Ken Spelman

The 7 Best Bookshops in York

York has been the inspiration for many authors. Its literary history dates back hundreds of years. For bookworms visiting the city, there are plenty of literary landmarks to enjoy. These include specialist bookshops, a grand library and buildings with deep literary connections. For visitors who want to browse bulging bookcases, here are some of the best bookshops in York.

The 7 Best Bookshops in York

1. Little Apple Bookshop

If you a looking for a friendly, local bookshop, look no further than the Little Apple Bookshop on High Petergate. The enticing window displays lure you inside and once there you’ll fall in love with the bulging bookcases, chatty staff and excellent events. The shop has a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and signed copies. You can also pick up bookish accessories like bags, toys and stationery.

Best bookshops in York Little Apple

2. Minster Gates Bookshop

Minster Gates Bookshop is in an area of York which has been associated with books since 1580. It used to be called Bookland Lane and later it became Bookbinder’s Alley. Continuing the connection, the Minster Gates Bookshop has five floors brimming with antiquarian and second-hand books. The shop also specialises in children’s and illustrated books, folklore, Arthurian literature and old maps and prints.

Best bookshops in York

3. Ken Spelman Rare Books & Gallery

Established in York in 1948, Ken Spelman Rare Books and Gallery has a wonderful collection of antiquarian, out of print and secondhand books. Housed in a historic townhouse, the rooms are filled floor to ceiling with bookcases which are packed with unique finds. The shop also has a lovely collection of manuscripts and documents and a beautiful selection of designer greeting cards.

Ken Spelman

4. Lucius Books

Lucius Books specialises rare and antiquarian books with plenty of first and signed editions from across a variety of subjects. Shelves here are crammed with unique and interesting titles and beautiful bound leather tomes and illustrated children’s books. Staff are knowledgable and their expertise shines through when they show you around. They will help you find what you are looking for and they will even help you source a book if they don’t have it in their collection.

Lucius Books

5. Janette Ray

If you’re looking for rare and out of print books, this small-but-might store is for you. Janette Ray bookshop specialises on architecture and building, landscape design, design history, international exhibitions, town planning, photography and fine art mainly published 1800-1950. The stock includes original drawings and photographs.

6. The Portal Bookshop

Looking for LGBTQIA+ literature? Drop into the Portal Bookshop, which is an independent bookseller located on Patrick Pool. This warm and welcoming shop stocks new and secondhand books with a specific focus on science fiction and fantasy.  The LGBTQIA+ selection covers all genres and non-fiction. The owner sources the books from the UK, the US and beyond. Upstairs is a cosy space where customers can write, read and relax, and sip cups of tea. A true haven where you can retreat from the chaos of the city.

The Portal Bookshop

7. The Blue House Bookshop

The Blue House Bookshop sells new books from an old building. Located in Bootham, this independent bookshop is designed especially for children and young adults. The shop is a bright, colourful space where everyone feels welcome. From paperbacks to pop-up books, board games to bath books, the shelves are full of engaging reading material. The bookshop holds plenty of events too including a marvellous Read2Dogs event which helps younger children gain confidence with reading aloud.

Best bookshops in York The Blue House

Melanie May
Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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