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Weird and wonderful bookshops

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Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Courtenay » 06 Oct 2017, 11:23

I found this photo gallery (from the Guardian) via a Jane Austen Centre newsletter and thought others here might be interested too — there are some fascinating-sounding ones here! Wish I'd known about the first one when I was visiting Inverness a few years ago...

Weird and wonderful bookshops worldwide — in pictures

Has anyone here been to any of them — or would you add them to your must-visit list? :D Or are there any other bookshops you know in the UK or abroad that should have been in the article as well?
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby pete9012S » 06 Oct 2017, 12:41

Image

Bloomingdales in Hawes - criminally overlooked.
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 06 Oct 2017, 12:58

Great stuff! Leakey's and Barter Books look fabulous, College Street in Calcutta sounds like an amazing place for a wander and that little wooden bookshop in Fjaerland, Norway, has a stunning view from the doorway. Of the bookshops listed, I've only ever been to The Book Barge (on a canal in London - I'm not sure if it was the same one) and George Bayntun Books in Bath.

Two bookshops I like which aren't mentioned are Baggins Books Bazaar in Rochester (much larger on the inside than it looks from the outside) and Any Amount of Books in Charing Cross Road, London (it has a bookcase of children's books from all eras which are priced very reasonably). Marchpane in Cecil Court, London, is another favourite as it's full of sumptuous early editions. Top quality - but that means you don't tend to find many bargains!
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Courtenay » 06 Oct 2017, 15:03

Anita Bensoussane wrote:Two bookshops I like which aren't mentioned are Baggins Books Bazaar in Rochester (much larger on the inside than it looks from the outside)


A Tardis bookshop? :lol: I like the name! I should visit that one some time — Rochester's not very far from me, but I haven't been there much.

Anita Bensoussane wrote:and Any Amount of Books in Charing Cross Road, London


At number 84?? :wink: (No, I know the real 84 Charing Cross Road was converted to a fast food restaurant a long time ago.) Sounds good, though, especially with the reasonably priced children's books!
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Francis » 06 Oct 2017, 20:06

It was the weird and wonderful bookshop owners who amused me the most. One in Bexhill would lose his temper and kick everyone out and close the shop every now and then. Another one in Rye would rant and rave and become abusive. One in Oxford would make Basil Faulty seem reasonable in comparison. Needless to say they have all long gone out of business. They were all men!
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Courtenay » 06 Oct 2017, 20:10

Were any of them called Bernard Black, by any chance? :wink:
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby pete9012S » 07 Oct 2017, 09:39

Bloomingdales in Hawes - sadly just found out he's selling up.. :cry:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07 ... nted-says/
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Courtenay » 07 Oct 2017, 11:35

Oh yes, the bloke with the 50p entry charge (refunded if you buy a book, I believe). Funny how no-one seems to like him. :P
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby KEVP » 07 Oct 2017, 16:43

When I lived in Hastings, Sussex, there was a particular used bookstore I would often pass. It was always closed. Very mysterious.
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Stephen » 07 Oct 2017, 17:51

I haven't been in Foyles for years. Do they still have that annoying system where you basically have to queue up three times to buy a book? Firstly, you hand your book in. Then you go to a second place to pay for it. Then you go back to the first place to retrieve your book. Don't think I've ever come across such a ridiculous idea in the world of retail!
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Anita Bensoussane » 08 Oct 2017, 09:14

I don't remember that system but I do recall that Foyles was a very messy place when I first visited in the 1980s, with piles of toppling books everywhere. Later on it was tidied up but retained a cosy, warren-like feel.

About three years ago it relocated - still in Charing Cross Road, but a few doors along. The new Foyles is more spacious, with wide aisles and a gallery, but still manages to feel cheerful and welcoming.
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Eddie Muir » 08 Oct 2017, 09:26

Anita Bensoussane wrote: The new Foyles is more spacious, with wide aisles and a gallery, but still manages to feel cheerful and welcoming.

I agree, Anita. It is a lovely shop for browsing and buying. :D
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Stephen » 08 Oct 2017, 10:08

Reading about it now, it does seem to have been a very whimsical, eccentric place. My sister worked there for a while and said that Christina Foyle came across as this very formidable personality, straight out of another time. It's just that when you're fourteen years old, you don't want all this kerfuffle when doing something as straightforward as purchasing a book!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foyles
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby number 6 » 08 Oct 2017, 11:28

Apart from WH Smith & The Works books, my Town is pretty rubbish for book shops! We used to have several very good second-hand book shops, but they've all now disappeared, replaced by quite a few ill-stocked charity shops!
I wonder if this is the norm elsewhere? :|
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Re: Weird and wonderful bookshops

Postby Darrell71 » 08 Oct 2017, 16:00

I don't know of any unusual book shops here, but on one of the best roads in my city for young people like me to hang out, there are stalls and stalls of illegally pirated books dirt cheap, on the ground. You get all sorts of books but I've never even thought of buying one coz the money doesn't go to the right kind of people, but I daresay foreigners find it unusual. There are literally just piles lying on the sidewalk with their owners beside them. It's certainly a sight to see. You have books in one place, a stall of gaudy jackets, next to it, fidget spinners to the other side, phone cases in front, it's unimaginable. Sad, too.
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