Secondhand and Antiquarian Bookshops in the UK and Republic of Ireland

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At the Sign of the Dragon/WIGTOWN/St Ninians
At the Sign of the Dragon  Open at advertised times
St Ninians  New Road   WIGTOWN   DG8 9JL
tel: 01988 403446  e-mail  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday by appointment.
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We stock New and Secondhand books and magazines on SF, Fantasy, Horror, Crime Fiction, Children's Fiction especially Fantasy, Film and TV tie-ins, Naval and Military both Non-Fiction and Fiction. Transport especially Railways

Specialist SF, Fantasy, Horror, Detection dealer. Outhouse with large stock in these genres, mostly paperback, plus garage of more general stock.  Mark V 08.08.15

Beltie Books and Cafe/WIGTOWN/6 Bank Street
Beltie Books and Cafe  Open at advertised times
6 Bank Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9HP
tel: 01988 402730  e-mail  web 
Open:  Wednesday - Saturday 10.00 - 4.00, Sunday & Holiday Mondays 12.00 - 4.00.
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An eclectic selection of books with an increasing focus on local and Scottish interest and history rewards the careful browser.

Bookend Studio/WIGTOWN/23 North Main Street
The Bookend Studio  Phone before travelling
23 North Main Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9HL
tel: 01988 402403  e-mail  web 
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A relatively small selection of books on a wide variety of subjects, stocked at the rear of the property, allowing for uninterrupted browsing.

Second-hand stock kept at the rear of the shop. Generally books on crafts, gardening, cookery and the like. What the front part of the shop represents was beyond me. Maybe it was art of some kind.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
I didn't manage to find this shop open on my two days in Wigtown. Opening hours are quite restricted.  TravellingLibrary 27.06.15
One room of mixed stock at the less collectable end, and not open all that often.  Mark V 08.08.15

Bookshop/WIGTOWN/17 North Main Street
The Bookshop  Open at advertised times
17 North Main Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9HL
tel: 01988 402499  e-mail  web 
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Scotland's largest second-hand book shop.

Very large ,comprehensive ,quite good quality stock at reasonable prices. Also stocks new Scottish, mainly local, material.  Second Nature 01.04.09
Good quality stock, prices higher than they should be. Nice to browse in.  PaulP 02.08.11
I seriously doubt their claim to be "Scotland's largest second-hand bookshop." I can think of at least four larger and with far better and more interesting stock than the tired old offerings presented here. How many runs of 'The Waverley Novels' does it take to claim the record for the most boring titles? I agree that there are good books in this shop, some of which are very rare, but even the completely bored shop assistant admitted that sales this year "are slow." And the prices ... !  Chris Harte 18.06.12
The Bookshop (such modesty!) clearly models itself on Shakespeare & Co in Paris, with its sleeping loft, and written postcards bearing booky quotes and other eccentric features which I will leave you to discover for yourselves, so as not to spoil the fun. The stock is large, with all subjects well represented and a substantial Antiquarian section. Architecture and Art are housed on a splendid staircase to the (private) upper floor. Here I even found a book sold at my own shop well over ten years ago, complete with my pencilled price and code! There is much to browse here and the stock is of good quality, with mid-range prices. Customer service could be improved: the assistant carried on talking to her friend throughout my purchasing and charged me for my plastic carriers, which I thought was pretty stingy considering what I spent. This left a bad taste on an otherwise enjoyable visit.  TravellingLibrary 08.08.15
Certainly extensive and with a large stock to look at in characterful premises.  Mark V 08.08.15
Seemed quite popular when we visited in June, albeit Wigtown was pretty quiet (midweek). No doubt the owner having written a book about his time owning the shop helps. All that aside, stock was well arranged in an attractive shop with separate rooms heading into the back of the shop. A very old building and I enjoyed having a browse. Came away with a few books at decent prices - shop owner was pleasant and chatty. Didn't have time to browse the other shops in town but as we're moving to nearby Ayrshire shortly, no doubt I'll be back again and again to Wigtown. Very decent cafe just around the corner - Cafe Rendezvous in Agnew Crescent.  Flip M 30.08.18
Popular when I went midweek recently. Stock turns over a fair bit - while I was there, the owner was on the phone negotiating to go and visit another collection to purchase. Quite different stock every time I go. Lighting could be better in some areas (really struggled to see the military titles). Owner friendly and happy to chat. If you've never been its definitely worth it - a quite labyrinthine old building (ground floor and 1 staircase only, is the actual shop) containing thousands of books on almost all subjects.  Flip M 21.08.19
Comments as per my previous visits really. Caught in a time warp, The Bookshop doesn't really change much. There were quite a few "not priced yet" boxes on the floor in front of some shelves which was awkward. 2 years ago I noticed a TV and film actor's fairly recent biography for a rather ambitious price. On this latest visit, I noted with amusement it was still there, still with the same price. I guess books sit there until someone buys them, or they rot away, whichever comes first. Revisiting old stock and their price might be sensible but with such a large stock and small staff, perhaps not realistic.

On a busy Tuesday in Wigtown, people still mainly kept their distance in the shop - and this isn't really difficult with the layout as it is, split into different rooms and areas from front to back. A "must visit" when in Wigtown.
  Flip M 29.10.21
Here a year later. Only found one book I wanted this time - a PB copy of Sir Walter Scott's journals. They had 2 copies - 1 rather creased and well used for £8; the other (same edition) unblemished and almost new looking for £4! I took the latter. Quite a few boxes of unpriced stock awaiting unpacking in the front areas blocking several shelves. Prices generally pretty ok (apart from that anomaly above. Well stocked with most areas covered. Almost a whole room on railways stock for those interested in that. No football though. There never really is. Other sports but footy doesn't get a look in in Wigtown.  Flip M 09.09.22
Your Wigtown correspondent calling in again...

Visited again a few days ago. Prices not hiked up much from what I could tell but found just the one book to purchase. That same actor's autobiog noted a couple of visits ago is still in the biog section. The pile of boxes of "new unsorted arrivals" now pretty much fills and blocks off the hardback fiction section at the front of the shop - even more so than on my last visit, and with nobody seemingly bothered enough to be working on it (just as nobody was last time). If I was being harsh I might think the owner is trading on his name now, rather than having the best shop in the area, which I don't think it is anymore.
  Flip M 02.04.23
Called in yesterday and happy to report many of the boxes that were blocking the fiction shelves are no longer there and access all round was much easier. Crime fiction swapped areas with biographies (I guess stock is bigger of crime fiction) but otherwise all is as it was - that actor's autobiog is still there and the WW1 and 2 sections (which are quite large) are not very well lit. Cricket, I noticed, is very well represented in the Sports section. Football is pretty non-existent as usual. There's still a room given over to Railway stuff and there's a big Scottish area.

Generally seem to have staff there working now the last 2 or 3 times I've been, while the owner (and author) Shaun Bythell is either out or upstairs. Yesterday we heard him being called down to meet some German tourists/fans. He was friendly and unassuming as I've always found him; I'm sure he's used to being the main reason many people call in there now.

Prices still reasonable, I find, on the whole.
  Flip M 23.07.23
First off in Wigtown was the much-hyped  'The Bookshop’ at 17 North Main Street, Wigtown. DG8 9HL.  From the outside it looked smaller than I had expected but it soon opens up and goes a long way back. 

It is visually quite attractive and the postcards from all over the world are pinned everywhere. It is obviously a popular place, but much like Baggins in Rochester, big does not necessarily equate with best.  The shop guide is a list of subject areas  with room descriptions and locations. The only one I saw was in the front room. A visual guide  / map may have been better but all the shelves seem well signed as to subject. A very large Scottish room will cater well for those with local interest.   There was a linguistics section but I could not find it and here, as elsewhere,  languages seemed  largely absent in the shops.

Crime fiction seemed largely, though not exclusively confined to ‘Golden Age’ titles / authors.  Modern fiction - in the front room held little of interest and seemed rather expensive. The children’s section was quite small and not brilliantly organised. I did however eventually find the WE Johns books and another title I did not have.

Mr Bythell belied his in-print grumpy persona and was helpful and polite to all who approached him whilst I was there. 

Niggles include boxes in front of shelves and occasionally having to use my phone torch to read titles.
  Firedrake 26.10.23

Byre Books/WIGTOWN/24 South Main Street
Byre Books  Open at advertised times
24 South Main Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9EH
tel: 0845 458 3813  e-mail  web 
Open:  Mar - Oct 10.00 - 5.30, Nov - Feb - phone in advance.
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Folklore, mythology, storytelling, stage and screen, Scottish and general.

Don't be put off by their name, which means a cowbarn, as this is a small to medium sized, well laid out and friendly shop. Set a garden area behind flats, it has a fairly general selection of mainly reference books.  Jeremy Briggs 
A sterile shop which took a short time to browse. Heavy on theatre and film and a few Scottish titles. We got the impression from the man whacking his laptop that we were intruding into someone's front room so we crept out quietly.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
This is a potentially delightful shop. The stock is very interesting and browsing unearthed many unusual items. Book Byre is quite unlike the concentration of shops on the two Main Streets, being set behind the street frontage, beyond a tiny but lush and shady garden, quite a romantic tangle. I normally appreciate silence in a shop, but in this single room the ambience would be enhanced with music of qualities to match the stock.  TravellingLibrary 27.06.15
A nice selection of folklore,mythology, history etc approached through a mysterious shrubbery. One of only two shops open on Sunday (the Bank was the other).  Mark V 08.08.15

Faodail/WIGTOWN/7 North Main Street
Faodail  Phone before travelling
7 North Main Street  WIGTOWN  DG8 9HN
tel:  07880 359943 or 07500 965565  e-mail   web
Open: 10.00 - 4.00 most days
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We buy and sell vintage and antiquarian volumes of Scottish interest along with first edition novels. We also offer a good selection of antiques, including quality jewellery, glassware and paintings.

Foggie Toddle Books/WIGTOWN/18 North Main Street
Foggie Toddle Books    Open at advertised times
18 North Main Street    WIGTOWN  DG8 9HL
tel:  01988 402896  e-mail   web   
Open: Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 4.00
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The bookshop dedicated to children’s literature in Wigtown, with a wide range of new books and a good collection of second-hand and vintage titles. One room of secondhand and vintage books.

Second hand and new children's books. Very friendly and understanding staff who made it a pleasure to visit with a lively 21 month old.  Laura 
It looks like an ordinary children's shop on entering and if it was busy I can see why people could be forgiven for assuming that it was not a second hand bookshop. The two rooms of children's books are hidden away at the back and could probably do with a notice for newcomers to realise that they are there. However they have an excellent medium sized selection of most types of children's books from annuals through paperbacks to collectable hardbacks. Box of Frogs probably has as many children's books as the rest of Wigtown put together.  Jeremy Briggs 
My wife commented that although there were old children's books on many of the shelves, the prices were through the roof. While she was looking at those I was enjoying glancing through substantial holdings of titles by Enid Blyton and W.E. Johns.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
A lovely shop with a real warmth about it. The large front room has new books and games for children, while the two rear rooms have collectable children's titles at appropriate prices and secondhand books respectively. This last room is a bit of a cave for reading kiddies.  TravellingLibrary 27.06.15
Changed ownership and name, autumn 2015. Still specialises in children's books, old and new.  Roger Scoppie 15.01.18

New Chapter Books/WIGTOWN/25 South Main St
New Chapter Books  Open at advertised times
25 South Main St  WIGTOWN  DG8 9EH
tel:  07938 650944  e-mail   web   
Open: Monday - Friday 10.00 - 5.00, Saturday 10.00 - 4.00
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We specialise in vintage books of all genres, new titles, ephemera, local history and genealogy for the region.

Unlike some other shops in Wigtown, they do purport to be open all week. We visited on a Thursday and...it was closed all day. No clue why either on the door or on social media. I think they were also closed last September on the day we went. Maybe we'll get 3rd time lucky next time.  Flip M 02.04.23
Quite a small establishment with very few books in each category and nothing of any great interest to me at least.  Quite vintage so it 'does what it says on the tin.’   Firedrake 26.10.23

Old Bank Book Shop/WIGTOWN/8 South Main Street
The Old Bank Book Shop  Open at advertised times
8 South Main Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9EH
tel: 01988 402111  e-mail 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.30, Sundays 12.00 - 5.00.
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Now under new ownership our focus will include: fiction, biography, history, politics, international issues, art and design and foreign languages.

Much improved since our last visit.Large very good quality general stock,nicely displayed and at reasonable prices.  Second Nature 01.04.09
Now probably the best shop in Wigtown.  Richard 29.07.09
Agree with above, wide range of stock properly priced for Wigtown.  PaulP 02.08.11
The second best of the bookshops. Quite a number of rooms stock from floor to ceiling with a large section on Scottish interest. A lot of sheet music and a comprehensive art collection. General stock but, in all honesty, mainly for the casual visitor.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
On my first visit here I was nonplussed to find a seminar in progress in the Topography room, impeding access to the shelves and blocking the route to Art and Architecture in the next room. This was uncomfortable for all parties, and not a little irritating. However, the shop is a handsome one with a pleasant quirky layout and well presented stock. Some flexibility on the part of the visitor may be needed. I recommend retiring to the Glaisnock for a pot of tea until 'bookshop' reasserts itself over 'multifunctional space'.  TravellingLibrary 08.08.15
Friendly and helpful, and with excellent, interesting stock at moderate prices. Definitely worth a visit.  Mark V 08.08.15
On the other side of the Square from the more famous "The Bookshop" (and down the hill, a bit), this is a well laid out shop covering all the areas in their description pretty well - quite a large world and military history section in particular which is an interest of mine. Also lots of vintage sheet music if that's your interest. All in well-labeled sections and subsections (I much prefer this to rooting blindly through jumbled shelves and piles). Several rooms with high bookshelves all around so one can easily lose one's self (and one's wife, as I did today). Prices seemed fair, on the whole, although I did notice a couple of fairly recent HBs optimistically priced when PB versions are available in discount bookshops for a couple of quid.

That said, I picked up a few things for good prices and while paying and we had a very pleasant chat with 1 of the owners (which, to be fair is quite a regular occurrence in this part of Scotland).

Quite different The Bookshop over the road - not better, or worse, just different. Which makes taking some time to browse both a pleasure.
  Flip M 21.01.19
Well lit, thousands of books, well arranged around the ground floor of what I suppose was an old bank at one time! Tall shelves all over, stocking most subjects. Military is particularly well covered but they stock most things. Friendly owners too. Prices ok. There aren't too many bargains in Wigtown but it's not over priced like Hay on Wye tends to be.  Flip M 21.08.19
Still there and not much changed from my previous reviews really. Well laid out, well lit, large military section but plenty else besides. Prices ranged from sensible to "I don't think so, do you?" but most were realistic. I found 3 books I wanted for around £10 altogether. Staff friendly and helpful.  Flip M 29.10.21
Friendly staff as usual. Quite big on military and history but most areas covered; they have a large sheet music section. Staff are friendly enough and happy to help if needs be. Prices seem to have gone up a bit though. Nothing too outrageous - maybe I just chose the more costly books this time.  Flip M 09.09.22
Prices do seem to have gone up a bit but that said, I picked up 2 HBs for £19 - 1 of which online was selling for £33 online. All previous comments still apply otherwise. A good shop - stock doesn't seem to block shelving and the owners are friendly.  Flip M 02.04.23
This is the other shop I would go to in Wigtown. It is bright and well-lit having high ceilings with extensive and well-organised shelving. In short, it felt like home. It has clearly delineated subject areas and it is easy to navigate.

The owners are very helpful and very friendly making time for a chat.
The stock is good quality and very reasonably priced, leading me to buy several books. Most, if not all, subject areas are catered for and it will take you a good while to go through all the areas of interest.

  Firedrake 26.10.23

Open Book/WIGTOWN/2 High Street
The Open Book  Open at advertised times
2 High Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9HQ
tel: 01988 402010  e-mail  web 
Open:  Monday-Saturday 10.00 - 5.00.
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Large general stock.

Changed hands about two years ago! Still specialises in new and secondhand natural history and gardening, but no longer publishes books or has natural history art exhibitions.  Second Nature 01.04.09
Stock was of a fairly general nature but with some good Southern Scotland titles. Strong on modern fiction and children's books. I was the only customer during my half-an-hour visit. Nothing antiquarian.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
Now called The Open Book and run by the Wigtown Festival Company, the shop occupies just the ground floor. Attractive and presentable general stock. At the time of our visit the shop was being run by a rapid succession of "residents", individuals wanting to try their hands at bookselling "as part of the unique Wigtown community."  TravellingLibrary 27.06.15
A small but well laid out selection, occupying the ground floor only nowadays (accommodation is now upstairs) run by paying guests who stay for a week or 2 at a time. Not quite sure how stock is brought in (guessing the show owners do that) but there's a reasonably priced general selection on offer - I picked up 2 PBs for just under a couple of quid each. Might not take too long to browse but as it's near the other larger bookshops, it's no hassle to visit, when in Wigtown.  Flip M 21.01.19
Comments as per January really - not 2 floors as per the description - just the one, on the ground floor. Everything pretty well labeled and sorted; prices are to sell, I think. I picked up 2 well used but good paperbacks for less than some charity shops would charge. Fair general selection - well worth a browse when in Wigtown as it's not large but not far from other shops. Always worth chatting to the people running the shop for that week too.  Flip M 15.08.19
Opening may be a little more hit and miss at the moment. Pre covid - booked solid 2 years in advance. Post covid - not everyone can now travel to fulfil their bookings I guess. The Facebook page indicates some have been able to come to Wigtown and run it for their week at a time since restrictions eased somewhat - but when I went this week it was most definitely closed.

But with so many shops in close proximity, it doesn't really matter! If you're in Wigtown there will be bookshops open, so just walk over the road - if the Open Book is open, great; if not, go to 1 of the others.
  Flip M 29.10.21
The Open Book.  It wasn’t!    Firedrake 26.10.23

Reading Lasses Book Shop/WIGTOWN/17 South Main Street
Reading Lasses Book Shop  Open at advertised times
17 South Main Street   WIGTOWN   DG8 9EH
tel: 01988 403266  e-mail  web 
Open:  Monday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00 & Sunday: Easter to October: 12.00 - 4.00.
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Also a cafe. The food may be good value, but the book stock is very highly priced.  Richard 29.07.09
Located in Scotland's "National Booktown", this is the UK's only bookshop specialising in books about women by women. You want a Women's Press title? They've probably got it. The shop also carries a large range of secondhand academic and general titles in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere enhanced by the smell of freshly ground coffee and home-made brownies from the in-house cafe. Truly a mouthwatering bookshop. Accommodation is also available, which is useful as there are NINE other secondhand-book shops within a two-minute radius of Reading Lasses, and others in the surrounding area.  S+S 16.07.11
This was the nicest, friendliest and socially warmest place in the whole of Wigtown. The ladies could not have been more helpful. Very strong on imported lesbian & gay studies as well as women's books in general. The cafe's home-made cakes were superb as was their coffee. No wonder the shop was bustling during our visit.  Chris Harte 18.06.12
Interesting and varied stock, friendly service and good food ... well worth a visit.  Mike 17.08.12
Supposedly a repository of specialist women's writing. The experience was a sad one. The business is in the process of changing hands and this is probably the cause of the shop's apparent confusion over its identity.  TravellingLibrary 27.06.15
Very much more just a cafe now, with small amount of miscellaneous stock in no particular order, and empty shelves too.  Mark V 08.08.15
Alive and well after lockdown, this is a cafe/bookshop hybrid. Still very much with female writers and subjects to the fore, there are also other subjects covered (and male writers). With covid restrictions still in mind, the tables are more spaciously laid out which does mean they are often in front of bookshelves, so browsing is not always straight forward.

That said, the cafe part is excellent - friendly welcome and tasty snacks and drinks - so a good place to take a break from the other bookshops too. You're free to browse the shelves or just pick a book off the shelf to read while you're at your table.

Can't comment on book prices as I didn't actually see anything I wanted.
  Flip M 29.10.21

Well-Read Books/Wigtown/1-3 Agnew Crescent
Well-Read Books   Open at advertised times
1-3 Agnew Crescent   WIGTOWN  DG8 9DS
tel:  01988 402873  e-mail   web  
Open: SUMMER, Tuesday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00. WINTER, Wednesday - Thursday 10.00 - 4.00, Friday - Saturday 10.00 - 5.00
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We first visited not long after they opened here over 3 years ago. Since then they've expanded. Lots of fiction and a big crime/fiction section in its own room on our visit yesterday. All the shops in Wigtown have most things covered between them. The owner is very knowledgeable on crime fiction in particular - but then she is a retired QC! Stock also includes local interest/Scottish/history/military/children's and regular fiction. Prices generally very reasonable.  Flip M 09.09.22
Previous comments apply. Prices still good. A customer picked out an unpriced book from a new stock box on the floor and was only charged £2.50. I found 3 books and one of those was also £2.50. A good range of interesting books across topics listed in my last review. Quality very good.  Flip M 02.04.23
NOT in the town guide for some reason, was Well-Read Books, 1-3 Agnew Crescent, Wigtown. DG8 9DS.

This shop is well organised, laid out and well lit. It was easy to browse and the lady in charge was cheerful and very helpful. It is one of the bookshops I would make a bee-line for  If ever I find myself in Wigtown again.

This is a treasure trove of quality modern fiction and the crime section is extensive. I found quite a few of the British Library reprints of 'Golden Age’ crime novels which I did not have in my collection.   These were clearly remainders but were treated as new or nearly new books with the price reflecting this. I bought them nevertheless.

Small collection of Astérix Bandes Dessinées in French!
  Firedrake 26.10.23