second hand bookstores in london
Student studying in the UK have access to a variety of second hand bookstores that sell books at a cheap price. Source: Franck Fife/AFP

Studying in London and looking for places to buy used books? There are plenty of second hand bookstores in London with a huge range of fiction, non-fiction and academic textbooks.

During the pandemic, many college professors abandoned assignments from printed textbooks and turned instead to digital texts or multimedia coursework. 

While digital textbooks serve as a great alternative that’s a few hundred dollars cheaper, professor of linguistics, Naomi S. Baron believes learning is more effective when it’s on paper than on screen.

Research confirms this too. Baron shares in her book “How We Read Now,that when learning digitally we focus less, have an “entertainment” mindset and tend to multitask.

Going back to good ol’ books is the answer. Although e-books weigh a lot less and don’t take up too much space, physical books appear to offer a better, richer and more satisfying experience.

Or maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Perhaps a good mix of e-books and paper books is what we need to make us read more.

But what if you can’t afford to buy hundreds of dollars worth of books and textbooks?

Here are the six second hand bookstores in London for students to find the best deals:

second hand bookstores in london

Second hand bookstores in London can help students save a couple hundreds when buying  textbooks. Source: Alain Jocard/AFP

1. Judd Books

Address: 82 Marchmont St, WC1N 1AG 

Trading for over 25 years, Judd Books is among the best second hand bookstores in London that are sought out for its unrivalled selection of academic books. 

Located in Bloomsbury, the shop is a stone’s throw away from other attractions in the area such as the Dickens Museum, the British Museum and “The Place” Dance Theatre. 

Its shelves are packed with books from a variety of genres – literature, art, design, media and theatre studies. You’ll find books on history, economics, philosophy, science and politics on the bottom floors. 

The bookshop also offers a 10% student discount to those with a valid identification.

2. Skoob Books

Details: 66 The Brunswick, Marchmont St, WC1N 1AE

Just ask any local and they’ll tell you Skoob Books is one of most popular second hand bookstores in London. 

There are over 55,000 titles squeezed onto the shelves, tables and any other surface space at The Brunswick – a real feasting ground for bookworms. 

The collections are expansive and varied, ranging from philosophy and art to politics and poetry. So if you’re looking to pick up some supplementary readings for your classes, here is the place to go. 

The best part? All titles are half the original price or less so you can easily bag a bargain.

3. Halcyon Books 

Address: 266 Lee High Rd, SE13 5PL

Halcyon Books is ideal for students looking for new or used academic books. With over 40,000 books available in-store or online, it is one of the second hand bookstores in London that’s family-run. 

Students looking for a cosy place with Wi-Fi to study at can also head over here to sit at the cafe while grabbing a cup of coffee or choosing from a selection of specialty teas available. 

Don’t know what to do with your used books, records, CDs, vintage magazines, prints, maps, postcards or old photographs? Halcyon Books can buy them from you. More about that here.

4. Sotheran’s 

Address: 2-5 Sackville St, W1S 3D

As one of the longest established antiquarian booksellers in the world, Sotheran’s is not one of your typical second hand bookstores in London.

Founded in 1761, the bookstore has appealed to collectors and enthusiasts and is one of only a handful of booksellers in the UK with a whole department dedicated to the subject of natural history.

There’s also a whole trove of botanical prints and vintage posters, ideal for gifts.

5. Any Amount of Books

Address: 56 Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0QA

Located just a minute away from the Leicester Square underground station on Charing Cross Road, a street synonymous with secondhand bookselling and book stores in London.

Students can find lots of used academic books in Any Amount of Books. From literature to history and first editions as well as used rare books in leather bounds, there’s something for everyone. 

Book bargains can go as low as one pound making it perfect for students on a budget.