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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Our Favourite Independent Bookshops

By Faith Manalili, Laila Hulatt, Chloe Brown, Mollie Boardman and Megan Levick

To celebrate The Publishing Post’s 100th issue we revisit our first bookshop article and share our favourites! Before 2020 we had no idea we would lose access to physical bookshops for some time and, since then, so much has changed in the retail landscape. More independent bookshops respond to readers by becoming multifaceted bookish venues and by merging with the online world. This article outlines some of our favourite unique physical touch points across the UK to celebrate continuously sharing bookshop insights!

The Poetry Bookshop

Lion St, Hay-on-Wye, HR3 5BU

Situated in the heart of the charming small town of Hay-on-Wye, The Poetry Bookshop is the largest in the UK, focusing solely on poetry. This light and roomy shop houses a wide selection of poetry, including modern poetry, children’s poetry, romantic poetry, poetry in translation, anthologies, criticism and much more. There is truly something for every poetry lover here. If you are looking for a specific title, the staff are very helpful, and the shop also provides a book search service via its online store. In addition to this, the physical store is decorated with poetry prints, postcards and tote bags – which they also sell. Every now and then The Poetry Bookshop also hosts book launch events, author talks and readings. With such a unique collection of books and interesting events, The Poetry Bookshop is a must-visit for poetry enthusiasts!

Walden Books

38 Harmood St, Camden, NW1 8DP

The very charming Walden Books is nestled down a leafy residential street in Camden. Its outdoor book displays, laid below the blossoming wisteria trees, easily entice people into this shop. I adore its old-time feel: the shop offers an array of second-hand books, and most of them cost no more than £1. The floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, housing well-loved titles, are also often adorned with vases of bouquets.

I have such a soft spot for bookshops like this one, which feel impossible to leave. This enchanting little corner of Camden is truly the perfect escape from its restless market and high street. The slightly haphazardly organised displays come with the prospect of stumbling across a hidden gem. I could spend hours delving through their stock of old penguin classics and rare finds. My favourite time to visit this nook of treasures is an autumn evening, just as the honeyed light of golden hour covers the shopfront like a warm blanket.

Collected Books

The Riverwalk, Durham, DH1 4SL

This independent bookshop in the Northeast has a unique origin story. A product of Emma Hamlett’s experience during the pandemic, Collected started as an incredible mobile bookshop in 2021 within the confines of Cordelia the Bookshop van. Since 2022, the shop has metamorphosed into a bricks-and-mortar retailer specialising in titles written by women – actively challenging the way reading habits are formed by traditional publishing.

As well as exhibiting an expansive array of books, there is a welcoming café where you can enjoy conversation and the bookish environment. This inviting space is often utilised for book events as advertised on their Instagram page, where you can discover offers of signed and special editions!

The owner, Emma, is passionate about giving space to women writers and representing the northern demographic, a combination that is so important to many readers, writers and individuals in the publishing landscape (both hopefuls and professionals). If you want to support Collected but can't be there in person, we recommend browsing their online store, particularly the carefully curated book bundles!

Dead Ink Bookshop

375 Smithdown Rd, Liverpool, L15 3JJ

Photo by: Dead Ink Books

Established in 2022, Dead Ink is an independent bookshop that specialises in books from independent publishers. This small but mighty shop is a treasure trove of stories you won’t find anywhere else and you’ve probably never heard of – but you’ll want to! The fresh and inviting interior makes it easy to browse for hours on end, perusing the collection of quality books that go against the grain. The booksellers are always up for a chat and offer insightful recommendations for new and returning customers. They share their favourite picks on the bookshop’s website, alongside information about book launches, author conversations and workshops that draw in the community.

Dead Ink is also an independent publisher that is passionate about making the industry accessible to a wide range of voices and advocates for sustainability and ethical practices. If you’re looking for a book that defies convention and a space that is constantly trying to do better for the world and the people in it, Dead Ink is the bookshop for you!

News From Nowhere

96 Bold Street, Liverpool, L1 4HY

News From Nowhere is Liverpool’s iconic radical and community bookshop, situated amongst the rich culture of Bold Street and its independent cafes, shops and restaurants.

Established in 1974, the non-profit independent bookshop has since become a renowned institution that stands as an iconic part of the city’s vibrant literary scene. News from Nowhere is an all-women-workers collective, a hub of activism, inclusivity and diversity committed to social justice. Inside, you can expect to find an eclectic and expansive array of alternative literature, including radical zines, poetry and fiction on topics ranging from LGBTQIA+ rights, anti-racism and feminism to sustainability, animal rights and socialism. They use books as a tool to advocate for social change and aim for the titles on their shelves to cultivate empowerment and inspire positive action in society. Celebrating independent creative spaces such as News from Nowhere is essential, so pop in next time you are in Liverpool – you’ll be sure to leave feeling inspired and emboldened!

1 comment

1 Comment

han gu
han gu
Jul 15

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