The Osterley Bookshop, west London: A place that has fans, not customers
This is a guest post from Nick Roseblade.
A lot has been written about book shops in London. The general rule of thumb is that you have to stay central or go to north London for the best selections, price and interiors, but there is a hidden gem in the suburbs of west London that is a must for any bibliophile.
For nearly 48 years the Osterley Bookshop has housed sold an esoteric and eclectic range of secondhand books. Just looking at the racks by the doors you’ll see Anthony Burgess rubbing spines with Tim Burton; Jack Kerouac next to Hanif Kureishi; Evelyn Waugh adjacent to HG Wells.
The first impression is that the books have been stacked and shelves double-lined due to size or even colour. This isn’t true; there is a precise system at place. If you are looking for something specific, the co-owners Tony or Pennie will be able to point you in the right direction. And for 48 years that’s exactly what they’ve been doing. They’ve given a home to one of the best collection of used books and first editions the capital has to offer.
The second impression is the unique odour of the shop. It’s a mixture of a thousand books, coffee and dogends. Basically what a real bookshop should smell of!
A visit to the Osterley Bookshop isn’t complete without a rummage through the “Weird Book” section or the bric-a-brac in the rear of the shop. Like record shopping, if you are prepared to go digging, this is the place for you. If you do in there with something specific in mind, you might not find it, but go in with a clean slate and you’ll find exactly what you need!
Nearest Tube: Osterley
More information: See their entry on Yelp