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Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland


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Alnwick Lions Bookshop/ALNWICK/(Next to The White Swan Hotel)
Alnwick Lions Bookshop  Open at advertised times
(Next to The White Swan Hotel)  Bondgate Within   ALNWICK   NE66 1TD
map
web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 4.00
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Opening times - Afternoons subject to availability of LION member volunteers.

Shut but it looks quite interesting from looking in the window.  Jeremy Briggs 12.03.09
Not quite as interesting as it appears from looking in the window! Having finally visited Alnwick on a day that this shop was open it proves to be a medium sized charity bookshop with a well laid out general stock of mainly fiction. It will be aimed at the locals and Alnwick's busy tourist trade but, for the book collector, it has little of interest.  Jeremy Briggs 29.06.09
Well worth a look if you're in Alnwick: prices are very low and if you happen to come just after a new batch of books have arrived, you could be lucky. It's the only place in Alnwick you might find a bargain as the Oxfam seems to adopted Barter's crazily-high prices. Opening hours are a bit peculiar, though, and beware the shop is not always open when advertised due to lack of volunteers.  Brian Cox 18.03.15
Wasn't open on the Thursday pm - arrived around 12.30.  Chris K 06.05.16
Just had a facelift and new layout is now very welcoming but still excellent value with some local books now on offer. A great selection of CD, DVD and even some records. Worth a visit.  Duke 13.01.17
Has extended it's opening hours to include the afternoon. Found a number of interesting and well-priced titles in the non-fiction room. Friendly staff.  booksellerbull 25.03.17
Currently only accessible via the White Swan Hotel's rear car park as the front entrance is concealed/blocked by scaffolding. The five minute walking detour is still worth it if you want to see the large paperback fiction area. Non fiction titles occupy a smaller annex but some interesting books to be found and at very affordable prices.  Graeme Rendall 30.08.18
Found a book in non-fiction that I have been looking for years. Base price £1-50 great value. Very helpful and cheerful staff. Worth the walk around.  JGL 27.02.19

Alphabet Soup/BLYTH/13 Bowes Street
Alphabet Soup  Open at advertised times
13 Bowes Street   BLYTH   NE24 1BD
map
tel: 01670 797804 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 4.00.
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Mostly fiction.


Antiques Centre Berwick/BERWICK-UPON-TWEED/95 Main Street
Antiques Centre Berwick  Open at advertised times
95 Main Street  Tweedmouth   BERWICK-UPON-TWEED   TD15 2AW
map
tel: 01289 309911  e-mail  web 
Open:  7 days 9.00 - 6.00.
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Thousands of books from antiquarian to modern fiction.

Three quite small bookcases full of charity shop throw-outs.  Tom Lawson 23.03.16

Barter Books  /ALNWICK/Alnwick Station  
Barter Books    Open at advertised times
Alnwick Station    ALNWICK  NE66 2NP
map
tel:  01665 604888  e-mail   web
Open:  9:00 - 7:00 every day, including Sundays and all Bank Holidays (apart from Christmas Day).
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All categories of books. With 350,000 books, one of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain. 'The British Library of Secondhand Bookshops' - The New Statesman.

It really is in an old railway station and it really is BIG. Calling it a shop does not do Barter Books justice, it is more of a day out. For the dedicated collector it could easily take several hours to peruse. Alnwick is a pretty market town and Barter Books is located in its old railway station, easily found from the A1. The platforms have been filled in and the now enclosed main concourse has become the main retail area, but the various rooms and waiting areas are used as well. The main children's section for instance has it own room with soft toys and seats to sit on whilst the children peruse the titles, if they are not distracted by the toy train that runs around the tops of the bookcases in the next room. There are coffee and biscuits to be bought and consumed in the reading room or the in the comfy chairs beside the fire. The main stock ranges from collectable books in glass cases on the walls to row upon row of paperbacks, from LPs to CDs & DVDs. They have a large selection of paperback and hardback fiction but there really can be few subjects that they do not cover. On a winter's day the main concourse area can be cold and while the shop never feels full the car park is tight to manoeuvre in and out of when busy. Their pricing, oddly, rarely seems to end in a round pound or 50p but that is all part of the charm. Really not to be missed.  Jeremy Briggs 
Lovely shop, but grotesquely expensive, at least for anyone used to London bookshops. Which may be why one can recognise books one glanced at and put back after shuddering at the price years earlier.  Geoff Hatherick 22.07.08
Twee, self-satisfied and overpriced, but wonderful if you like gimmicks and are prepared to pay prices that are clearly set to fund the extras and the large staff. I really didn't feel that it was worth the diversion off the A1 and that I would have been better off looking elsewhere.  Steven Pedlar 17.11.08
This bookshop should really change its name. It claims to barter books but has twice now refused to barter books having previously agreed to do so. It doesn't do what it says on the tin! Pretentious and expensive. Not worth a detour.  Stuart Tucker 02.12.08
This place makes my blood boil. They have worthless titles at inflated prices yet refuse to be told of their misrepresentations both on the internet and across the counter. As an example one £84 priced book has half its pages missing and is worth about £3. I have yet to purchase a quality title from this organisation.  Chris Harte 14.04.09
What a pleasant surprise. Instead of the 'old' ways which used to annoy me, I found an organisation which had helpful, knowledgeable people; prices which reflected books' correct value and a bartering system which was being used all during my three hour visit. I purchased four expensive books and came away feeling that both sides were satisfied. The sea-change here is to be welcomed.  Chris Harte 29.05.09
While I rarely review prices, since one man's bargain can be another's nightmare depending on what you are used too, I do agree that Barter Books can have some laughably high prices on their collectable titles (particularly given the condition) but there are still bargains to be had amidst the massive stock. Whatever is said here, the sheer number of people in the shop at weekends and the queues that can form at the tills shows that they are obviously doing something right.  Jeremy Briggs. 29.06.09
Worth going because of its size and the terrific building itself.But most books overpriced by 30 to 40 %  hgilma2374 26.07.10
Contrary to other reviews I found the prices of the science fiction books to be most reasonable. Shop is very large (certainly the largest in the North East). You can park for free and it has toilets which are handy. Shop is very spacious inside and items are stored by subject area and not scattered.  Iain Baille 22.11.10
This place just makes me angry! The only time in my life that I've ever lost my temper in a shop is when despite offering 10% discount on purchaces over £30 they refused me as one of my books cost over £30! When will the owners realise that they'll sell many more books if they charge reasonable prices. The irony is that its cafe is one of the cheapest and best in the area and definitely WAD.!!! How infuriating is that!  PaulP 05.11.11
Top bookshop and WWAD - indeed well worth planning a holiday around a visit. Long may they run.  Steven Whitehead 13.07.12
Just paid 3rd visit and still bought nothing. Over-priced. Most of it rubbish really. Childrens section really pitiful, full of books due for pulping. Never has a shop so much flattered to deceive!  Lionel 08.09.12
Interesting setting but variable stock and prices. Popular venue but overall disappointing. I've been to far better, smaller shops.  SteveBrissle 26.09.13
Although worth a visit if you are in the area, this shop isn't nearly as good as it claims. The criticisms of some other commentators here are amply justified. It isn't a patch on Bookcase, on the other side of the Pennines in Carlisle.  Geoffrey Warner 21.11.13
First, 3 bits of good news: (1) Barter Books has a huge, very varied, interesting and rapidly-changing stock; (2) it has an excellent (if often full) coffee shop; and (3) after more than 15 years of frequent visits I finally managed this week to make eye contact with a member of staff, albeit a French temp. Now for the bad news: (1) it's the polar opposite of your usual friendly local secondhand bookshop, vast and impersonal, usually full of people wondering what else to do in Alnwick after visiting the Alnwick Garden; (2) its music, which used to be pleasant, relaxing, and mostly classical, is now often strident and nearly drove me out of the shop last week; (3) prices are high, often absurdly so; and (4) the stock is not looked after carefully: there is so much footfall that even quite expensive books soon become dog-eared and, as like as not, dumped by some browser in the wrong section. I buy a lot of books at Barter but it's my least favourite bookshop - I suppose we should be grateful it's still there, however.  Brian Cox 03.07.15
Thin pickings for book collectors but still rather heartening to see a secondhand bookshop full of book buying readers requiring two tills to manage the queue.  Simon Procter 26.08.17
The chap who used to price the books here retired last year so I thought I'd check to see if the new regime meant more realistic prices...NO ... not for non-fiction. The starting price seems to be £8.60 regardless of condition etc, this jumps to £12.60 and £15.60 for newer books then £24.60 and £34 for their cheap collectibles eg tatty leather bounds or even ex library books. Then of course the real collectibles in the glass cases seemingly starting (bizarrely) at £98 .. nice to look at but who would be daft enough to buy them? These prices as someone else has said ... are laughable. On the positive side I detect some weeding out of the dross in the sections I looked at and of course the cafe is great and there are plenty of places to sit and relax while you despair at the cost of a £3 book priced at £15.60!  PaulP 23.10.17
A tourist mecca during the summer which makes parking, access and browsing extremely difficult. Don't appreciate the shop's ink stamp being placed next to the price inside the cover. The huge footfall ensures that many books are manhandled and treated with disrespect. Found a few titles that were without prices: given the crazy costing structure I wasn't about to take them to the till as I figured I would be disappointed. There is a vast amount of titles within the premises though, plus the cafe is lovely. Can't help feeling that it is a complete tourist trap and priced accordingly, however. A good place to keep out of the winter chills in Alnwick - but avoid like the plague in summer!  Graeme Rendall 30.08.18

Berrydin Books/BERWICK-UPON-TWEED/18a Castlegate
Berrydin Books  Open at advertised times
18a Castlegate   BERWICK-UPON-TWEED   TD15 1JT
map
tel: 01289 309000  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.30 - 6.00.
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Excessively cheap general stock and in particular books on the arts and local interest.

Bright, well laid out and with a wonderful smell of pine from their new bookcases, this medium sized shop is a short walk out from the city walls and a big car park and only a few minutes drive from the main A1. Well stocked and friendly, with toys to amuse the children, it is well worth stopping off at if you are crossing the Scottish/English border at Berwick.  Jeremy Briggs 
This link has a video featuring the owner Rod and his young son. Stock comes mainly from charity shop culls and rejects. 20 crates of this are frequently around the counter. Also a barter scheme for light fiction mass market p/backs; multiple spare copies in the back room. Good interesting non-fiction can be found but the shelves are rather overloaded with average books. Most weeks I can find 1 or 2 items in this my local shop. May even have spent a whole £20 at one go once! Cheap and cheerful with pleasant service in narrow premises.  Chris K 14.03.11
A very useful small bookshop, with a very pleasant owner.  The Bookman 14.06.14
Occasionally re-visit this shop. Last week I bought a nice 1999 Monet one for only £4.  Chris K 20.11.17
The non-fiction section occupies several shelves at the front of the shop but never appears to amount to very much in terms of my wants and tastes. However, if mass market paperback fiction is your bag, well this is the place to go in Berwick. Titles bought by a customer were quickly replaced by duplicates from the vast stock sitting in the back room. The shop is clean, tidy and well-ordered throughout, with a friendly owner, and is located halfway between the railway station and the town centre.  Graeme Rendall 04.07.19

John Marrin Rare Books/BERWICK-UPON-TWEED/Old Forge
John Marrin Rare Books  Appointment necessary
Old Forge  Ford Village   BERWICK-UPON-TWEED   TD15 2QA
map
tel: 01890 820521  e-mail  web 
Open:  By Appointment.
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Antiquarian, rare, and second-hand books, situated in the Horseshoe Forge. Specialising in books on the history and literature of the Great War 1914 - 1918, gardening and fishing, books relating to the history of the Borders, and many other subjects from needlework to walking.

It's not open all the time, but has always been open when I've called in on holiday in Northumberland - specialises in military history - but has other stock as well. Small, but friendly.  Gareth 15.08.15

Oxfam Bookshop/HEXHAM/10 Battle Hill
Oxfam Bookshop  Open at advertised times
10 Battle Hill   HEXHAM   NE46 1BB
map
tel: 01434 608923  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 9.00 - 5.00.
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A small shop ideally placed and easy to find in the main shopping street, but hardly a substitute for losing Hencotes bookshop.  Jeremy Briggs 
Although small, just 2 rooms, is one of the friendliest and will hunt in their back room if you don't see what you want in the shop.  Geoff Martin 27.07.10
Good Oxfam shop. Better priced than others in area. Well complimented by Hospice bookshop further up the street.  PaulP 02.08.11
This shop has now moved up the road to number 10 Battle Hill, It is twice the size with many additional features. A really nice light and spacious shop with a good stock of books. The best Oxfam in the North, in my opinion.  Geoff 15.01.16
Back in Hexham where many years ago I worked doing wildlife surveying. There's a general Oxfam next door and the special book shop has its moments. Bought an interesting, special Normandy book.  Chris K 19.12.16
Clean, airy and well laid out shop on two levels (there is a raised rear area up a short flight of stairs with classics and children's books). Plenty of room for a wide variety of titles and I usually find something worth purchasing every time I visit.  Graeme Rendall 09.08.18

Oxfam Shop/ALNWICK/6 Narrowgate
Oxfam Shop  Phone before travelling
6 Narrowgate   ALNWICK   NE66 1JG
map
tel: 01665 605715  e-mail  web 
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Probably the best general Alnwick charity shop. Better selection of books than the others. Found a good nice item for £2.99. (Have found others before.)  Chris K 07.05.16

Save the Children Bookshop/HALTWHISTLE/Westgate
Save the Children Bookshop  Phone before travelling
Westgate   HALTWHISTLE   NE49 9AG
map
tel: 01434 322680  web 
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It was closed on the date of my visit but from the window, it appears to be one large airy room.  Graeme Rendall 29.08.18
Lots of cookbooks, fiction mostly average charity shop fare with a few non-fiction items taking up one wall. Probably only worth a visit if you are in the town. Don't be distracted by the "Newcastle Bookshop" sign on the shop front directly opposite - it's long closed and now part of the adjacent butcher's shop!  Graeme Rendall 30.08.18

Slightly Foxed/BERWICK-UPON-TWEED/31 Bridge Street
Slightly Foxed  Open at advertised times
31 Bridge Street   BERWICK-UPON-TWEED   TD15 1ES
map
tel: 01289 298361  web 
Open:  Wednesday - Saturday 11.00 - 4.00
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After 15 years in the Buttermarket, Slightly Foxed has moved to permanent premises at 31 Bridge Street, Berwick-upon- Tweed. We now offer an even wider range of quality second-hand books. These consist of both fiction and non-fiction, from the latest thrillers to children’s classics, from poetry to history and the occasional antiquarian find.

Ongoing Saturday market stall with second-hand books, maps, dvds and film posters under the town hall. Lots of paperback fiction and some good, larger hardback non-fiction. Stall expands to Wednesdays for the summer holiday season (late July to early September). Worth a look in before or after checking out the charity shops (especially BHF) and Berrydin Books.  Chris K 31.05.14
Not there now on winter Saturdays. (The market stalls aren't too full either near to Xmas.)  Chris K 22.12.14
Stock back on sale last Saturday. Some of his better s/h books are usually shelved at the very good Corner House Cafe just up Church Street.

I visited this bookstall recently and unfortunately found the stall holder to be rude, overpriced and downright insulting. Don't waste your pennies on such a disgusting man, walk up the street and go to Berrydin Books instead.
  Donna 20.06.15
Simon is unlikely to be able to add Wednesdays this summer; he has family problems and is also behind in writing up his PhD thesis. As far as non-fiction is concerned, I can buy good cheap items from him, while Berrydin Books currently has lots of poor stuff. Today 3 nice paperbacks.  Chris K. 26.07.15
First summer Wednesday today, the 5th August. (His wife has recovered from an operation.) Bought 2 more good non-fiction books; cost me £12.  Chris K 08.08.15
Now Wednesday too. Pop in when I'm there in the town's main street. Found another good '60s railway item.  Chris K 29.04.16
Lots of books compared with the Buttermarket. The non-fiction ones were not well sorted. Even some shops have them sorted but don't put different words on the edge of the shelf.  Chris K 03.08.17
Was open on a Tuesday afternoon when I visited Berwick recently. Thought the level and range of stock better than Berrydin at the other end of town: managed to pick up three non-fiction Penguin paperbacks in excellent condition for £8 so really happy. Owner was quite friendly. Thought sorting wasn't too bad on the whole but very occasionally haphazard. Large sofas at the back of the shop to sprawl in.  Graeme Rendall 04.07.19

Tyndale Hospice Bookshop/HEXHAM/1 Newman_s Way
The Tyndale Hospice Bookshop  Open at advertised times
1 Newman's Way  Battle Hill   HEXHAM   NE46 1BB
map
tel: 01434 608029  e-mail 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 9.30. - 5.00.
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Normal charity shop stock, most books just £1, tea and coffee available, a bit tight but plenty of books and CDs crammed in.  Paulp 02.11.13
Didn't seem to be a vast range on offer in terms of non-fiction subjects, but plenty of holiday reading fiction titles. Books are very cheap (£1) but in varying condition. Thought the shop itself was quite roomy with the books, DVDs and CDs being crammed into the available shelving which didn't quite make use of all the floor space. Plenty of potential customers on a summer Tuesday lunchtime though.  Graeme Rendall 09.08.18