Do you identify as a bit of a bookworm? Is there no better feeling than snuggling up on the sofa with a brand new read and a cup of tea? I’m totally with you. As a Londoner I’ve made it my mission to find the best charity shops in London for books. Whether it’s for a fictional novel, or something more specialist.
The good news is, London has a vast number of book-focused charity shops, as well as a wealth of second hand book shops. In fact, I’d even go as far as to suggest that London probably has one of the largest concentrations of second hand book shops and charity shops in the country.
Why choose charity shops?
Swathes of books get donated to charity each year, and not only do you get to save these books from landfill, but you’ll also save a pretty penny in the meantime. Many charity shops will offer books from as little as 20p, and you may even find rare or antique books in London’s thrift stores too.
Ultimately, you’re also helping out a good cause when you shop at a charity shop in the UK. The benefits of shopping for second hand books are abundant. It’s also pretty nice to think that someone has read the exact same book before, and imagined those same characters in the story.
So without further ado, let’s get into this list of the best charity shops in London for books.
Oxfam is definitely the OG when it comes to the best charity shops for books in London. There are Oxfam Books all over the city, and you can expect to find one in pretty much every neighbourhood.
From antiques, historical texts, reference books to fiction- you will find it all. It’s also a great place to go for student textbooks, retro books, children’s books, vinyl, and music books. The best kind of thrift shop!
📍 Bloomsbury Plaza, 12 Bloomsbury St, London WC1B 3QA
Oxfam Bloomsbury is the Oxfam’s flagship book store. It is located in the heart of literary London. Oxfam is the UK’s largest second hand bookseller so there really will be something for everyone at their flagship store. The shop is moments away from the British Museum, and offers a wide range of specialist items. From art, to rare and collectable books, academic, fiction, CDs and vinyl.
Did you know Oxfam also have an online shop? If you can’t make it to their flagship store, take a look at the affordable second hand books available online.
📍 91 Marylebone High St, London W1U 4RB
Oxfam Marylebone Book Shop stocks a wealth of beautiful books. You’ll find modern fiction, leisure interest, specialist academic books, classics, rare books and collectables. Even better? You’ll also find vinyl, CDs and DVDs in the store. If you’re in central London, and you’re a book lover, be sure to stop off here.
Did you know Oxfam also have an online shop? If you can’t make it to their Marylebone store, take a look at the affordable second hand books available online.
The Amnesty Bookshop
📍 308 Kentish Town Rd, London NW5 2TH
Just a few minutes’ walk from Kentish Town underground station you’ll happen upon The Amnesty Bookshop. The Amnesty Bookshop began as a stall based in the Hammersmith & City Line tube station, to raise funds for local campaigns. There are now ten second hand bookshops across the country.
The Kentish Town branch sells good quality used books, vinyl, and CDs. You’ll find collectables next to contemporary fiction, children’s books and classics, and just about every genre of literature. Your money goes to a good cause that builds community spirit, which is a wonderful bonus of shopping at this store.
📍 175 King St, London W6 9JT
This store moved from their location right outside the tube station (which was the original Amnesty Book Shop), and they can now be found on King Street. Similarly to the Kentish Town branch, this charity shop stocks a vast array of literature and other items too.
The store raises money for local campaigns in London. So if you want to support other Londoners, this could be the best book charity shop for you.
At the Hammersmith branch you’ll find Literature & Classics, Rare & Interesting Fiction, Crime, Sci-fi, Poetry and drama. You’ll also find something for young people such as short stories, graphic novels, comics and young adult fiction. In non-fiction you’ll find genres such as travel, cookery, gardening, hobbies, foreign language and much, much more.
British Red Cross Book Shop, Palmers Green
📍 385 Green Lanes, London N13 4JG
The British Red Cross Book Shop is one of only a few specialist Red Cross book shops across the UK. Although they have plenty of traditional stores, their book shops are a little harder to find. In the Palmers Green store you’ll find fiction, non-fiction and reference books, alongside rare and collectable books. You’ll also find children’s books, stamps, maps, postcards, sheet music, CDs and vinyl.
If there is one charity in London that does shops really well? It’s the British Red Cross. Be sure to stop by if you’re in North London.
FARA Books For Kids
You may have heard of FARA, but did you know that they also have specialist shops for kids? There are a few FARA Kids stores dotted around London, and most of them carry a good selection of second hand children’s books. However, FARA have gone one step further and opened FARA Books For Kids. You guessed it, it’s a specialist charity shop for children’s books.
📍 74 Chatham Road, London, SW11 6HG
There are several FARA stores in Clapham (including a FARA Kids store), and this specialist book shop is located right next to the other shops. Head past the boutiques and cafes along Northcote Road and you will find FARA Books For Kids over on Chatham Road. While you’re in Clapham, you might want to visit some of the other fantastic charity shops in South London.
The shop is easily accessible by bus from Clapham Junction, and is an excellent resource for parents and kids alike. All profits go towards supporting the FARA charity programmes in Romania.