It's been nearly a decade since I lived in London but I'll put in a few votes on the most enjoyable browsing bookshops, with the caveat that they may be out of date...

Daunt Books in Marylebone
Highgate Bookshop
Prospero's in Crouch End
Antonym, formerly of Dartmouth Park but now sadly defunct
Primrose Hill Books
The Gower Street Waterstone's
The British Library Bookshop
Hatchard's in Picadilly
Books for Cooks & The Travel Bookshop, Notting Hill

Perhaps it's nostalgia for my days at the U of L, but I adore the British Library and covet my Reader's Card in a fetishistic way. Alas it expires this year and I've concocted no scheme to wangle a new one...

73JanetinLondon
Apr 29, 2010, 7:46am Top

#72 - re British Library reader's cards, I've been told it's no longer as exclusive as it was and should be easy enough to get a new one - not sure how as haven't checked into it yet myself, but thought I would mention it.

74dkathman
Apr 29, 2010, 10:49am Top

Getting a reader's card at the British Library isn't too tough. I got a new one last summer after my old one had expired, and didn't have any trouble, just had to wait about 10-15 minutes. You just need to show them your ID and tell them why you want to use the library.

75jillianmarie
Apr 30, 2010, 12:10pm Top

#74.
Do you have to be a student or just have something in mind?

votes for book shop Broadway Market Books on Broadway Market, London Fields East London gorgeous independent bookshop with monthly events

76dkathman
Apr 30, 2010, 1:30pm Top

You certainly don't have to be a student to use the British Library, since I'm not. You just need to have a specific reason for using it, and explain what that is. At least, that's all I've had to tell them.

77beatles1964
Apr 30, 2010, 3:01pm Top

So do you have to say you're doing a research paper or thesis? What reason do you give them for wanting to use it? Can you say something like I'm curious to see what's inside or I've always wanted to visit the British Library? Or do they want want something much more specific than those reasons?

Beatles1964

78dkathman
Apr 30, 2010, 4:42pm Top

Well, you don't need a reader's card to go inside the building, including the exhibition galleries, the bookstore, etc., but you do need a reader's card to look at books or manuscripts. Except for some general reference books, they have closed stacks, meaning you need to order up the book you want and then wait for it. You don't need to say you're doing a research paper or thesis to get a reader's card, since I've never said that, but I think they want something a little more specific than "I've always wanted to visit the British Library." I see that on their web site, they say the following:

http://www.bl.uk/reshelp/inrrooms/stp/register/keyreginfo/keyreginfo.html

"Anyone can apply for a Reader Pass to use our Reading Rooms, but due to pressure on our services we cannot guarantee admission. A Reader Pass is issued subject to your need to see specific items in our collections. Other libraries or sources may be more appropriate to your research and staff will advise you accordingly."

In addition, you need to be 18 (unless you get special permission) and have two forms of ID that show proof of your identity and your current address. I've used my passport and my US driver's license.

79beatles1964
Edited: May 3, 2010, 8:11am Top

I know the National Library of Medicine (NLM) has closed stacks too. I remember that you also had to fill out a form to see any of
their books or journals and they only allow you to request up to 10 an hour. You had to fill out one item for every request and then they're brought up to you by a dumb waiter and handed over to you at that time. I had actually went to NLM on a couple of different occasions back in the 90s when I had to help someone else copy articles for our own Library Patrons. And I actually watched this process in action. It was interesting to see the material you had requested be brought up to you by a dumb waiter. At the time you also had to pay 10 cents a page to copy your articles too. I haven't been back there since. I don't know if they charge people more than 10 cents a oage to copy their articles today. I would imagine their rates have gone up since then because prices for everything else has risen since that time period.

Beatles1964

80cocoafiend
May 17, 2010, 9:27pm Top

Wow, it's great to hear that it's not as tough as it used to be to get a BL reader's card. Perhaps "turning my dissertation into a book" will be good enough. There's at least one book I need that is very rare. Thx for the info!

81dkathman
May 18, 2010, 1:53pm Top

cocoafiend -- If there's a specific rare book you need to look at that you know the BL has, it shouldn't be a problem for you to get a reader's card. The times I've gone, I had specific manuscripts I wanted to look at in the Manuscript Reading Room.

82cocoafiend
Sep 5, 2010, 3:37am Top

I was in London last month, on my way back from Africa, and successfully renewed my British Library Reader's Pass for another three years! Very happy!

83pennymiller
Feb 22, 2011, 2:31pm Top

Oxfam shop on Marylebone high st sells only books - really good selection, including novels, literature, art, health, travel, even some foreigh language books. ( and your money is going to a good cause. )

84rose_p
Feb 22, 2011, 3:40pm Top

And there's an Oxfam book shop on Strutton Ground in Westminster too.

85elkiedee
Feb 23, 2011, 11:08am Top

84: I didn't know about that one. It's normally easier for me to get home from Victoria than Marylebone, though probably not at the moment.

Sadly since I last looked at this thread, Prosperos in Crouch End has closed down. Big Green Bookshop is still open.

86ms.hjelliot
Mar 1, 2011, 9:33pm Top

My favorite oxfam books is the one on portobello road.

87frozen_thumb
Mar 4, 2011, 4:10pm Top

the best library in London is the one in Swiss Cottage. Two floors, equivalent to an ocean liner, staff eccentric and standoffish and resolutely bookish.

the library in Borough is impressively set out and labelled up like it's run by an obsessive compulsive.

Victoria library has a good set of new releases and mercifully doesn't use Clip Art to promote them.

Battersea will be good when it's refurbished.

Peckham is clean and feels like a million dollars.

88Novak
Nov 15, 2012, 4:19pm Top

Now don't tell me all you guys have been displaced by the Olympic stadium.

89tonythebook
Jan 29, 2013, 3:15pm Top

Oxfam, Boomsbury Street at the New Oxford Street end

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