Last month I visited London Review Bookshop, but what I didn’t tell you is that after leaving, my friend and I jumped on a bus and headed to another bookshop, this time Daunt Books, Marylebone. Daunt Books is a bookshop you absolutely must visit if you’re a book lover in London. As with most of the book shops on this tour, I only visited for the first time last year, but I’ve been encouraging other people to go ever since. I’m not sure what a proper bookshop feels like, but I’m pretty certain this is it.
Daunt Books is an ‘original Edwardian bookshop with long oak galleries and graceful skylights’ and it’s absolutely beautiful. As soon as you walk in, you notice that there’s something very special about this bookshop. I knew about it for quite a while before visiting – I’d seen a lot of photographs – and one feature it’s best known for is the balconies (which seem much higher when you’re on them!).
I particularly enjoy how some of the bookshelves are covered in pretty patterns (especially this blue one!). It makes the bookshop feel very homely.
And if you have a pretty bookshop, you have to fill it with pretty books! You can find designated bookshelves for hardback books, Everyman’s Library editions, Penguin Clothbound Classics, picture books, and more.
Daunt Books is known as a ‘travel bookshop’ and so I immediately assumed it would just be filled with travel books. ‘How can travel books be so popular?’ I wondered. But Daunt Books has a wonderful – and large – selection of fiction, non-fiction and travel guides alike. It doesn’t feel like an extremely large bookshop and yet you’ll probably find the book you’re looking for. I feel obligated to mention the children’s/YA section of every bookshop I visited now and pictured above is the ‘children’s corner’. It also has a couple of bookshelves dedicated to teenage fiction. As you can see, it’s incredibly well-stocked. I always judge a bookshop and how necessary it deems children’s books to be.
Daunt Books would probably save a little more space by not having books face out, but I think it’s much more effective. It’s quite a nice feeling to walk past them in the little corridor because they’re not just alphabetised products, but curated displays. It’s the same for their table displays.
And onto even more unique displays: at the back there’s dedicated bookshelves for each country. I had, again, seen pictures of this before visiting and assumed that these would house all of the travel guides, but if you look closely at France, you’ll see the Penguin Clothbound edition of Les Miserables. In each section, there’s a mixture of fiction and non-fiction set in, relevant to, or about its respective country. I think this is a fantastic way of organising books, and not only for travellers.
And here’s one of my favourites: USA! I picked up In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a non-fiction novel describing the 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children.
I noticed much too late that I didn’t manage to take a photo of the entire bookshop (I assume this is because it was full with people and I didn’t want to get in the way ), but you can get a glimpse of how the whole bookshop is arranged – with displays absolutely everywhere – in the above picture. I hope, regardless, that I’ve convinced you to take a trip to Daunt Books, Marylebone. Visiting bookshops is about more than just buying a book to read: it’s about the experience, and I left Daunt Books feeling very happy indeed, even though I’ve visited three times now, and I’m definitely going back.
Daunt Books also has shops in Chelsea, Holland Park, Cheapside, Hampstead and Belsize Park.