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Top Ten Independent Bookshops in Manchester and London

To celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, the Word Factory team have put together some of our favourite stores in Manchester and London. 


Manchester Bookshops:


The Art of Tea

The Art of Tea is a delightful marriage of second-hand bookshop and cafe. The books are at the back, waiting to be perused, purchased then read with your favourite caffeinated or herbal drink.

47 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, M20 6TW


Magma NQ

Specialising in art books and magazines, Magma is a Northern Quarter staple. They also have an excellent selection of novelties, including games and models.

24 Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1JN


Manchester Book Buyers

A treasure beneath a drab, arched roof, Manchester Book Buyers offers a range that covers most interests, including fiction, art and history. The books are very reasonably priced and it’s easy to find a bargain.

1 Church Street, Northern Quarter, M4 1PN


Vinyl Fiction

Vinyl Fiction is a newcomer, sitting inside a former shop unit. As you may have guessed, they sell records, but they also sell books, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The shop also serves as an events space and the spoken word night Big Words is held there every month.

103 Manchester Road, Chorlton, M21 9GA


Abacus Books

Once you step through the door of Abacus Books, you feel transported to another age. They have a marvelous second-hand stock, which is wide and affordable. Please note its limited opening days, which are Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

24 Regent Road, Altrincham, WA14 1RP



London Bookshops:



Persephone Books

This brilliant bookstore reprints work by overlooked women authors from the mid-twentieth century. Their eclectic collection ranges from short stories to cookbooks, with everything in-between.

59 Lamb’s Conduit Street, WC1N 3NB


Bricklane Bookshop

A community hub that’s been on the premises since the 1970s, Bricklane Bookshop has a wide array of books to choose from. It’s always a good choice for interesting events and even runs its own short story contest.

166 Brick Lane, E1 6RU


Gay’s the Word

This Bloomsbury shop was founded in 1979 by the Gay Icebreakers, a socialist group who’d taken inspiration from the growing number of gay and lesbian bookstores in the USA. Home to 40 years of LGBTQ history, Gay’s the Word continues to host events and offer a broad range of books and film.

66 Marchmont Street, WC1N 1AB


Bookseller Crow on the Hill

Possibly London’s highest bookstore, the Bookseller Crow overlooks London from the dizzying heights of Crystal Palace. This cozy little shop offers a surprisingly broad array of under-the-radar books.

50 Westow Street, Crystal Palace, SE19 3AF


Watkins Books

London’s oldest esoteric bookstore, Watkins Books adds an unexpected flavour of mysticism to the increasingly corporate streets of London’s centre.  English Occultist Aleister Crowley is rumored to have once made all the books vanish here. Hurry and visit before it happens again.

19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ


List compiled by Richy Campbell and Dylan Brethour. Featured Image courtesy of Bob Walker via flickr.com.

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