Bookstores in the United Kingdom (Wales)
Wed Dec 27 14:57:32 EST 2000
Bookstores in other parts of the UK are in separate files:
Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England.
Just to be perfectly clear, bookstores for the Republic of Ireland/Eire are in
the Europe file.
Cities include (listed basically west to east, north to south by region,
alphabetically within region, counties together if I know them; if anyone
has a better ordering, let me know):
Miscellaneous UK notes
other geographic areas
The UK country code is 44. To dial from outside the UK, drop the leading
"0" in the telephone number given and prefix it with "44" (after whatever
your phone system requires). The phone numbers here reflect the recent
change requiring "1" after the "0" and before the city code; update your
other phone numbers accordingly.
[Note 1: I collected these comments from a variety of people. I personally
have no knowledge of many of these places and take no responsibility if you
buy a book you don't enjoy. :-) Phone numbers and precise addresses can be
gotten by calling directory assistance for the appropriate city. Call ahead
for precise hours, as even when I list them they are subject to change.]
[Note 2: If you can add information for any of these, in particular
addresses when they are missing, please send it to me.]
[Note 3: I know they're bookshops in Britain, not bookstores. In the text
I try to follow this; the introductory material is used world-wide and
uses "bookstores" instead.]
[Note 4: Someone sent this for a particular store, but it applies
everywhere: "Don't complain about high prices; the people in the shop don't
make them, we only try to get a wide range of books and help customers as
well as we can. Books might look a bit than dearer in your home country but
the costs, the costs! We are not, I repeat not, a tourist office--it can be
very annoying to try to do your job and being interupted a hundred times a
day for the way to the Rijks-, Van Gogh or any other museum. (We are
willing to sell you a map of Amsterdam and then point you in the right
Anyone who is interested in rare second-hand books in the UK may find it
worth travelling to the remote (by UK standards) small town of Hay-on-Wye,
on the English-Welsh border. Somehow, this has become the second-hand book
capital of the UK, with probably about six large shops and any number of
"The Welsh Booksellers' Association puts out 'Antiquarian and Secondhand
Booksellers in Wales.' Hay-on-Wye is just over the border near Hereford and
Leominster (pronounced Lemster) and is a picturesque little town devoted
entirely to bookselling. There are around thirty bookstores, including the
former cinema and the former firehouse. Quality at Hay goes up and down but
this year (1994) it was very good. The Hay booksellers put out 'Secondhand
and Antiquarian Booksellers and Printsellers' to guide you around. Contact
Hay Tourist Information Bureau, Oxford Road, Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, HR3 5DG.
(Yes, the postal address is England even though they are in Wales.)"
There are a couple of Web sites for Hay-on-Wye: http://www.hay-on-wye.com
There is also the Booksearch Cafe (The Pavement/Lion Street,
01497-821932, FAX 01982-560762, http://www.booksearch-at-hay.com/),
where you can eat while they search for your books.
Buses run to Hay from Hereford and Brecon. Early closing day is Tuesday.
Most of the bookshops do stay open on Tuesday afternoons but a few close as
do some other stores.
Blackwells (St. Mary St). "Good large general bookshop."
Castle Arcade Bookshop (Castle Arcade off St. Mary St). "Very good
secondhand bookshop with an excellent SF section."
Forbidden Planet (5 Duke St, CF1 2AY, (029)-2022-8885). SF and comics. As
of 06/00, one of the branches that carries books.
Miscellaneous UK notes:
See Edinburgh, Scotland, for further details on Smiths, Waterstone's and
Government Bookshops: These are situated in a few of the major urban
areas. They used to be exactly what they say they are and sell
official government publications of all sorts such as Acts of
Parliament, Government Statistics, Official Reports, Advisory
Publications and the like. Now they've been privatized and sell other
stuff too. Still a very important source for researchers and students
as well as for those involved in business, commerce, etc.
Most of the Oxfam Shops in the UK have some secondhand books--if the town
doesn't boast of a separate Oxfam Bookshop. The same is true of many other
charity shops as well.
The Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association, as well as holding bookfairs
at the Hotel Russell in London (see under British Museum above) also hold
fairs all over the country. In September 1995, for example, they had fairs
in Norwich, Exeter, Ulverston, Scarborough, York, Wilton, Swansea, Kew,
Cambridge, Sherborne and Stamford as well as two in different parts of
London. You can get a free annual calendar from them at PBFA, Old Coach
House, 16 Melbourn, Royston, Herts, SG8 7BZ, 01763-248400, FAX 01763-248921.
Their information line, which gives recorded details of forthcoming fairs,
Finally, you might want to look for DRIF'S GUIDE TO THE BOOKSHOPS OF
ENGLAND. Drif is an expert on bookshops and spends his time traveling the
country looking for bargains so he knows his bookshops. A new edition of
DRIF'S GUIDE TO THE SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS of the British Isles was
published at least as recently as in 1995. It costs #9.95. Though Drif
has amazingly visited virtually all the bookshops he mentions--and by
public transport at that--you should take both his factual comments
and, in particular, his opinions with a large pinch of salt. Drif is a
character, one of those eccentrics like Basil Fawlty of FAWLTY TOWERS
that Americans like to think are typical of all the English. The
opening words of his guide are "They [the secondhand bookshops] are
dreadful, you are wasting your money buying this guide. It will only
tell you how dreadful they are in more detail." He proceeds to
castigate virtually every secondhand bookshop as well as the media,
politicians, British Rail and lots of others. Some of it is very funny
("If only the owner was as sober as her books" is one comment), much of
it libelous, some of it obscene, all of it opinionated. Buy the book
to find out where the bookshops are, for a good laugh and to confirm
your views of how eccentric the Brits are, but do not follow his
recommendations, beware of his directions and ignore his indications of
when the stores are open. If you want accuracy, buy the factual but
more sober SKOOB DIRECTORY OF SECONDHAND BOOKSHOPS IN THE BRITISH
ISLES. The Seventh Edition was published in July 1999.
There is a directory of Christian bookshops in the UK at
People interested in books published in Britain may also want to know
about the following: THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE MAGAZINE (12 colour review
magazines a year) offers an ordering service available to subscribers
only. Books published in Britain and in stock with the publisher can be
ordered for a research fee plus shipping and handling (plus the cost of
the book, of course). Books reviewed in THE GUIDE are not subject to a
research fee and are usually available from GBG's own stock. Further
details can be gotten by contacting them at THE GOOD BOOK GUIDE, 24
Seward Street, London EC1V 3GB; Telephone Order Line
0171-490-9905; Telephone Customer Service 0171-490-9900; FAX 0171-490-
9908. [Thanks to Christopher P Salter, firstname.lastname@example.org
for this information. He wishes to make clear he has no connection with
Information contained in this FAQ is compiled from many sources. The
compiler accepts no responsibility for the comments contained herein.
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for the information provided within them.
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Evelyn C. Leeper
Evelyn C. Leeper (email@example.com)
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