York has a long and impressive literary tradition.
Printing began on Stonegate 500 years ago, and the ‘first modern novel’ Tristram Shandy was published and sold here in 1759.
And it is still a great city for bookshops.
To mark the return of the National Book Fair this weekend, here is our guide for all book lovers. From independent, specialist, chain, charity and second-hand, York is lucky enough to have it all!
Sadly we’re just about to lose one of the most long-established as Stone Trough on Walmgate closes its doors. But that leaves a long list.
Don’t see your favourite? Let us know! Leave a comment below.
The Minster Gate Bookshop
With five floors worth of antiquarian and second-hand books you’re sure to find what you’re looking for (and more!) in this magical bookshop. They specialise in Children’s and Illustrated Books, Folklore and Arthurian literature as well as being general booksellers. Keep an eye out for the room dedicated to maps and prints and also the book bargain rack that’s located outside the shop.
- 36 Fossgate, York, YO1 9TF
- 01904 641389
A huge range of antiquarian and second-hand books covering two floors. Staff are extremely helpful and genuinely interested in helping you find what you’re looking for. Walking through this book maze is a delight but watch out not to knock over any book towers!
The Little Apple Bookshop
This cute independent bookshop is one not to be missed. The bright interconnecting rooms are brimming with books and the latest bestsellers. Specialising in fiction, Children’s books, Signed editions and gifts. If you’re a literature student at York St. John University make sure to have a look in as they often stock books from the reading list and offer a next day delivery service.
Books For Amnesty
Browse this friendly and welcoming bookshop for second-hand books, both fiction and non-fiction. Find poetry, critical essays, biographies, collectables and even CDs. Along the busy Goodramgate this shop is a peaceful haven to get lost in amongst the shelves.
Specialising in first editions, signed copies and manuscripts, this bookshop is a must visit for any collector or rare book enthusiast. It is a beautiful shop with wide floor to ceiling shelves in a bright and airy space, thanks to the huge windows.
Ken Spelman Bookshop & Gallery
Stocked full of rare and secondhand books, with a cosy upstairs displaying original prints and maps this is a shop that hours could be spent in to make sure no shelf had been missed.
Oxfam Bookshop (Micklegate)
This bright and cheerful bookshop is one of two Oxfam books locations in York! This one has a really lovely children’s and young adult corner with a space for little ones to sit and read and play. Keep an eye out for vintage Penguin classics and contemporary first editions.
Oxfam Bookshop (Low Petergate)
Head to this Oxfam Books location for specialist non-fiction and a wide selection of papeback and hardback fiction. They also stock CDs, DVDs, greetings cards, fair-trade food and gifts.
This bookshop has something for everyone. Ranging from bestsellers, poetry, crime, science-fiction, young adult, children’s books this sunny and friendly shop will leave you browsing for hours. Keep an eye out for the beautiful Penguin Classics and make sure to have a coffee and cake stop in the cafe upstairs. This store also holds regular author talks, book signings, kid’s storytime, book clubs and more.
Make sure to look up! The stunning period ceilings are just as beautiful as the wide book collection that specialises in rare and out of print books on architecture and landscape design to photography and fine art. However, this shop is only open by chance or appoinment so call ahead if you’re travelling from a distance.
Not only can you find books here but also a wide selection of records of all genres and ever-changing art and collectables.
The Grimoire Bookshop
An antiquarian and secondhand bookshop that also stocks prints and antiques. The brand new sci-fi and fantasy room upstairs is particulary fun to look around, and has a wide selection of comics. They can’t display everything due to space so make sure to ask if you’re searching for a particular book.