The Book Emporium, Durham Indoor Market
A little hidden gem in the heart of the city centre, Durham Indoor Market is bustling with traders, grocery shoppers and the smell of bacon butties emanating from the cafe. By far my favourite stall in the market is the second hand book seller – The Book Emporium is easy to miss – make sure you turn right upon entering the market from Durham’s Market Square and wind your way through towards the music shop. The bookshop is nestled in there somewhere!
There’s only a small amount of space but we’ve picked up a few bargains from here in our time. Those looking for light relief with a holiday read or an unputdownable thriller will be spoilt for choice, whilst there’s a few shelves packed with modern classics and biographies just opposite the till.
The People’s Bookshop
I love the idea of a radical bookshop – and it’s this notion that The People’s Bookshop, Durham has really made the most of. As with all of Durham’s best discoveries, this independent bookshop is hidden down a ginnel and up a mysterious flight of stairs… Found just off Saddler Street close to Vennel’s Café, The People’s Bookshop may be small, but it really packs a punch.
Specialising in local history, people’s politics, trade unions and labour history, poetry and literature and collectible books; this little bookshop really does well to fill in the gaps left behind by modern booksellers and the dreaded e-book. Most of the books here are second hand, but some are hot off the printing press from self published authors and local talent. A fantastic idea and a breath of fresh air for the city of Durham, whose labour-led history has long been at loggerheads with the elitists from the historical Durham University.
Oxfam Books Durham is in a league of it’s own when it comes to charity bookshops. With plenty of stock donated from university students past and present, the academic and classics section of this Oxfam is the best place to while away a few hours in Durham. Not only does it have a fantastic selection of titles but the building itself is full of little nooks and crannies where you can easily perch and have a flick through your finds.
Last time I was here I picked up a few books on Buddhism – there’s a great spirituality shelf with a mixture of academic-type books as well as more light-hearted self help and philosophy titles. The staff here are ridiculously helpful too, after chatting to a volunteer about my quest to read a book a week for a year, he spent a while with me picking out titles and recommending me authors based on what I’d already read. This is when I picked up Home by Marilynne Robinson and Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. An all round excellent second hand bookshop, stacked high with high quality titles. Don’t miss the bargain bins on the cobbles outside the front of the shop!