Top 5 Independent Bookshops in Bath

A crowded bookstore with tall wooden shelves filled with books. A person on the left scans the shelves, while a person on the right stands on a ladder, reaching for a book on an upper shelf. The center has a table displaying more books. The ceiling has spotlights.

Bath might be known for its Roman baths and Georgian architecture, but it is also a city boasting quite a remarkable literary history. From Jane Austen to Charles Dickens, countless authors have flocked to this Somerset city in order to seek inspiration and pen some of the world’s most beloved books. It’s therefore unsurprising that Bath has a wealth of fantastic independent bookshops. Here’s our pick of the top 5.

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights

Never has there been a more fitting name for a shop, as Mr. B’s is truly an imaginarium emporium full of all the literary delights you could ever hope to find. The shop is a labyrinthine space occupying three floors, and you’ll be wowed by the enormous quantity of books on offer. Not sure what to buy? Well, you’ve come to the right place as Mr. B’s offers a “Reading Spa” where the store’s knowledgeable and passionate staff will sit down with you and chat about the kinds of books you love over a cup of tea, before hand-selecting some wonderful reading options they think you might enjoy. With all the love, care, and choice on offer, it’s no wonder The Guardian named Mr. B’s Emporium one of the 10 best bookshops in the world.

Image Credit: Mr B's Emporium of Reading Delights via Facebook

Mr. B’s Emporium of Reading Delights is located at 14-15 John St, Bath BA1 2JL

If you ever watched Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and had some serious library-envy as Belle glided on her ladder along overflowing rows of books, then Topping & Company is the answer to your childhood wishes. Lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves of books, this unassuming shop is a literary treasure-trove where you could easily lose an entire afternoon exploring its countless titles. With complimentary tea and coffee to fuel your browsing and an impressive events schedule filled with author-talks and signings, you’ll be making Topping & Company your second home in no time.

Image Credit: Topping and Company Booksellers of Bath via Facebook

Topping & Company Booksellers of Bath is located at The Paragon, Bath BA1 5LS

Bath Old Books

Don’t be fooled by what might look like a tiny shop from the outside. This treasure trove of antiquarian and second-hand books is crammed full of literary delights, and its twisting staircase leads to a large basement with even more choices on offer. Bath Old Books provides a wide variety of used volumes, all in good condition, and with specialised items in many different areas including Bath, Jane Austen, literature, travel, art, and architecture, you’ll be sure to find something you want to take home. The shop is run by specialist dealers who have combined their passion and knowledge for good books in order to deliver an impeccable selection of reads along with stellar service. There’s always a hidden gem to be found here, so book off a few hours and lose yourself in this quirky, cosy independent shop.

Image Credit: Bath Old Books via Facebook

Bath Old Books is located at 6A Margaret's Buildings, Bath BA1 2LP

Good Buy Books

If a bargain’s what you’re after, there’s no better place to go than Good Buy Books. Specialising in non-fiction reprints and overstocks, this independent bookshop supplies a huge variety of titles for half their normal price, or cheaper. From art to cooking, gardening to history, Good Buy Books has something for everyone. There’s also a wonderful collection of volumes on Bath and Jane Austen to be explored here, so if you’re pining for a taste of local culture and a great bargain too, this stellar shop is not to be missed.

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Good Buy Books is located at 6 N Parade, Bath BA1 1LF

George Bayntun

Walking around George Bayntun bookshop is much like stepping back in time. Not only are many of the store’s furnishings the same as they were in 1938, but its selection of rare and antiquarian books will give you the feeling of being in a bygone era. Even the way the shop is run is old school; all visitors must first ring a bell and wait to be allowed into the store, almost as if crossing from the busy world of reality into a safe literary refuge. Once inside, the array of first editions, maps, and precious volumes will astound you, and downstairs you’ll no doubt be spellbound by the gorgeous selection of second-hand specialist books on offer. George Bayntun isn’t just any old independent bookstore; it’s a temple of literature and a true gem in the heart of Bath.

Image Credit: George Bayntun via Facebook

George Bayntun is located at 23 Manvers St, Bath BA1 1JW