Thursday, 3 December 2009

Foyles - Charing Cross Road WC2

As much as I love small, quirky, independent bookshops, I have never been as vehemently anti the big chains as some. Admittedly I did hate it when my local Ottakars (a chain itself but smaller and much classier than most) in Clapham Junction became a Waterstone's - it lost everything that made it a good bookshop and depresses me every time I walk in it. But I did quite like the big Borders at Oxford Circus (now in administration - whoops). Having said all that though - I hate the impact that these big retailers have had on the smaller fella and if it was a choice between the two then I would always go with small and boutique over big and impersonal. The exception to the size/quality inverse ratio is Foyles on Charing Cross Road - this is a great bookshop, in fact one of the best.  Not only does
it have an amazing selection of books, it has knowledgeable staff and a fantastic cafe that also incorporates Ray's Jazz - with a selection of jazz records and books.  I always mean to come to a gig in the cafe but never have. Foyles is usually my first stop if I want to buy books - because it's close to my work but also because I always find what I want and I love spending time in here. Whilst the Charing Cross Road store is the flagship, they are now opening other smaller stores - like the one on the Southbank. I hope they prosper - because they totally get what makes a top notch bookstore.

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