Grab a gay book at one of these great bookshops in London.
Wherever you are in the world, the joy of visiting a bookshop is becoming more of a challenge.
Internet booksellers have seen-off bookshop owners everywhere and none more so than in London, whether a major chain such as Waterstones, Daunt Books or an independent store. However, the death of the bookshop (and the book!) has been wildly exaggerated, and London still serves up some of the most inspiring places to pick up a book.
The move by Foyle’s to a brand new store and Waterstones’ flagship shop on Piccadilly both serve up multi-storey bookshop “experiences” with cafes, bars, readings and events alongside the millions of books.
And somehow, against pretty much all the odds, London’s greatest and most loved gay bookshop, Gay’s the Word, has hung on in there, offering up a space for the gay community as well as a place for gay and lesbian books, DVDs and magazines. On the same street as Gay’s the Word you can also find the excellent Judd Books, with a huge range of bargain new and second-hand books, including a decent sized LGBTQ section, plus strong sections on theatre, film, photography, art and about London.
Charing Cross Road – long famous for new and secondhand bookshops – might not be the place it once was, but institutions such as Henry Pordes Books are still packed full of reading material, with healthy amounts of gay-focused literature for those willing to hunt for it.
Also don’t forget there are some brilliant LGBTQ bookshops in the rest of the UK. A few favourites include The Bookish Type in Leeds, Shelflife Books and Zines in Cardiff, and Lighthouse in Edinburgh.
Here’s a short selection of places which either specialise in selling gay publications or have large gay sections.
Gay’s The Word
Easily London’s (and the UK’s for that matter) largest and most comprehensive Gay & Lesbian Bookshop. It was also the UK’s first and stocks an enormous range of books, plus magazines and DVDs, and hosts events. Often under threat of closure, make sure you stop by and buy when in London! It is also the bookshop featured in the movie “Pride” – and yes, it is actually in the film!
Foyle’s Charing Cross Road
The great bookshop moved a years ago, leaving its home of 80 years at 113-119 Charing Cross Road and setting up shop in the old Central St Martin’s building a few doors down. Foyle’s features an impressive 200,000 books on 4 miles of shelves – including a solid selection on Gender, sexuality and LGBT section, plus a vast array of gay fiction, biography and history.
Prowler’s flagship store in Soho sells everything that Prowler is famous for selling (porn, sex toys, underwear…) but the Store also has an impressive range of gay and lesbian DVDs and books.
5-7 Brewer Street, London, W1F 0RF
T: 020 7734 4031
W: Prowler website
The largest socialist bookshop in Britain, Bookmarks in Bloomsbury has great sections on women’s liberation, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues amongst its 135,000 books.
1 Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE
T: 020 7637 1848
W: Bookmarks website