Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Return of The Book Guide - Secondhand Bookshops in Britain

The Book Guide is back!

Book collectors in Britain and Ireland were for some years able to plot their foraging expeditions using an excellent online directory of secondhand bookshops, run entirely voluntarily by Mike Goodenough, a bookseller in Stroud. This included not only useful information about location, specialisms, and opening hours, but comments from browsers.

In a post on The Rise of Secondhand Bookshops in Britain, I also used this guide to discover that, contrary to frequent belief, the number of second-hand bookshops in this country was actually rising rather than declining. Compared to the number in Driff’s exhaustively comprehensive bookshop guide of thirty years or so ago, there are (or were) about 25% more, and even if you exclude charity bookshops from both sources there is still a slight increase.

Unfortunately, when its organiser retired, the online guide lapsed, but the good news is that it has now been relaunched by a fresh set of volunteers and in a new format. This will be very valuable, particularly in the present times.

At the last count, in 2019, there were about 1180 secondhand bookshops in the UK and the total had been around this figure for a few years. It will be interesting to find out how many have survived and what new openings there may have been (one recently opened on Shetland).

Keen browsers can help out by checking the entries for bookshops they know, and sending in any corrections or comments, by notifying the site of any newly opened or newly discovered shops, and by adding comments on any they are able to visit. 

(Mark Valentine) 


  1. You beat me to it - I had an email from Mike letting me know about this welcome resurrection due to posting comments on the previous site.

  2. I saw that he was doing something quite a while ago. I'm glad it's back properly.