Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Top Ten Bookshops

Two interesting pieces on independent bookstores. Can they survive? This Village Voice piece is pessimistic, while this Guardian survey thinks there are still niches. In San Francisco A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books is for sale, and the Berkeley Cody's is set to close.

Like record shops, bookshops used to be valuable and important places. You could judge a neighbourhood by whether it had a bookshop. Before the net, bookshops were the gateway to information.

And so, my Top Ten bookshops:

  1. Compendium Books (now closed), 234 Camden High Street, London, UK. The best left wing bookshop ever. Great music selection plus my first sightings of RE/Search and Semiotext(e).
  2. Dillons (now Waterstones), Gower Street, London.
  3. Stacey's in San Francisco.
  4. Bookland in Chester (where you can shop in a 13th century crypt built). Maxine Reed worked there once.
  5. Cody's in Berkeley. The San Francisco store is new and nice but soulless.
  6. WH Smith in Chester. OK, it isn't cool but I liked it as a kid.
  7. Skoob the Best Secondhand Bookshop in London (but there's not much competition). It was better before it moved to the Brunswick Centre (which featured in Blake's 7 once)
  8. Green Apple a great secondhand store in San Francisco.
  9. Forbidden Planet on Denmark Street, London. Now a major corporation.
  10. Blackwells in Oxford and Cambridge. The best academic bookshop I have seen. Now a small chain.

No comments:

Post a Comment