Feature: Jenny Coggins
CARRYING on the theme of bookshops from the main feature, Shopography
takes us on a more intellectual path down Charing Cross Road.
There has been a threat in recent years on independent bookshops
in London, particularly those on Charing Cross Road.
Discount bookshops have come and gone, but one has really stood
the test of time without its foundations shaking at the thought
Foyles is a king among bookshops and is the biggest on
Charing Cross Road.
Winner of Independent Bookshop of the Year, the store is currently
In the middle of a refurbishment, although it is remaining dignified
and easy-to-use in the process.
For armchair travelling, there's a globe-sized travel section,
offering maps and fiction and non-fiction travel writing.
The café on the first floor is quite different from the
sanitised Starbucks that appear in chain bookshops.
Tucked away from the book browsers, the café offers tea
from £1.20, and a selection of home-made sandwiches and
It shares a home with Ray's Jazz, a jazz shop that often
holds events in its own right, check the calendar to see what
If you are trying to get a young one into reading, then the kids'
section is sure to get their noses into books. The carpet breaks
in colour as little ones feet walk in into vibrant primary colours.
Blackwells, near Les Miserables, has just had a front
conversion. This gives the entrance a much brighter and welcoming
feel than before.
But it's in the older part of the shop that the majority of
books can be found.
Whilst prices are not as cheap as some bookshops on the road,
Blackwells offers a consistency of quality that plenty of discount
shops cannot promise.
This is a shop, however, better for its non-fiction, rather than
fiction books. But don't expect to find any lounging chairs like
in big-chain bookshops.
Lounging and reading is positively discouraged. The blue sofa
at the front of the shop really is as uncomfortable as it looks
and may be good for your posture, but it certainly isn't for testing
the first few pages of a book.
Visit the website on www.blackwell.co.uk
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:30am - 8pm and Sunday:
12 noon - 6pm.
Bookcase is one of the better discount bookshops on the
There is up to 50% off the books on sale, but the books on offer
range in quality.
There are sections dividing up what is on offer, such as a sport
section but because it is a discount store these shelves are not
as full as you would hope them to be.
The current basement sale is not really worth bothering with,
as the bargains are difficult to find among all the booby prize-esque
books on offer. Opening hours are: Monday - Saturday 10-8pm and
Henry Pordes sells second-hand books, so is a great place
to hunt for a rarity, or out of print edition. Books are also
bought here, so if you want to relieve your bookshelves of some
books collecting dust, then this is a good place to go. Call on
0207 836 9031. Based at 58-60 Charing Cross Road.