The Best Independent Bookshops in Brighton

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For bookshops with character, colour and quirk, you have to go independent. Luckily, Brighton is quite the place for independent bookshops; here’s our list of the best...

The Kemptown Bookshop

91 St George's Rd, Kemptown, Brighton and Hove BN2 1EE | Mon-Sat: 9am-5.30pm, Sunday 10am-4pm

Brighton’s oldest bookshop (at 50 years and counting!) sits past the pier in Kemptown; The Kemptown Bookshop spans the three floors of a smart Regency townhouse, which makes your browsing feel more intimate, as though you’re in a (very cultured person’s) home. It has won shop awards both locally and nationally, and it’s easy to see why; the first two floors are FILLED with books, toys, art prints and gifts, while the third floor houses The Bookroom Cafe, where renowned novelists have been known to work whilst enjoying the coffee, tea and cakes which are all supplied by local vendors.

Click here to visit the website

Raining Books

28 Trafalgar Street, Brighton BN1 4ED | Monday - Saturday 10.30am-6pm

It really is Raining Books in this place! The wonky shelves in the window are the first sign that this a book lover’s world; while to the non-initiated it may look like chaos, with books occupying every nook and cranny of available space, the kind and knowledgeable owner definitely knows where everything goes! Bookworms will relish diving in to the (dis)array, with many books looking lovingly dog-eared and smelling like time has loved them well (ah, that old book smell!). A great place to find something completely unexpected, and at bargain prices - the most expensive items cost around £5!

Click here to visit the Raining Books Facebook page

Goldsboro Books

22b Ship Street, Brighton BN1 1AD | Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm, Saturday 11am-5pm

This Brighton outpost of Goldsboro Books, ‘The Home Of Signed First Editions’, is a fancy bookshop if ever there was one. It was set up in 1999 by two friends, both book collectors, with the mission of bringing signed, first-edition books to people who will love them both for their literary value, and which may just appreciate in monetary value as well - it was famously the only bookshop in the world to have signed copies of The Cuckoo’s Calling by ‘Robert Galbraith’ - who of course turned out to be none other than J.K.Rowling! Their mission is to bring signed, first-edition books to people who will love them both for their literary value, and which may just appreciate in monetary value as well! 

World renowned for their knowledge and expertise, Goldsboro also operates the UK’s largest first edition Book of the Month Club which enables book lovers to start collecting books which we believe are both enjoyable to read and also books worth collecting for the future.

Click here for the Goldsboro Books website

The Book Nook

The Book Nook, 1st Avenue, Hove, BN3 2FJ | Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm, Saturday 9.30am-5pm

Just a short walk over from Brighton in Hove, The Book Nook is a specialist independent children’s bookshop, stocking a huge range of titles to entertain, educate and inspire young kids. The staff are clearly enthusiasts, as they offer to recommend, source and deliver (within Brighton and Hove) any book thaat any child OR adult could wish to find!

They also exhibit art work from local children’s illustrators in the shop’s gallery space. 

Click here for The Book Nook’s website

City Books

23 Western Rd, Hove BN3 1AF | Mon-Sat: 9.30am-5.30pm, Sunday: 11am-4.30pm

Set amongst the gorgeous Regency architecture on Western Road, City Books is humble and unpretentious, run with love by husband and wife team Paul and Inge Sweetman - they are clearly beloved by booklovers, having won Best Bookshop in Sussex, and being shortlisted twice for Bookshop of the Year. Amongst its general assortment of books, City Books is notable for its range of titles on the local history and culture.

Paul and Inge regularly organise literary events and evenings, and have hosted a huge range of guests speakers such as Ranulph Fiennes, Mary Beard, Vic reeves and Jo Brand!

Click here for their website

The Feminist Bookshop

48 Upper North Street, Brighton, BN1 3FH | Wed-Fri: 10.30am-6pm, Sat & Sun: 10am-6pm

The Feminist Bookshop embodies the spirit of Brighton like no other shop on our list. The shop is set in the owner Ruth’s front room, and what began as a book club is now a thriving independent shop and plant-based café following a successful crowdfunding campaign. As the name would suggest, Ruth and co. “seek to support, celebrate and promote women, non-bianry and marginalised writers, creatives and entrepeneurs”, with titles by, amongst others, Laura Bates and local MP Caroline Lucas.

It really feels like a community space, encouraging people to come together in a fun, open space for dialogue, discussion and debate; there are regular events like talks, poetry workshops, conversations with purpose-driven business owners.

Click here for the website

Books for Amnesty

The Amnesty Bookshop, 15 Sydney Street, Brighton BN1 4EN | Mon - Sat: 11am-5.30pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

In Brighton’s famous North Laines, amongst the trendy cafés and quirky shops, you can’t miss the bright pink Books for Amnesty. Staffed by local volunteers (with proceeds going to help the efforts of worldwide charity Amnesty International) and stocked largely by local donors, you’re likely to find something you didn’t know you wanted amongst a wide range of books, plus ethical gifts.

Book for Amnesty also host events, such as the popular monthly Open Mic Night, for local creatives to share their poetry and musical talents, and regular Amnesty Charity Quiz Nights.

You an visit their website here

The Smallest Bookshop in Brighton

Various locations | times not available

A secret known only to the most observant of Britonians, The Smallest Bookshop in Brighton is stocked ad hoc by a real literary aficionado, often to be found at the Open Market and always keen to let people know what’s new in stock. This charming, diminuitive bookseller also has outposts inside two Brighton pubs: The Independent Taproom and Beer Shop on Queen’s Park Road and The Dover Castle pub on Southover Street in Hanover.

Click here for the shop’s Facebook page, where the owner advertises new purchases