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A Wander Round Barter Books

A Bookshop In An Old Railway Station

By Mike Singleton - MikeydredPublished about a year ago 3 min read
In Barter Books In The Old Railways Station In Alnwick
The Entrance To Barter Books


Last year I wanted to drop my first anthology into Barter Books but I was recovering from my liver cancer operation so could not make the fifteen-minute walk from the flat to the old Alnwick Railway Station. The stories about my operation and my first book are at the end of this article.

This week I published my fourth anthology and thought that I would drop three of my anthologies into Barter Books after I had signed them.

Barter Books Front Room

Into The World Of Barter Books

I got into Barter Books and loved the fact that there was a roaring fire and two settees in the room I walked into, lined with books. I wandered through into the main area where the counter was and the model train track with locomotives running around above our heads. There were a few people at the counter so I had a hearty breakfast before returning to drop my books at the counter.

Breakfast at Barter Books

I got to the counter and told them they could have my signed books, but the lady checked and said that Barter Books might not be able to accept them. I took them back but as I started to wander back into the main area a woman stopped and asked if I was the one who tried to give some books

I said yes and she said that they looked very interesting, she had seen the cover of "The Is A Darkness" and asked me what the books were about. I told her they were poetry anthologies and short stories, some a bit dark, but if she were interested I would be happy to let her have them. She told me that she loved poetry and so did her mother and said that she would love to have them and asked me how much I wanted for them.

I told her to make a donation to charity, and as long as she read, enjoyed and shared them, that would be enough for me.

I then started to wander through the corridors of books thinking it was almost magical. At the centre was a table with four chairs and an amazing fitting above the table which had the names of magical places around its circumference which you can see towards the end of the video that I included. The places are Bali Hai, Xanadu, Camelot, Arcadia, Toytown, Dixieland and El Dorado.

The Centre Fitting In Barter Books

Barter Books is somewhere you could get lost in for hours. George RR Martin said roughly that "Anyone who reads live a thousand lives, but the one who never reads lives but one" and in Barter Books you can definitely live those thousand lives.

There is every kind of book here, not just fiction, but reference, biography, and every subject that you can think of.

The bookshelves form corridors and you can lose yourself as you pick up any book and then lose yourself in it. There are many chairs to sit down in and read.

The nearest that we have to this in Newcastle is The Lit and Phil which I wrote about here, but that is a library not a bookshop although it does have some books for sale.

Concluding Thoughts

If you are a book lover I hope this has given you an insight into what a wonderful bookshop this is, one of the biggest second-hand bookshops in the British Isles. Today I spent a couple of hours there and will no doubt be returning many times to bathe in the absolute magic of these amazing corridors and shelves of books.

Although I saw many books that I love, and many that I have, standing in the centre of Barter Books I knew that I had only touched the tip of this bibliographical Everest.

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Comments (4)

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  • Canuck Scriber L.Lachapelle Authorabout a year ago

    That looks like such a nice place!

  • Dana Stewartabout a year ago

    Wow, what a neat place. I'm putting Barter Books on my bucket list. That breakfast looks delicious, too. So sorry about your operations, too Mike. Thanks for sharing this neat find!

  • Misty Raeabout a year ago

    That sounds like my kind of place! We have bookshops here, but nothing like that.

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    It sounds like an amazing place and yes, somewhere I would get happily lost for hours!! Especially if my kids could watch the train setup.

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