Travelouge | September 2021 | Alex Johnson

Book Guide II Revives Compendium of UK Antiquarian Bookshops

Credit: Victuallers / Wikimedia Commons

Barter Books in Alnwick, England.

Those who enjoy visiting secondhand and antiquarian bookshops in the UK can once again plan their trips easily and reliably thanks to the regeneration of a much-loved online compendium, thebookguide.

The original guide was set up at the start of the millennium by bookseller Mike Goodenough, but it fell into abeyance early last year after his retirement. It then underwent something of a revival on Facebook as Book Guide II and an updated version is now fully up and running again along the original lines, aiming to list every secondhand and antiquarian bookshop in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Courtesy of thebookguide

Screenshot of a map from thebookguide.

The new volunteer and not-for-profit team of Jon Morgan, Roger Blake, and Adrian Hindle-Briscall has also introduced a new map element and the site is more smartphone-friendly than before. It retains all the former elements, with bookshops listed (for free) by region and includes recent reviews from customers who have visited them, though outdated comments pre-2018 have been partially hidden. A graveyard page lists all bookshops that have closed down, and there are plans to add lists of book fairs and sales which the former guide also featured. The site is sponsored by Bytemark Hosting, which means it is advertisement-free.

“The site is a labor of love,” said Morgan. “Our aim is to help both the secondhand book trade and all those who love books by bringing them together, especially after the closures of the Covid pandemic. Once a secondhand bookshop, a lighthouse of culture, is gone, it is very difficult to replace.”