Old fashioned bookshops vs Amazon

So Monday’s trip to Durham was slightly spoiled because the weather is refusing to behave itself at the minute. What was intended as a nice day out ended up being a mad dash around to try and get everything I needed without getting soaked to the skin.

With the rain pouring outside, I had the perfect excuse for sheltering from the weather in one of my favourite places in Durham, the Oxfam bookshop. Of course once I was there, I managed to pick up a few books to add to my (growing) ‘to read’ pile.

Books oxfam Durham second hand books

There really aren’t many good bookshops left, but this is definitely one of my favourites. It’s a little bit sad though because it used to be so much nicer when it was in the older shop on Saddler Street.. unfortunately someone decided that it should become a Jack Wills instead.. go figure.

But even despite Durham’s Oxfam books being moved to a smaller store, it’s still one of those places where you could spend ages browsing. I love to visit proper bookshops and I think part of their appeal, (especially second hand ones), is you never know what treasure might be waiting for you. Here in the North East, we’re lucky enough to have the gorgeous, Barter Books. It’s a brilliant second hand bookshop in Alnwick, housed in an old station and has been described as one of the 20 most beautiful bookshops in the world.

I read an article recently from the New York Times about independent and second hand bookshops in France. Basically while bookshops in the UK and US are ceasing to trade, French stores are doing just fine. It all has to do with the fact that French law prevents companies like Amazon from heavily discounting books. I know I’m just as much of a culprit for trawling Amazon for cheap books but it really made me think about what the price of cutting out the middle man would mean over the next ten years. Would there be any of these quaint little bookshops where you could find something just because you were drawn to the cover, or the blurb? Or would it just be that we are all suckered into the convenience of online shopping… after all it’s pretty easy to find obscure titles now at the click of a button. Personally, I don’t think that you get the same kind of feeling as when you’re scanning through bookshelves and finally spot something you have been looking for. After reading the brilliant article, I’ve decided I need to make more of an effort to stop just clicking and adding things to my basket, and to go out and actually look for them. And honestly, it’s much more fun.


  1. August 8, 2012 / 5:12 am

    Oh, I wish I had a bookstore like this near me! The only bookstore I frequent is Barnes & Noble, since it is the closest to me. Sigh, I guess convenience really does win out in the end. But I would love it dearly if I could one day live in a neighborhood with a quaint bookstore, like in that Meg Ryan / Tom Hanks move : You've Got Mail. I want my own Little Shop on the Corner – that is the epitome of a charming and homey bookstore.

    ♥ x i x i a | thisisxixia.com

  2. August 8, 2012 / 8:53 am

    Yes Oxfam Durham! It is so cute in there. I've looked for textbooks upstairs a few times and found all sorts of weird and wonderful objects up there.

  3. August 16, 2012 / 10:43 pm

    I am a huge bookstore lover too – my friend recently told me about Barter Books and I really need to get myself there it looks like the most stunning setting for a bookstore ever! x
    Island Girl Insights ♥

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *