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A Guide to the Best Bookshops in Bath

Looking for the best bookshops in Bath? This lists details new and old bookshops in Bath, stocking both new and second hand titles!

Bath is a city with many literary connections, most notably those with Jane Austen.

It’s one of the best cities in Britain for bookworms to explore because of the historic links to Austen, Dickens, Shelley and more.

Beyond these connections to authors and their writings, there are a multitude of bookshops in Bath that should be on any literary traveller’s bucket list.

Keep reading to find out more about the Bath bookshop that has won UK’s best independent bookshop twice! Then check out my literary tour of Bath for even more bookish spots.

Skoob Books

Skoob Books is the best places to shop for secondhand books in Bath. They’ve got a small space in Guidhall Market but it’s filled with towering stacks of books.

The range here is seriously impressive as you can shop for any fiction book from classics to new releases!

Their copies are all in very good condition and the prices are low too making it an all-round winner.

If you’re looking for a particular book, just ask a member of staff and they’ll point you in the right direction. It can be quite overwhelming looking at all those books! Their stock is so extensive that they’ve got multiple copies of most books so chances are they’ll have what you want.

They’ll also buy back your old books so if you want to declutter your bookshelves this is a great second hand bookshop in Bath to bring your unwanted copies to.

NB Skoob Books Bath is not affiliated with Skoob Books in London!

Address: 40 – 42 Guildhall Market, Bath, Somerset BA2 4AW
Opening Hours: 9am- 5pm every day (closed Sundays)

Mr B’s Emporium

Mr B’s Emporium is an award-winning independent bookshop in Bath that you must add to your Bath itinerary.

The shop spans across several floors and each room has its own character and charm.

On the bottom floor you’ll find a bath filled with books and upstairs there are cosy armchairs and even a small tropical-themed reading room.

You’re welcome to stay awhile at Mr B’s so sit down, snuggle down with your new book and stay put for an afternoon. They’ve even left out water jugs by the armchairs for their customers!

Beautiful decor aside, it’s also a great bookshop to browse when you want to pick up something new and you’re open to being persuaded.

There are personal recommendations from the staff on most shelves of the store, which makes you feel like you are shopping with a knowledgable bookish friend!

They’ve been named the UK’s best independent bookshop not once, but twice so it’s not one to miss. The shop also hosts “reading spas” and “bibliotherapy” sessions, which certainly sound unique!

Address: 14-15 John St, Bath BA1 2JL
Website: mrbsemporium.com
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm weekdays; 9:30am-6:30pm Saturdays; 11am – 5pm Sundays

Bath Old Books

Bath Old Books is located right by Royal Crescent and The Circus, making it a popular Bath bookshop for bookish tourists.

It seems like a small and cosy bookshop when you first enter but underneath there’s a large room filled with even more books!

It’s run by five wonderfully friendly book dealers who specialise in a broad range of areas from travel to children’s literature to art. If there’s something you want that they don’t have, they might even be able to source it for you.

Bath Old Books is also a great place to shop for Jane Austen souvenirs as they’ve got a wide selection of her works and many different editions to choose from.

Address: 6A Margaret’s Buildings, Bath BA1 2LP
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm every day (closed Sundays)

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath

Topping & Company is the most beautiful bookstores in Bath with both sides lined with magnificent brown wooden shelves. They’ve even got sliding ladders so you can clamber up to read those that are on the top shelves!

Topping & Company: A Guide to the Best Bookshops in Bath

The store looks pretty small from the front but it is surprisingly deep. They stock everything you’d expect here with every single genre from general fiction to cookery to poetry.

Toppings bookshop also frequently hosts author events for the biggest names in British fiction so check out their events page before you visit to see what’s going on.

They have great connections to authors and so it’s a fantastic shop for signed first editions of popular recent fiction too!

If you live in Bath then you might consider joining their Poetry or Fiction reading groups, which are held monthly.

Address: The Paragon, Bath, BA1 5LS
Website: www.toppingbooks.co.uk
Opening Hours: 8:30am – 7:30pm every day

Persephone Books

Persephone Books is a new Bath bookshop, having moved from the heart of London’s literary Bloomsbury to the smaller city of Bath in 2021.

Persephone Books in Bath only stocks literature written by women. They reprint neglected books by female writers in an effort to get these stories seen and read again.

Whilst you’ll probably never have heard of authors such as Etty Hillesum, they’ve also reprinted works by notable female authors such as Virginia Woolf.

In either case, Persephone Books will have reprinted a book or books by these wonderful authors of the twentieth century that have largely been forgotten since then.

It helps that this is one of the most beautiful bookshops in Bath too with perfectly organised shelves and beautiful bunches of flowers on the tables in the centre of the room.

And it’s not just a beautiful bookstore! Each and every book has a beautiful grey cover, so you can instantly recognise a book from Persephone’s.

The above photos are from Persephone Books in London but the two stores look much the same!

Address: 8 Edgar Buildings, Bath BA1 2EE
Opening Hours: 10am-6pm weekdays, 11am-5pm Saturdays, closed Sundays.
Website: www.persephonebooks.co.uk

George Bayntun

George Bayntun bookshop in Bath (or ‘Geo Bayntun’ when I visited (see pic)) is the oldest bookshop in Bath and has a fascinating history.

George Bayntun himself was given the title of Bookseller to Her Majesty in 1950 by Queen Mary, King George V’s wife.

This Bath bookstore sits inside a listed building that was once the Post Office’s sorting office.

It was converted into a book bindery and bookshop in 1938 and it has retained its antique furnishings since then.

There are lots of first editions to be found here as well as maps, prints and secondhand books.

George Bayntun Bookshop: A Guide to the Best Bookshops in Bath

This one is great for bibliophiles in Bath who want to see some seriously beautiful editions and find out a little about how these books are made.

Poke your head in and have a little wander around as soon as you arrive in Bath – it’s right by Bath Spa train station!

Address: 23 Manvers Street, Bath, BA1 1JW
Website: www.georgebayntun.com
Opening Hours: 9am – 1pm; 2pm – 5:30pm weekdays only

Good Buy Books

SHUT IN 2019.

Unfortunately, Good Buy Books shut its doors in 2019 due to the owner’s health issues, which was a great blow to the Bath high street.

Good Buy Books is known for its bookish bargains on non-fiction finds. As it says on the window, books here are half price (or better!).

They manage to sell new books for super low prices because they get their books from publishers and bookseller overstocks.

This surplus occurs when a publisher inaccurately estimates the number of copies their titles will sell.

Good Buy Books: A Guide to the Best Bookshops in Bath

This is a great place to look for books about Bath and also about Bath’s most famous inhabitant, Jane Austen.

Address: 6 North Parade, Bath, BA1 1LF
Opening Hours: 9am – 6pm every day (10am – 6pm Sundays)

Julian House: Charity Shop & Bookshop

Julian House charity shop is probably not what you were expecting to find on this list but I stumbled upon it completely by accident and discovered a whole basement dedicated to secondhand books!

Whilst most charity shops stock the dregs that nobody else wanted (i.e. 9 copies of Fifty Shades of Grey), at Julian House, you’ll find a wide array of books in every fiction and non-fiction genre.

Address: 86 Walcot Street, Bath, BA1 5BD
Website: www.julianhouse.org.uk
Opening Hours: 10am – 5pm every day (11am – 4pm Sunday)

The Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop

I’m giving the Jane Austen Museum shop a little shout out at the end of this post because they stock a wide array of Austen-related books here.

If you’re looking for some of the most beautiful editions of Austen’s work then this is a great place to look.

There are also books about Austen, the adaptations of her work, colouring books, crossword books and more. It’s a great place to look for gifts if you know an Austen fan!

Address: 40 Gay St, Bath BA1 2NT
Website: www.janeausten.co.uk
Opening Hours: 10am – 4pm every day

This list comprises of eight of the best Bath bookshops and given that it’s a small city and they’re all located near popular tourist spots, you should be able to squeeze most of these into your Bath itinerary!

Now check out my literary tour of Bath for even more spots for book lovers in this beautiful British town.

Pin now, read again later!

For more UK bookshops, check out these guides:
Bookshops in Oxford

Bookshops in Cambridge
Bookshops in York

Bookshops in Edinburgh
Bookshops in Hay-on-Wye

Bookshops in Brighton
Independent Bookshops in London
Specialist Bookshops in London

Second-Hand Bookshops in London

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Laura

Editor of What’s Hot?

Laura is an award-winning travel and book blogger based in the UK. She studied French literature at Oxford University and is now an IP lawyer at a top law firm in London. She was named UK Book Blogger of the Year in 2019 and loves to combine her passion for books and travel with literary travel.

Lisa

Friday 1st of March 2019

Theses shops are so cute, why we don't have like this in France?

Laura

Saturday 2nd of March 2019

There are plenty of amazing bookshops in France too! Whereabouts do you live? I have a post on bookshops in Paris too :*

Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

Sunday 24th of February 2019

All these shops look so heavenly! Earlier this past week, I checked out two used bookshops in my city for the first time, and both had two cats each! I admit that when I'm faced with an overwhelming number of books, I feel and a little lost and go with the method of judging books by their cover :P I'm always so amazed when bookshop owners help me look for books; evidently there's a method to the madness! // Love the bath of books in Bath :3 -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's