Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Best Secondhand Bookshop in the World

This is the Best Secondhand Bookshop in the World. The reason it's the best is that there is nothing in there that's out of your budget. Also, it's really well-stocked, has a sofa, a dog, and is in a cute medieval house that wouldn't look out of place in Diagon Alley.

No, book-lovers, I didn't dream this up, it's called Book-Cycle and its in Exeter. Book-Cycle is a charity, and they run this bookshop in which you can take away a maximum of three books a day, for an amount which you deem appropriate. Profits from the bookshop go to sending books to developing countries, and also to planting trees. Even if you go in on a purely selfish basis, I have to say there is an excellent choice of fiction, non-fiction, and text books. The friendly chap who was running the bookshop when I turned up said they've barely got room to display everthing they get given. But don't let that put you off going round and giving them more!

Unlike many secondhand bookshops it is well-ordered and categorised, so you don't have to sift through piles of irrelevant and dusty stuff to find the gems. I came away with The Magic Toyshop, by Angela Carter, a hardback collection of Robert Louis Stephenson's short stories, and Saturday by Ian McEwan*, which I felt was a quality assortment. Sadly, I don't live in Exeter, so I can't go that often, but I'm kind of hoping they might open one near me soon.

My only complaint, if I have one, is about the 3-lane dual carriageway outside, which gets in between the bookshop, Exeter's attractive docks area, and the historic Roman Walls. But never mind. I imagine that in 30 years times, when the oil has run out, and I can only get power for my computer 6 hours a day, the bookshop will still be there, and I can go in and get myself a nice real book, and sunbathe on the A-whatever-it-is, outside.

You can visit Book-Cycle's website at: or visit them in person at 7 West St, Exeter EX1 1BB, but be warned, they don't open till 11.30am.

*I actually hate Ian McEwan's books. I'm only reading this so I can take it apart, later, on my blog.

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