Independent bookshops


To celebrate the UK & Ireland's first Bookshop Day on 8th October, here's a list of the best bookshops in your area -  rounded up by MN Local editors

South West

Best Books Exmouth

Best Books is a well stocked discount bookshop specialising in books of interest to those visiting the area, as well as cards and gifts. Books not in stock can be ordered to arrive the next day, and special offers include a Book of the Month, which gives customers 50% off publishers' prices. There is also a family-friendly coffee shop with play area.


Avon Beach Shop Christchurch

This beachside shop stocks local books and a wide range of maps and walking guides to the area, as well as a strong selection of fiction for all ages. An ordering service is available for books not in stock.


North West

Simply Books Bramhall

A wide range of books spread across two floors at this award-winning village bookshop and cafe. Cards, gifts, toys, CDs and stationery are also stocked, and staff can order books and even arrange delivery. Simply Books' packed programme includes book clubs, coffee mornings and various author and themed events.


North East

Minster Gate Bookshop York

A five-floor Georgian town house is home to Minster Gate Bookshop, vendor of antiquarian and second-hand books. Minster Gates formed the entrance to the medieval precinct of York Minster, and is a street that has been associated with books and bookselling since 1580; formerly known as Bookland Lane. Specialising in children's and illustrated books, folklore and Arthurian literature, the shop also stocks a range of old maps and prints, with an emphasis on lithographs and engravings of York and Yorkshire and the work of book illustrators from 1800 to 1940.


East Midlands

Five Leaves Nottingham

Five Leaves stocks many independently published books, specialising in topics including cityscape and landscape, politics, poetry, LGBTQ, counterculture, psychology, international writing, and magazines and journals. A wide variety of greetings cards, post cards and gift wrap are also stocked, as well as some ethically sourced products such as Zapatista coffee, Zaytoun olive oil, olives, soap and a small selection of Radical Tea Towels. Regular events are hosted, including on most Wednesday evenings.


West Midlands

Nostalgia and Comics Birmingham

This vast emporium is dedicated to all things comic-related, including graphic novels, books, posters and merchandise. Stock is imported from as far afield as the US, Japan and Europe. The store also holds signing sessions, hosts a free comic book day, runs competitions and recommends reading lists.


East of England

Just Imagine Chelmsford

Specialist children's bookshop with a full events programme. Just Imagine runs art workshops, reading groups, and can host story-themed birthday parties, specialising unsurprisingly in children's books.


Bookmark Spalding

Bookmark was named Independent Bookshop of the Year in the 2001 British Book Awards, bagging the regional title in 2007 and 2008. It has around 20,000 new titles on its shelves, some of which are local and out of print. A free secondhand search usually turns up positive results within two weeks. Lincolnshire writer Margaret Dickinson visits the shop with her new release each year, and lan Titchmarsh, Kate Adie, Bill Turnbull, Rick Wakeman and Simon King have all done readings. The shop also sells gifts, including handmade wooden boxes and fragrance lamps, and its cafe serves locally sourced, homemade food.


The Holt Bookshop Holt

This bookshop has more than 12,000 books in stock and prides itself on its variety of local interest titles, including a wide range of natural history books, as well as its children's section. For the last two years the Holt Bookshop has been named one of the Independent's 50 best bookshops in Britain. The shop hosts and organises a wide range of author events, both in store, at Gresham's School and as part of the annual Holt Festival.


The Aldeburgh Bookshop Aldeburgh

The Aldeburgh Bookshop, which has also been named Independent Bookshop of the Year, was founded in 1949, and has been run by its current owners, John and Mary James, since 2000. The shop stocks a wide range of history, biography, travel writing and books on Suffolk, as well as cookery, gardening, natural history and a children's section. International delivery is available, and the owners hold a monthly book club, organise the annual Aldeburgh Literary Festival and invite their regulars to share their Desert Island Books.



The Bookworm Croydon

Second-hand and rare books of all kinds are sold at Croydon's Bookworm. Comics and magazines are also available, and local art and craft work is exhibited and sold here too. A range of book clubs, writers' clubs and local author nights are held instore.


Under the Greenwood Tree Clapham

This specialist children's bookshop also has a toy section and small cafe selling coffee and tasty cakes. Regular events are held, including storytime on Saturday mornings, book signings, readings by children's authors and drawing sessions with illustrators.


Greenwich Book Place and Gallery Greenwich

Greenwich Book Place and Gallery stocks vintage magazines, first editions and second-hand books, as well as prints and pictures. Books cover a wide range of subjects, including performing and visual arts, travel and topography, economics, gardening, religion, sociology, history, maritime, politics, sport, natural history and more.


South East

Twist in the Tale Amersham

This specialist children's bookshop and tuition centre stocks a wide range of books suitable from birth to young adulthood and visitors of all ages are encouraged to browse to their hearts' content.


A Bundle of Books Herne Hay

A Bundle of Books caters for children aged up to 14, but books for adults can be ordered on request. Regular activities and events take place, usually during school holidays and at weekends.


Hayling Island Bookshop Hayling Island

This is one of the last remaining independent bookshops in the area and has gained a reputation for its signing events, with authors including Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Wilson and Anne Widdecombe. The shop also helps organise and run events for local literary festivals, and in 2009 was named South of England Independent Bookshop of the Year, being finalists two years later in the 2011 Parliamentary Best Small Shops Awards.




J & G Innes St Andrews

J & G Innes has been in its historic premises since the late 1800s. It sells books, cards, gifts, stationery, newspapers and magazines. Suppliers include Parker, Waterman, Filofax, Moleskine and Steadtler.