An ode to … Second-Hand Bookshops

by Rijuta Dey
20 February 2010
Originally published at The First Pint ( short url: )

‘What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare’
Leisure, William Henry Davies

Book Haven. Photo Credit: Rijuta DeyLondon’s frenzied pace can make anybody feel giddy. On one particularly bleak Sunday, I decided to spend time by myself in the famed second-hand bookshops on Charing Cross Road. It turned out to be the best decision I had made in a long, long time.

Getting off at Leicester Square station, I turned towards Charing Cross Road and almost immediately spotted the corner bookshop. With an inviting green exterior decor, Quinto Bookshop stands regal and beautiful. However, a quick chat with the friendly shop-assistant informed me that the shop was to be relocated due to high rent, being replaced by a patisserie!

The silver lining in this distressingly gloomy cloud is that a HUGE number of books are on sale—I was lost for hours rummaging through the piles of delightful, old books that fill up the shop’s basement.

My favourite bookshop was the next one I wandered into Any Amount of Books. The historic feel and the wide selection of old and new books make for the most romantic ambience (yes, I am one of those people who are super-happy and at peace in bookshops). The staff are really friendly and I got an added discount on the already cheap books.

Henry Pordes Books turned out to be a little more expensive than the others. It is newer and lacks the unkempt look that I so loved about the other shops (which felt as if I was in Ronald Weasley’s cottage). But here, the sheer diversity of books available made up for it’s shortcomings. I purchased a rare book on dentistry (to be gifted to a dentist relative) for which I’m sure I would have paid a fortune in another place.

Goldsboro Books also offers its share of unique books and even has a monthly book club through which you can buy signed first editions—most are around £15 each, but they’re books the owners believe will become valuable someday.

It was well into the evening when I trudged back toward the underground station, weighed-down with numerous books, plastic bags cutting into both palms. All in all, a day exceedingly well spent.


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