5 best independent bookshops in the North East

Larry's Party

In honour of Independent Bookshop Week, here is my guide to the five best indie bookshops in the North East. 

Independent bookshops are pretty wonderful things. They exist purely for the love of books. They’re not driven by the demands of shareholders or retail expansion plans. They support local authors, give space to burgeoning writers and offer readers the chance to get up close and personal with their favourite novelists.

Sure, they have to turn a profit but they do it with such love and dedication that we don’t notice. Their adoration pores out of every inch of their shops and the care and personal recommendations they provide beats a cursory Amazon ‘you might also like…’ hands down.

And, the awesome booksellers at their helm are fighting back against the big guys and giving the large-scale bookshop chains a run for their money. Read this article in The Guardian and you’ll never buy a book from a chain again.

So, let’s find some great independent bookshops in the North East and top up those TBR piles…

Forum Books, Corbridge and Newcastle

This is an unbelievable bookshop with not one but two stores in the region. Its flagship shop is in a converted chapel in Corbridge and the other is nestled in The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle.

Forum runs a writers’ workshops and a packed calendar of events where you can meet some of the best authors around. It’s also fond of a silent book disco!

Check them out at forumbooksandkids.com or @ForumBooks.

Cogito Books, Hexham

This quaint bookshop in the market town of Hexham literally has bookshelves from the floor to the ceiling. Its huge collection contains everything from poetry and prose to non-fiction and children’s books.

It has a regular programme of reading groups for every taste and offers a personalised book consultation – the Cogito Book Treat – to help you find your perfect reading list.

Check them out at www.cogitobooks.com or @CogitoBooks.

Drake: The Bookshop, Stockton-on-Tees

This cosy bookshop was voted the region’s independent bookshop of the year 2019 in the British Book Awards. It runs a range of book clubs, hosts tonnes of author events and offers a handpicked book subscription where you can have books you’ll love delivered straight to your door.

Check them out at www.drakethebookshop.co.uk or @Drakebookshop.

The Guisborough Bookshop, Guisborough

This beautiful shop has a wide range of books – thousands in store and over one million titles that can be whisked up within 24 hours.

Check them out here or @Guisboroughbookshop. 

McNabe Books, Barnard Castle

This bookshop has a cafe next door – what more could you ask? It’s open late for literary events and readings and encourages visitors to take a pew for some leisurely book browsing.

Check them out here.

Want to learn more about how you can support indie bookshops in your area? Visit the Independent Bookshop Week website for some top tips.

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