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Selling academic books the Skoob way

Entrance to Skoob Books

Most of London’s students, academics and intellectuals find their way to Skoob Books eventually. Skoob (that’s books backwards in case you were wondering) specializes in academic literature and offers thousands of used copies of titles that are simply not available elsewhere.

This underground bunker of bookishness is piled high with books about philosophy, psychology, modern literature, art, history, politics, economics, science and technology.

Skoob is located on Marchmont Street, close to a shopping centre called The Brunswick. The area is surrounded by Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury, Russell Square, the University of London, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the British Library, the British Museum and numerous colleges and other places of learning. Basically, everyone reads in this part of town.

There’s a piano nested among the books

Skoob was founded in the 1970s. The present owner, Chris Edwards, bought the shop in 2005 and merged it with his bookselling business (named Psychobabel because “many psychology books contain a lot of rubbish”). Chris employs 20 people and is proud that he pays a fair wage and suffers very little staff turnover.

The 2000 square foot shop contains more than 55,000 different titles with even more housed in a deeper storage area below the Brunswick. However, Skoob’s warehouse in Oxfordshire contains more than a million books, which makes up its online inventory. With a shop in a busy area of London and a massive warehouse catering to the Internet, Chris benefits from traditional and modern methods of bookselling.

You head downstairs to a bookish bunker

Chris is a former academic who now uses his close connections with academia across the country to obtain books that help people learn. His desire to source hard-to-find books takes him to places of learning across provincial England from Stoke-on-Trent to Norwich. Like any modern bookseller, he has diversified and that includes renting books by the yard to movie companies.

“In the shop, our customers are post-graduate students, academics, researchers and people in need of foreign language books. Online, there is always someone somewhere in need of a book no matter how obscure the subject,” said Chris. “I’m proud to say that I help to educate more people now than I ever did as an academic.”

Browse Skoob’s selection on AbeBooks

Inside Skoob Books

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