Category: Used bookstores

Bookish British Vacation: Book Stores & Historic Library

My recent trip to Britain had a decidedly bookish flair.

We visited some sights made famous by C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, as well as some places with Harry Potter connections.

But, we also visited many book stores. Some were historic book stores that sell new books. Some were modern book stores connected with big companies. Some were small stores that sold used (and often rare and collectible) books.

Photos by Bruce and Deb Watley

In Oxford, we visited Blackwell’s Book Shop. Our family joke is that it is like the Tardis–bigger on the inside. This historic store has it all–new books, old books, and lots of academic books.

In London, we walked down Charing Cross Road and found a concentration of book stores, including Foyles, Henry Pordes Books, Any Amount of Books, and Francis Edwards Antiquarian Booksellers (now Quinto and Francis Edwards).

Hatchards on Piccadilly was on my must-see list. It opened in 1797 and is the oldest book store in London.

We also toured the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It’s earliest origins in that location reach back to the 15th Century. During the Reformation, however, many of its books were removed and some destroyed. Thomas Bodley is credited with saving and re-invorgating the library in 1598 (with it opening in 1602). Although the many universities in Oxford have a library, the Bodleian Library is the library for the whole Oxford system. It now includes multiple separate libraries and buildings.

We were allowed to take photos in some of the gathering rooms at the Bodleian Library, but not in the collections rooms.

Do you take bookish vacations? To where? What are your favorite book stores and libraries?






Literary Treasure Hoards, or AKA, Used Bookstores

A treasure hoard is a hidden cache of jewels, coins, or other valuables. To me, bookstores and libraries are full of treasures–books, both older and newer. Although used bookstores are not hidden, they are often overlooked.

I love used bookstores. When I purge my bookshelves, I sell what I can at a couple local used bookstores. While the employees decide what they’ll buy, I browse the shelves and often buy more books.

At used bookstores, sometimes I find newer books, but I also find classics and wonderful older books. Sometimes I find books helpful for historical research.

Part of the fun is that I never know what I’ll find. It’s a treasure hunt for me.


Photo by Bruce Watley

A few weeks ago, I posted about a recent visit to Colonial Williamsburg. There is a used bookstore there–Mermaid Books. At that visit we arrived after the store closed, so I only scored a photo.

But, several years ago, I was able to shop at Mermaid Books. I discovered a couple old treasures I didn’t know existed.


Photo by Deb Watley

For more information about Mermaid Books, see

This is the first installment in a series about literary treasure hoards/used bookstores I visit.

Do you shop at used bookstores? If so, please tell me about them!