Used Bookstores Around the World #1
There’s nothing quite like a good bookstore — especially one full of used books. I definitely enjoy finding an unexpected bargain book in a thriftstore or at an estate sale, but to be completely surrounded by lovely old books is even better.
I’ve been travelling abroad since 2001, but only in the past few years did it cross my mind to shop for books on my trips, and to note the sweet bookshops I found. Sadly, there are many shops I failed to find or stop in, though I have a smattering of photos (like the one above) reminding me of places I liked the look of, but didn’t buy from or note their address.
As it’s a new year and I’m attempting to be better organised, here is my beginning list of used bookstores around the world.
Used Bookstores in England, New Zealand, and the USA
Black Cat Bookshop – Queenstown, NZ (Camp Street)
I stayed in Queenstown for nearly a week. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been; but it rained or snowed practically every day, driving me indoors much of the time. One day, after using the internet cafe on the second floor of the O’Connell’s Shopping Centre, I noticed a small bookshop across the hall. They had a lovely selection of both antique and modern books; and the owner didn’t mind me taking photographs. I only bought one book (a 1947 hardback copy of Dauphne Du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek) but definitely wanted so many more.
Blackwell’s - Oxford (48-51 Broad Street)
I’d already been here one or two times over the years, but hadn’t noticed that they carried used books on the second floor — until this past December. Brilliant. I found an old Penguin paperback (T. S. Eliot’s Selected Prose) and also purchased a new Penguin paperback with a lovely letter-pressed cover (Tolstoy’s A Confession). I could seriously spend hours and hours here. The cover art on their new printings of classic books is stunning.
Daunt Books – London (83 Marylebone High Street)
When I was in London last July, a friend mentioned on Facebook that I should check out a certain bookshop. One day I found myself in the neighbourhood and decided to hunt it down. I was not disappointed. Old, full of worn wood and lots of light, with books set about prettily — ah. The wood floors are even set in a herringbone pattern! I actually can’t recall whether it was all new books or a mix of new and old; there might have been used books in the funny narrow balcony halls.
Dusty Bookshelf – Manhattan, KS (700 N. Manhattan Avenue)
My recollections of this place are a bit dusty, as I haven’t been since college (yes, I’m a K-State grad). I know there’s also one in Lawrence, KS, but I don’t recall going to that one (definitely need to remedy that!). I remember stacks of books everywhere, cozy chairs, and a resident friendly cat. My main purchases were those skinny Dover Thrift Editions; classics on a budget — perfect college student fare.