Book shops are a bit like pubs: nice places that are endangered, and people are sad about it. The number of independent book shops in the UK has fallen by more than a third in the past decade as competition for Amazon and e-readers has ramped up. From the sound of things, the only thing that's been keeping the physical book industry afloat is 50 Shades of Grey, not to mention the handcuff manufacturers.
But don't despair! Oxford has an enormous population of bookwormy students and strong literary credentials, so the industry is more resilient here. Have a look below for our list of suggestions in the city and a few further afield.
For online book shopping especially for old or out of print titles, try Abebooks.co.uk. Yes, we know it's owned by Amazon, and we're sorry.
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Where to Buy
Here are some other specialist or further afield options:
Blackwell's Secondhand / Rare Books, 48-51 Broad Street. Map
Second hand: 01865 333633 email@example.com
Rare: 01865 333555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon-Sat, 9.00am-6.00pm, Tue 9.30am-6.00pm, Sun 11.00am-5.00pm. English literature, history, archaeology, politics, economics, law, science, technology, medicine, travel, Greek & Roman literature, European literature, oriental, theology, philosophy, antiquarian literature, modern first editions, private presses, illustrated books, juvenilia, bibliography, sets, Oxford books. Book tokens accepted. Catalogues issued regularly. M: ABA, PBFA.
Books on High, at Antiques on High, 85 High Street. Map
Tel: 01865 251075 email@example.com
Mon-Sat 10.00am-5.00pm, Sun 11.00am-5.00pm. Art, juvenilia, travel, literature, history, modern firsts, illustrated books. For rare, antiquarian and secondhand music, come in on Thursdays (10.00am-5.00pm) to see Austin Sherlaw-Johnson (Tel: 01993 898223).
The Classics Bookshop, 4 Church Street, Cleobury Mortimer, Kidderminster DY14 8BS. Map.
Tel: 01299 271559 / 07816 238141 firstname.lastname@example.org
Formerly of Oxford, then of Burford, and now of a midlands market town that's closer to Wales than Oxford. Still worth a mention for their mail-order service. Extensive collection of Latin & Greek language and literature, archaeology, ancient history. Ancient near east. Books on Oxford. Large section of prints and maps of Oxford. Mounting and framing service. Catalogues issued. M: PBFA.
Also watch out for the annual PBFA book fair, usually held in April in Oxford, which is a Mecca for rare, vintage, unusual and bizarre books, maps and printed ephemera.