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Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland


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About thebookguide

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Ancient history

directories
Going back at least seventy years, there have been book series that aimed to list the second-hand and antiquarian bookshops of Britain. Among the first were the Sheppard Press Dealers in Books, which appeared in new editions every few years. Skoob Books issued a similar directory in seven editions between 1987 and 2000. Probably best-known, if not notorious, are the several editions of Drif(f)'s Guide, a deliberately chaotic, scurrilous and often very funny book recording the author's love of books and hatred of the book trade, or at least significant parts and aspects of it. The last edition of Drif's Guide appeared in 1995 and since then he has been elusive. (As chance would have it, days after writing this I bumped into and chatted to Drif - surely a good omen for the site.)

The original site

thebookguide was launched in 2001 by Mike Goodenough 'in the spirit of Drif' as a listing of the second-hand and antiquarian bookshops of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. It also listed book fairs, book auctions and bookbinders, which we intend to include on this site later.

Mike maintained the site over nearly twenty years but closed it in March 2020, making the content available to anyone who would continue it in some form. Since then Roger Blake has preserved and hosted the site content and registered the domain thebookguide.info, and Jon Morgan has listed the shops with submitted changes on his Facebook page.

The new site

This site aims to include Mike, Roger and Jon's work and acknowledges their help and contributions, plus the reviews submitted by many users over the years, some of whom have visited and reported on a large proportion of the hundreds of shops listed. Thanks are also due to Laurence Purcell for proofreading and Chris Harte for submitting updates for the whole of Wales.

The listing content is being gradually updated from the state Mike left it but many post-lockdown changes still unrecorded. We hope rapidly to bring them up to date, with our readers' help.

The site needed a new interface to restore the interactive elements. Users of the old site could submit comments on a bookshop, and could submit new shops and changes to existing shops, and this has been reinstated.

The twenty-year-old layout has been redesigned to take advantage of new larger screens and to allow better display on smartphones.

Major thanks are due to Bytemark Hosting who are sponsoring the hosting of this site, allowing it to be free of advertising and commercial exploitation of its visitors.