Where? London, England, UK
Recommended by Cristina Cona
Skoob (Books in reverse) is not a typical bookstore. It is a heaven with a scent of old and used, the moldy paper-like scent of knowledge and experience, where the shelves are full of old and sometimes dusty books, characterized by their yellowish-brown color. It has been working for over thirty years and it was founded by an ex-academic who still, together with a knowledgeable staff, manages the store. Skoob used to have more locations throughout the 80s and 90s but only one remained. Presently, it is located in central London, not so far from the British Museum, in an area of Bloomsbury just off Marchmont Street and it is a place filled with only secondhand books.
From a strictly practical viewpoint - the functioning of Skoob can be described as a highly effective book-recycling mechanism. They buy out used books, sort them out, store them in their warehouse, display in the bookshop or ship them out directly if you order online. The bookshop itself is some 180 square meters (2000sq feet) large and houses over 55.000 titles, priced at half or less of their original price. The stock is a true mixture of a little bit (or more than a little bit) of everything, bot academic and non-academic, fiction and non-fiction. Skoob also has an online catalog with some 80.000 titles which are stored in their over-a-million-book warehouse in Oxfordshire. So, if you don't find the book in the store and you do find it online, they will deliver it to the shop for you, free of charge.
The story of Skoob may well have been a sad one, as the bookshop was closed for a year and a half after The Brunswick Centre underwent a major upgrade to a rather fancy mall, and most of the independent traders weren't able to afford the rent. However, Skoob made a very successful comeback - it moved to a less prominent part of The Brunswick Centre, and although the ceiling height in the new premises might be lower, Skoob is still the old Skoob as all their loyal customers remember it. And so the low-key alternative is still there, refusing to give up, and that's a very positive ending.
66, The Brunswick off Marchmont St.
London Wc1N 1AE
Phone and Email:
+44 (0)20 72788760
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