by Regina Kenney
For Literati Pulp’s #BuyUsedBooks month, my brother and I took to the streets of London to find the best second-hand bookstores the city had to offer.
Though there are many great bookshops in London (top ten list coming soon) one stood out as the best…
Skoob Books has everything you would want in a bookshop: coziness, large and diverse selection, friendly atmosphere, and even that special old book smell.
Here is a list of five quirky aspects of Skoob Books that sets it apart from other bookstores.
1. Ton of Classic Penguin Books
Between the stacks in Skoobs Books are two large bookshelves filled with the classic Penguin books.
I couldn’t even get all of them in one photo!
I was so enthralled with this collection, I went down an internet rabbit hole researching the design and history of Penguin books.
From the onset of Penguin Publications, they opted for a simple design to set itself apart from the other gaudy publishers of the time.
The design became three horizontal bars with the middle bar always being white and the top and bottom bar corresponding in different colours that signify the type of book.
The colour scheme goes as follows: Orange for general fiction, green for crime fiction, cerise for travel and adventure, dark blue for biographies, yellow for miscellaneous, red for drama, purple for essays, and grey for world affairs
I like to imagine some sort of Penguin obsessed collector casually browsing the aisles of Skoob Books, turning the corner to see the pillar of orange, and dropping to his knees in pure astonishment and gratitude.
If you’re thinking of starting your own Penguin original collection, your one-stop-shop is here.
And here are some more Penguin shots of the bookcases for you fanatics out there…
2. Book Cover Posters
At the bottom of the entrance staircase, there is a fantastic selection of Book Cover Posters to spruce up your flat.
Each poster costs £9.75, and the selection includes both classic and a bit more obscure books.
Posters [potentially*] include: A Clockwork Orange, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Moby Dick, Dracula, Wise Blood (I know! How cool is that?!), 1984, The Heart is Lonely, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Outsiders, Light in August, Brave New World, On the Road, A Street Car Named Desire, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Invisible Man, Things Fall Apart, Catch 22, Naked Lunch, First Love Last Rights, To The Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, The Importance of Being Earnest, Lolita, The Man Who Died, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Brighton Rock, War of the Worlds, Save Me the Waltz, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, Venus in Furs, Dorothy Parker, Deliverance, There’s a No Business , Slaughterhouse Five, Ubik, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Master and Margarita (Best. Book. Ever.), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, A Tale of Two Cities, Atlas Shrugged, Les Enfants Terribles, The Magus, A Farewell To Arms, and The Sun Also Rises.
*Not sure which ones are in stock at the moment — if you are looking for a particular one, I would call ahead. Or just go anyway because this shop is so cool…
3. Kooky atmosphere
A skeleton, weird busts, fun cutouts pasted on the walls… throughout the store, Skoob Books has created this kooky atmosphere that bursts of ideas, colours and interesting concepts.
This creates a really pleasant, relaxed browsing atmosphere. You feel as though you can spend hours just looking through books and embracing the bizarre.
There are even some cute literature-inspired coffee mugs in a glass case in the back.
[Also want to take this time to praise the staff as they immensely add to the overall comfortable atmosphere. A lot of times in bookshops the keepers can be…. God bless them… more introverted types where you feel like you are interrupting them when you need to check out. Skoob Books staff is incredibly friendly and approachable. They also have a phenomenal Instagram and Twitter account.]
4. Artsy Decor
When you walk into Skoob Books and turn the corner to go down the stairs into the shop, WHAMO. There is a beautiful, artistic display celebrating books and book lovers as you descend the stairs to the book haven.
With gorgeous posters, collection of beautiful old books, quirky ads and book art suspended from the ceiling, you know immediately you are about to enter a magical place.
From the above sections you can see this burst of colour and energy is felt throughout the shop. Though you may not be able to judge a book by its cover, you can definitely judge this shop by its spectacular entrance.
5. Sense of Humour
This one made me literally laugh out loud. Next to the ‘Religion’ book section.
These humorous accent pieces add so much to the book-browsing experience.
And of course, after visiting this lovely establishment, in the British tradition we went for a pint with our new books…