Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland

The Book Annex has closed
Missing Books closed in late 2019 and now deals online and at bookfairs
Jim's Books & Ephemera, Battlesbridge, added

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Chelmsford Community Bookshop/CHELMSFORD/High Chelmer Shopping Centre
Chelmsford Community Bookshop  Open at advertised times
High Chelmer Shopping Centre  5 Market Road   CHELMSFORD   CM1 1XA
tel: 01245 265636 
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A large stock of standard charity shop books plus a bit more and most at 50p. I picked up several modern paperbacks.  Jon Morgan 20.11.17
A large selection of standard charity shop stock, mostly fiction, cookery, biography but good prices. Came away with a bag of recent paperback fiction.  HB 08.02.20

Colne Bookshop Wivenhoe /WIVENHOE/51 High Street  
Colne Bookshop Wivenhoe   Open at advertised times
51 High Street    WIVENHOE  CO7 9AZ
tel:  79619 93892  e-mail   
Open:  Thursday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00.
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Fiction, history, philosophies, society, children's, food and drink,poets, playwrights, art, photography, flora fauna, travel, music. Wivenhoe's only second hand bookshop.

Small but excellent secondhand bookshop situated a few miles outside of Colchester that caters to a wide range of tastes. Have picked up some wonderfully unusual titles here on my visits, no doubt due to the shop owner's discerning tastes but also from Wivenhoe being a hotbed of creativity (not far from the University of Essex, strong arts and live music scene etc). Books are fairly priced and payment by card is accepted. Main shop is one room on ground floor but there is also another ground floor annex accessible from outside with even more diverse titles - I'd already spent an hour browsing the main room before glancing in here on borrowed time. Highly recommended!  John 23.10.17

Friends of Hylands House/CHELMSFORD/Stable Centre
Friends of Hylands House  Open at advertised times
Stable Centre  Hylands House  Hylands Park   CHELMSFORD   CM2 8WQ
tel: 01245 605509 
Open:  Daily 10.00 - 5.00.
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Mixture of good quality paperback fiction and non-fiction, including collectables and first editions. Well worth a visit combined with a tour of the house and a nice meal in the courtyard cafe.

I had not realised but have been here many years ago. It manages to cram a great many books in a small space by double depth shelves, but intelligently the ones at the back are higher than those at the front so you can read the titles at least.The fiction is mainly new and standard charity shop stuff with some hardbacks.Decent selection of various categories of non-fiction. A small selection of 'collectables' Very good prices. I picked up a wish list item - Amazon £16.00 Hylands £2.50 ! If visiting head for the upper car park at the back of the house accessible from the Margaretting /Ingatestone road. its quite a trek from the A120 car park.  Jon Morgan 05.02.16

GfB: the Colchester Bookshop/COLCHESTER/7 Trinity Street
GfB: the Colchester Bookshop     Open at advertised times
7 Trinity Street    COLCHESTER  CO1 1JN
tel:  01206 502218  e-mail   web  
Open:  Wednesday - Saturday 12.00 - 5.00
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Around 15,000 books specialising in academic and out-of-print books on literature, art, philosophy, and history, as well as the sciences and local interest. Our quirky rooms and staircases lead up to the medieval roof of Elizabethan scientist, William Gilbert's Colchester home.

Welcomed with a request to sign an anti-supermarket petition! Varied stock on two floors. Topography strong as well as art and fiction.  Herne 
Just down from the Castle. Seems a little dry and academic on first inspection. The upstairs is new since I last visited but some good stock. The rear is an excellent place. Good Military section and excellent stock of reasonably priced paperbacks.  Jon Morgan 05.02.08
Not easy to find as entrance on lower ground floor, hence the damp smell. Stock reasonable but nothing really old. Shop assistant (owner being away) had virtually no knowledge of the business.  Chris Harte 21.08.09
Not as good as the other bookshop in the town but nevertheless well worth a visit. But be warned, they don't take cards and the cash machine is a fair step up the hill.  Nicholas Pendower 16.02.13
As good as ever, A wide selection of old and new fiction and even in the basement I could get a mobile signal to check prospective purchases on Library Thing. Prices are very reasonable and the £1.00 section which I usually avoid like the plague i bookshops yielded some gems. Did not smell damp to me despite the basement set up. There were a few dehumidifiers going. NB seemed cash only as no evidence of chip pin machine and it is a long walk back to the cashpoint. There are a couple of good-ish charity shops and a recently opened branch of Emmaus which had a good stock of books (History of Radio 4 for £1.00).  jon Morgan 16.02.13
Revisited after an interval to find still going strong. Good general stock and strong on poetry. Still cash only.  Herne 26.03.13
Seems diminished in its new home, which is a beautiful structure and ought to be perfect for a secondhand bookshop with differing levels and floors, nooks and crannies, but is oddly empty. Seems disorganised in comparison to the previous location. Bargain basement in the attic (??) with occasional gems.  Jon Morgan 05.11.15
Out of necessity, this first year has been a case of recovering from our forced move. The stock is diminished because we have weeded out most of the less saleable books. Next year, with a longer-term lease agreed, we will begin shelf-building in earnest to accommodate a lot of new and better stock. It is our aim to turn the building into one the most beautiful bookshops in Britain, for which it is ideally suited. It will take a lot of hard work, though! PS. We do accept credit/debit cards.  Simon Taylor, The Colchester Bookshop 22.12.15
Re-visited after two years encouraged by the owner's post. Nothing appears to have changed. Not the stock or the arrangement of books on the attic floor. Some evidence of organisation but a slightly haphazard feeling about the place. Intent to shelve can be inferred from wood pile in discreet corners but as the stock is not particularly large and despite the fascinating building, there is a long way before it is the most beautiful bookshop in England.... For me that is probably Booth's in Hay (Even if it is sanitised to within an inch of its life) or may be Daunt in Marylebone. Anyone else got any suggestions?  Jonathan Morgan 13.11.17
Jonathan's comment is puzzling because, about the same time, a customer who hadn't visited for two years told us how impressed he was with progress. Both rooms on the first floor have been fully shelved and in November we had recently added two large and interesting lots to the stock. However, I will concede that we still have some way to go towards being as beautiful as we want to be!  GfB 15.01.18
Returned after a long interval to the new premises. A lot to see and plenty to interest. I found some good material in literary fiction and poetry realistically priced. And an excellent coffee shop in an equally historic building next door.  Herne 12.02.18
Still only open on the "temporary" times stated.  Peter M 18.08.21
Still only open temporary hours. A lovely building, lots of space but difficult for anybody with mobility issues, lots of stairs. Some interesting books in the bargain section at the top of the building  HB  25.09.21

Jim_s Books _ Ephemera/BATTLESBRIDGE/Bones Lane Antiques Centre
Jim's Books & Ephemera    Phone before travelling
Bones Lane Antiques Centre  BATTLESBRIDGE  SS11 7RE
tel:  07950 397 842  e-mail  
Open: Monday - Thursday, Saturday - Sunday, bank and public holidays, 11.00 - 4.00
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Should be open also on Fridays from December to March. Free parking for patrons of the shop at car park site at front of site. Books from 1600s to present, also art prints and paintings.

Popped over to Battlesbridge to see this place and had a wander through the various antiques places. It is much diminished since I last visited some 20 years ago and although there were some fine antiques , I also saw a lot of utter toot as well. Jim's books looked very promising, but as I put my toe over the threshold, he announced he was shutting early to attend a wake as he had been unable to get to the funeral. That said we had a good chat about his stock and he has some very early books, much leather and dust - a wonderful combination and supplies books as props to film and TV studios . If you are looking for anything much later than WW2, then this place is probably not for you, but I will be back at some time to look through the WE Johns stock.   Firedrake 25.10.21
Part of the Bones Lane Antiques Centre (not the Old Granary where there is another book seller) Small and quite cramped, lots of notices telling customers to wear a mask (nobody was except the owner), not to handle books, 1.65% charge added to card payments under £10. etc. Felt like the owner was watching us but he did turn out to be friendly. The books are mostly 19th or early 20th century, lots of royalty, poetry, Kipling, classics, military, as found in so many house clearances. A lot of the books were very tatty, boards detached etc, just because a book is old doesn’t mean condition isn’t important. Pricing erratic, eg good condition paperback Agatha Christies very reasonably priced at £1 each but hardback copies (some stained) free from Daily Mail I think, £5 each. 1970s Armada Biggles paperbacks £3 each, would be a reasonable price in good condition but these were held together by yellowing sellotape. Meanwhile a rare Putnam title about Japanese aircraft was only £5. Probably not worth a special trip unless combined with a mooch round the rest of the antiques centre and a trip to the tea shop but it’s the sort of bookshop where you could unearth a gem.   HB  09.10.22

Leigh Gallery Books/LEIGH-ON-SEA/137 Leigh Road
Leigh Gallery Books  Open at advertised times
137 Leigh Road   LEIGH-ON-SEA   SS9 1JQ
tel: 01702 715477 
Open:  Thursday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00.
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Large general stock and particularly art, illustrated, literature and local topography. Also maps and prints.

The biggest and best of several secondhand shops in Leigh. Antiquarian and secondhand books, well-displayed and organised with quality books at reasonable prices. Recommended to browsers.  Bridget the Browser 
This is the sort of bookshop I love. Excellent stock with loads of 19th century items. Lots of quality mid-wars fiction and some stunning rarities in between other stock. Owner knew his subject and answered my queries with ease. Visit highly recommended.  Chris Harte 29.06.09
This looks promising from outside and occupies a significant area ie two shops. tha said the stock is extensive although somewhat disappointing. Lots of dead stock and gaps on the shelves and little of real interest although the poster collection (Mainly French) was good.. Owner was helpful and knowledgeable but since Drif is being spoken of again, NWAD  JM 24.07.12
Matters have obviously improved since JM's visit six years ago: this is an excellent shop, strong in all categories with plentiful stock and reasonable prices. The proprietor is extremely friendly and helpful (not something I've found I can rely upon in every secondhand bookshop). In my view, WAD!  Laurence Purcell 13.02.19
Very good shop, I always find something, friendly staff. Looks like a proper second hand bookshop as well. WAD, or for those who well remember Driff, in my case WAP. During lockdown left free books outside in boxes; that tells you much about the owners.  Peter M 20.08.21
Reassuringly, things are still as they once were, even to the geezers seated around the cash desk exchanging merry badinage. Well stocked in all categories and prices are very reasonable. My only criticism is that the books in certain subjects (military history is one) are not arranged in alphabetical order by author which rather slows one down. Worth a special visit.  Laurence Purcell 26.02.22

Oxfam Book Shop/EPPING/214-216 High Street
Oxfam Book Shop  Open at advertised times
214-216 High Street   EPPING   CM16 4AQ
Open:  Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 5.00, Sunday 11.00 - 3.00.
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Only opened 21/2/19 but bought three items. Extensive modern fiction and Crime section. Large premises with videos and music too Former charity shop and before that the Gas Board Showroom (before the con of Sid selling us what was already ours). Prices were reasonable and on a par with the Saffron Walden Oxfam which is my yardstick. probably NWAD as the other charity shops in the area are not much cop, but worth visiting if in the area and you can tolerate dropped aitches and the glottal stop so beloved of Estuary English. Avoid Thursday as apparently my ex-wife volunteers there and I take no responsibility for petrification, scorched clothing or singed hair!  JM 27.02.19
Large, well-stocked and pleasant. The large crime section contains nothing vaguely collectible. There is however enough in some sections that are not new and shiny to give hope for the future. Let's hope that scruffy interesting books find more of a place. Prices 'optimistic'- I've seen worse in Oxfam.  Peter M 24.03.19
Not often a new bookshop opens in my area so once I found out (Oxfam yet to add this shop to their website) an early visit was required. Large premises by Oxfam standards and well laid out stock. Pricy though, at least for the books I looked at. One book was not priced, a lady took it out the back and returned saying it was £14.99p. Worth a fiver at most! I will give it a few weeks and look again, but at these prices doubt I will be buying many books!  Steve Newman 24.03.19
Paid my first visit for sometime yesterday. Pricing these days appears to be more in line with your average Oxfam Bookshop these days. The stock is well laid out, and staff helpful too. A welcome oasis in the bookshop desert that is East Essex!  Steve Newman 06.01.22
First visit for three years. Saturday mid morning. It was dark and closed and a sign on the door said 'this shop is temporarily closed due to shortage of volunteers'.

Even an opening hours notice further down the door indicating that it wasn't normally open till 10.30 qualified this by saying it might not open at all some days.

Having said that when I went back past 30 mins later it was open and full of punters and seemingly many volunteers.

Agree with the last review; the prices were much more realistic this visit. But don't go all the way to Epping without checking that it is open.
  PeterM 04.03.23

Oxfam Bookshop/CHELMSFORD/94 High Street
Oxfam Bookshop  Phone before travelling
94 High Street   CHELMSFORD   CM1 1DX
tel: 01245 345028  web 
Open:  CM11DX
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A reasonably good book selection downstairs and a huge vinyl collection upstairs  Herne 10.07.10
The book section had a good selection, although there was some inconsistency in pricing, but if you're interested in the vinyl don't bother - it was all vastly overpriced.  Nicholas Pendower 08.09.12
As Oxfam bookshops go particularly expensive. Get the impression most books get marked at the upper end of internet prices - considering they have been donated seems a bit silly. Occasional half-price sale would be nice.  Jeremy D 01.05.13
Not a great selection but some new fiction in P/B and H/B with a record / DVD shop upstairs run by someone who likes mid 70's heavy metal by the sound of it. Prices are standard Oxfam (i.e. quite dear!). There are several other community charity bookshops in the town and one Waterstones (Ex Ottakars). For a county town this is lamentable but reflects the rest of Essex!  Jon Morgan 05.02.16
Some interesting modern fiction and a smallish crime section. Paperbacks among the most expensive I have ever seen in an Oxfam Bookshop and one old biddy stomped off having examined a book muttering 'typical bloody Oxfam' which made me giggle rather. More evidence of the 'Collectablebooksitis' virus!  Jonathan Morgan 13.11.17
Well stocked shop (while we were there 5 people donated books). Pricing erratic, some obviously based on highest internet prices yet hardback fiction including recent titles £1 each.  HB 08.02.20

Oxfam Bookshop/SAFFRON WALDEN/14 George Street
Oxfam Bookshop  Phone before travelling
14 George Street   SAFFRON WALDEN   CB10 1EQ
tel: 01799 526017  e-mail  web 
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Oh dear! Am I really saying this? Ah well. This is a good Oxfam bookshop. The shelves are very well laid out and in categories. What was held 'out the back' for regular customers was of some quality. Crowded on my visit with books turning over rapidly.  Chris Harte 08.10.13
Have to agree with Chris Harte here. Constantly changing stock and the staff are more about turnover and selling books rather than proving them so high that they sit on the shelves for months. Some real bargains to be had in books and elsewhere. I got the Solti CD set of the Marriage of Figaro - unplayed, for £6.00. Real quality stock reflecting the relative affluence of the area.  Jon Morgan 05.11.15
Yes plenty of good stock. I found history a good feature. Very helpful staff. For new books a branch of Daunt (called Hart's) has just opened nearby.  Herne 03.06.16
Spacious Oxfam outlet, very well laid out and looked after (maps are segregated not only by area but also scale - always the sign of a quality bookshop). Prices good by Oxfam's standards. WWAD as is the rest of this pleasant little market town.  Steven Kelly 10.03.17
Excellent, fairly priced stock that changes regularly. Helpful, friendly staff is a bonus.  Mandalay Bookshop 19.04.18
For Oxfam this is a real gem, interesting window displays tempt you in and pleasantly the books are in very good condition and sensibly priced. Stock is changed regularly an oasis in this desert region.  Bazza 04.03.22

St. Helena Hospice Bookshop/FRINTON-ON-SEA/92 Connaught Avenue
The St. Helena Hospice Bookshop  Open at advertised times
92 Connaught Avenue   FRINTON-ON-SEA   CO13 9PT
tel: 01255 851755 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 4.00.
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Donated books, records and CD's.

Lovely selection considering everything is donated. Friendly staff are always willing to help or point something out if they know you're interested in a particular subject. Books are all very well priced, found a few gems!  renn lii 17.01.11
Best charity bookshop I've been to. Well-organised. Small, but has a selection not seen in some small pro-shops.  Sam Glen 04.08.11
Well run, friendly, reasonably priced charity bookshop on a busy high street. Asked about discount for quantity, but manager wasn't keen.  Jeremy D 01.05.13
New premises are marvellous, modern and well organised. No trash. No tripping over. Prices reasonable. No significant profits for dealers. Worth a look if you're in the area.  Sam Glen 12.09.13
Totally agree with Sam Glen - a nice shop that hasn't forgotten it's main aim is to raise funds for a hospice; it appears prices are kept reasonable to keep turnover swift (something Oxfam could learn from!).  Chris M 10.09.14
Still a well stocked charity bookshop, lots of well priced fiction (from £1.50) and children’s (from 50p) Non fiction does not have the range it used to have and is more run of the mill charity shop, cookery, showbiz biog etc. The occasional interesting items have obviously been price checked and are on the high side. The ‘collectible’ books are overpriced. But we found a couple of interesting shipping titles. Always worth a browse if in the area  HB 30.10.21