A Tour of London Bookshops – Skoob Books

I made a few New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 and one of them was to ‘visit more London bookshops (and blog about them)’ – so here we are. Hopefully ‘A Tour of London Bookshops’ will be a frequent feature on Pretty Books, although I haven’t quite worked out how often I’ll visit, whether I’ll be buying something in every shop, or what on Earth these posts should look like!

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books

Skoob Books was the first bookshop I visited this year and I was quite excited since I had never been before, although it had been suggested to me a few times. According to the website, Skoob Books has ‘London’s broadest selection of second-hand academic books’, although I thought that it had an excellent collection of classics and modern fiction too. Skoob is situated just off of the Brunswick Centre in Bloomsbury, which is a rather lovely part of London that never seems to be packed with tourists even though it’s only a few minutes walk from Holborn. I visited an exhibition on death at the Wellcome Collection before visiting Skoob and then took a short walk to the British Library afterwards, so it makes for a fun day out. It’s also within walking distance of Russell Square, the British Museum, and another one of my favourite bookshops, London Review Bookshop. It’s a part of London that’s just so enjoyable to walk around, even if you’re not going anywhere. Make sure you look up at the beautiful buildings!

When I reached the Brunswick, I ended up staring at a ‘Skoob Books’ sign for a few minutes, which was pointing directly at Waitrose, wondering if I was meant to go through the supermarket… But to avoid humility, I walked around it. And there I finally found Skoob! It doesn’t look like anything special from the outside (which turns out to be deceiving!) but when I walked downstairs and into the underground bookshop, I could see why it was named one of London’s best shops by Time Out.

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books
As soon as you walk in, you’re faced with piles and piles of different types of used books, from recent releases (such as Gone Girl and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close for £4 each) to old classics (such as a bunch of Agatha Christie novels for £5 each). One of the reasons I wanted to visit Skoob was that I’d heard it was famous for its Penguin Classics, particularly the coveted orange classics – and I wasn’t disappointed. There are bookcases dedicated just to Penguin titles, but they can also be found among the regular bookshelves.

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books
Can bookshops have personalities? If so, Skoob definitely does. I loved the little touches that made me feel like the people who run it really do care about it. I loved the piano sitting among piles of books (in the music section, of course), the little quotes pinned to the bookshelves (‘Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery’ – Jane Austen), the postcards scattered around, and the wall that had what looked like old music sheets stuck to it. And yes, it did have that lovely old books smell. It felt like our version of Shakespeare & Company in Paris.

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books

And look, they even have a children’s and young adult fiction section! I didn’t have a proper look as there were two children trying to browse the bookshelves, but it looks like quite a large selection for a used bookshop. I usually see children’s books shoved somewhere in a corner and nothing particularly worth purchasing, so I was impressed.

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books

I must’ve been in Skoob for over an hour (and it’s not that large, although there’s plenty of bookshelves to browse) taking photographs like a hipster with my iPhone. Skoob Books reminded me why I wanted to make the New Year’s Resolution in the first place. As a booklover, I should have been visiting bookshops all the time, but I rarely did, instead opting to order books online. I can completely understand why people do use online bookshops – and I no doubt still will – but I’m lucky to live in a city that certainly does not have a shortage of fantastic independent bookshops – so why don’t I utilise that? I won’t kid myself and think that buying one book occasionally will save bookshop from closures, but it’s better than not visiting them at all. That’s what I want to achieve with this feature, so if you’re a fellow Londoner like myself, or just planning a trip here, hopefully you’ll have some fantastic bookshops on your list to visit.

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books

If there’s a bookshop you think I must visit or if there’s something in particular you’d like me to talk about in these posts, feel free to let me know!

Purchased: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Tube  Russell Square | 66 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AE | skoob.com

A Tour of London Bookshops: Skoob Books
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55 thoughts on “A Tour of London Bookshops – Skoob Books

  1. Ooh I love this feature, Stacey! Skoob looks amazing; will definitely have to check it out when I next have some free time in London. Yay – I can’t wait to see the other bookshops you post about!x

  2. Beautiful bookshop and I’m so jealous about that edition of “Death on the Nile”!

  3. Fab feature! I really must visit this bookshop 🙂

  4. I love this! Looking at these pictures and reading your descriptions makes me feel like I visited the shop.

  5. It is so weird to read this! I’m a tumblr user from abroad, and before coming to study in London nothing would have made me feel dissonance on quite this level. I actually know the places people talk about on the internet! What a weird thing! Which is to say, I’ve been to Skoob Books and it is lovely, I do agree with you.

  6. What a lovely New Year’s resolution! And one I will be following with great interest, as a fellow book-lover and Londoner. I’m always on the look out for new bookstores, as I love browsing. I’ve been to Skoob before and thought it was lovely. Looking forward to reading about your other choices.

  7. You live in London? That is so awesome 🙂 I love this feature a lot. One day I will go to London and visit all the bookstores I can!

  8. this is exactly what posts like this should look like! lots of wonderful pictures of the bookstore, and if you liked it. I try to post about bookstores near where I live and work too, and i LOVE discovering new bookstores!

  9. I’m living in London as well and haven’t had the chance to really go to many bookstores, so I’m really looking forward to more posts like these! If you could, I’d love to see a post on some of the secondhand bookshops on Charing Cross Road 🙂

  10. I love this! I am moving to London in a couple of months so this is great! I now know which bookstores to check out while I am there. I know how I am spending my weekends. 🙂

  11. This makes me wish I was in London so I could visit Skoob!

  12. I’ve been to this part of London before I think – I remember thinking it was cool that it was called Marchmont Street as I live in Marchmont too haha.
    Love the pictures Stacey, and the piano is so cool 😀

  13. Pretty awesome! I’ll have to come back to your site the next time I visit London 🙂

  14. This is a fab idea for a feature Stacey! I’ve never heard of Skoob Books before but it looks fantastic and I’m going to have to try and visit some time. I’m looking forward to being introduced to some new book stores 🙂

  15. I love it! Well done on tackling the first bookstore! I can’t wait to see your next one!

  16. I, too, made it a New Years Resolution to visit more bookstores within my home city of London (partly, because like you, I feel I don’t give independant book stores enough love and also because I don’t explore my city enough).Thank you so much for starting this feature! Although I have a list of a few book stores I’d like to visit, I’m sure I’ll learn so much from these posts. Hopefully, over time, I get to visit some of the book shops on my list, as well as some featured by you.
    Thank you for taking us on your journey. 🙂

  17. I hadn’t heard of Skoob but I’ll have a look for it next time I go to London. The pictures I’ve seen of Daunt Books look great, though my favourite is Persephone Books in Russell Square – they only sell their own books but it’s a lovely little shop with a great atmosphere.

  18. Really enjoyed this post, I hope you do more!

  19. I can’t believe I’ve been so close to this place so many times without even knowing it was there! Every time I go to London I stay in a hotel on Tavistock Place right around the corner. I’ll definitely be heading there next time I go to London.

  20. What a great feature, I’m looking forward to reading all these posts!

  21. This was a fantastic post Stacey! I have to say I love the name of the shop. It’s quite original and the pictures you took are fantastic. It seems like a place that has so much personality. I especially loved the children’s section photograph you took. If I were to go there I think I would head straight to that section before checking any of the other ones out. Can’t wait to see the other bookshop gems you find in London 🙂

  22. Russell Square!! I go to uni around here! I’m definitely visiting this place after your post, thanks for the heads up!

  23. Oh my gosh, this is such an amazing bookshop! I love that it has its own personality, I think it’s so delightful. Plus, the name is pretty great too.

  24. Thank you for this feature. I love visiting bookshops. As an American, I enjoy seeing bookshops in other countries, especially in England. I was familiar with Penguin Books, but didn’t realize how popular and important they were in England. Thanks..

  25. I’d never heard of this shop before, can’t wait to check it out!

  26. […] Then There Were None, which blew me away. I bought a wonderful 1950s Penguin Classics edition from Skoob Books earlier this year and I knew to be one of her most popular […]

  27. Hi Stacey.Be sure to go to Judd books 3 mins walk from scoobs further down marchmont st as if heading to British library.Best wishes.neil

  28. Wow great article>i sp. liked your pics they were simply awesome.

  29. These days people are more attracted to online purchases.Sites like ebay & nextonly are some of the auction sites where you can buy books at really cheap price.So U dont have just one option to buy books but many.But i still love to buy book from a store.

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