Studious Saturday: exploring bookshops in London

 

studious saturdays

Some of you who have read my previous post Studious Saturday: exploring bookshops in Bath would know that I spent part of my time during my last visit to the UK discovering bookshops by taking (or maybe even dragging!) my family and friends with me. Today’s edition includes three beautiful bookshops in different parts of London and I would like to share my thoughts on them with you.

Daunt Books

Right at the heart of Marylebone is a treasured bookshop perfect for lovers of travel and adventure. Daunt Books is an inspiration to anyone planning their next trip, or even those who work in the area and want to get away during their lunch break.

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This bookshop is split in several floors. Upon entering we can find the latest hardbacks and paperbacks in contemporary fiction. I though that this bookshop is like any other and does not have anything special until I walked a little further into the travel section.

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From here Daunt Books splits into three main areas – the downstairs focuses on Asia, Australia and Africa, the upstairs has a wide range of books for UK travel and the main level is filled with European books. I especially liked how each section is divided first by country and then in alphabetical order so it does not take too long to find the book you are looking for.

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The interior is beautifully decorated in an Edwardian style building with oak balconies and gorgeous green walls. Overall, this visit was a huge success and I managed to satisfy both my love of travel and books all in one afternoon.

Persephone Books

Our next visit was a short ride away on the London Underground and a half hour later we found ourselves at Persephone Books, a unique and extraordinary bookshop close to Russell Square station.

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This is not only a bookshop but also a publisher of forgotten female authors. I was intrigued to discover that all covers are the same classic gray so here there was no option of judging the book based on its cover. Instead, the short descriptions beneath each shelf were enough to encourage us to skim through books that most peaked our interest.

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There is a huge variety in books, from memoirs to short stories, and the clean gray  covers coupled with the colourful bookmarks that come with each book are just the perfect present for a loved one.

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The shop was dimly lit (which also explains the grainy photos, apologies for the low quality!) and classical music was softly playing in the background which made for the perfect book shopping experience. I supported their cause by buying a card for a friend who I was going to see later that day but I would also like to go back and buy one of these wonderful books. I encourage you to stop by this bookshop if you are ever in the area as you won’t be disappointed.

Goldsboro Books

Our final stop was a bookshop tucked away on a side street close to Leicester Square which specialises in signed first editions, perfect for collectors. We decided to walk from Persephone Books to here which in hindsight was perhaps not the best idea; it looked close on the map but the walk was nearly 45 minutes long and by the time we arrived it was already dark. Nevertheless, we were immediately transported to one of the most beautiful and rare bookshops upon entering.

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The store is divided into several areas by genre and publication date. The staff were busy at work sorting some of the latest books that had arrived as we walked around in awe of all the first editions out on display. Some of the most remarkable signed editions include The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (or J. K. Rowling) and Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (I know what you are thinking… the original first edition signed by Harper Lee?!). My favourite section however was the stack of Bridge of Clay books in one corner of the room.

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It was evident from the hundreds of copies that they had very recently arrived to the store. Each was numbered from 1 to 500, signed by the author and published in collaboration with Goldsboro Books. I was very tempted to buy a copy but managed to stop myself in the end. I now regret it because I really want to read this book and a signed edition would make the experience even more special. However, I know that it won’t be too long until I visit this bookshop again when I’m next back in London because I loved it so much so I can’t say for definite that I won’t grab a copy next time I pass by.

Our day was over but we had a lovely afternoon in London and discovered three wonderful bookshops. Thank you to my mum for joining me in this adventure! I also hope to continue the “exploring bookshops in…” series in Madrid and any other city I find myself in the future. Stay tuned for more editions in this series soon!

Question time

Have you been to any of these bookshops? If not would you like to go? If you have been, what did you think of them?

 

27 thoughts on “Studious Saturday: exploring bookshops in London”

  1. These bookshops look amazing, Darina. I haven’t been to any of these as most of my visits to London have been for the museums or the landmarks, but I definitely hope to put that right soon!
    Glad you had a great time, and happy reading 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never been to any of these bookshops but now I really want to take a trip to London just to visit them! They’re absolutely gorgeous. I love how Daunt Books is separated into countries – what a great idea! This was a wonderful post, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! I really liked how Daunt Books was organised too and I found myself lingering at the shelves of some of the countries for a while. I hope you get to visit some of these if you ever decide to go to London!

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  3. I love them all, Darina, and would definitely love to see them all! I had heard of the latter two for certain, and I have longed for a Persephone book (or two) for my shelf and one day I will have one. Lovely post. Thank you so much for sharing your visit with us!

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  4. I went to London for a short while this August, but I didn’t see any of these bookshops. I went to a few, but I guess London is pretty big, after all 🙂 Persephone books sounds amazing! Especially the unlabelled covers.
    I found a nice little store for used books though (somewhere close to Leicester square, I think?) where I found some really good cheap ones I had wanted for a while 🙂

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    1. Ah I think I know the used bookshop you mean, if it’s the one I’m thinking of then it’s on the same street as Goldsboro Books. There are so many wonderful bookshops in London, it’s crazy how much variety there is!

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  5. What a heaven! And what a great post! Thank you for collecting all this information for us. No, I’ve never been to any of these stores (it’s been ages since I’ve been to a real bookstore at all). On a different topic, I think it’s rather unpractical to publish those already forgotten authors in blank gray identical cover. I don’t see how that helps them to become unforgotten. In dim light … 🤔 Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think that the gray covers were supposed to show how the story means much more than the cover and also because they have been unpublished for so long they wouldn’t have a design. It does make you look through the description of each one though which I think is what the store owners were hoping to achieve. Thank you for your lovely comment!

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      1. I can totally understand. I sometimes get into this spartan mode when I don’t buy a thing if I know I can go without it, even if it’s very pretty. With a signed copy though, I’m not sure I would be able to pass by. That’s good that you can return there, though.

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  6. I’ve always wanted to visit Daunt books, it looks so beautiful! I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of Persephone books seeing as it looks near the university I went to; Skoob books also have a fantastic selection of second-hand books located at Brunswick Square in Russell Square. 🙂

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