Student Blog: Where to buy books in York

This week Nigel's C1 class at English Language Centre York take to the streets of York to conduct research for their Student Blog, discovering the best places to buy books in this beautiful and historical city.  Here are the results:


We can buy anything over the internet nowadays, but we still need bookstores more than ever – why? Sometimes you might find a book unexpectedly or receive good advice from staff, and buy a book instantly. It’s a pleasant way to buy books.

1. Ken Spelman, Micklegate, York, UK

This place feels more like a library than a bookstore, with a huge variety of subject matter. It’s quiet and feels really comfortable. Upstairs there is an art display with some works for sale (quite expensive!)

There is tea and coffee for sale which is an added bonus.

So, if you are passing through Micklegate call in for a 20-minute browse.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Hiroka Tanaka, Japan

2. The Little Apple Bookshop, York, UK

Just a few steps away from York's famous Minster Cathedral in the direction of Bootham Bar you will notice an outstanding small bookshop. If you are looking for a present or just need to find some entertaining book without spending hours in a boring and crowded chain bookshop, you should definitely pop into The Little Apple Bookshop.

This small independent book shop sells a range of fiction and nonfiction books for pleasure or study.  If you don't have any particular title in mind, but just want to enjoy some new interesting books, after just a few minutes of browsing, you will probably find what you need on the shelves. If, for some reason, none of the books win your approval, you’ll probably not leave empty handed thanks to an extraordinary selection of toys, games and stationery.

What makes this lovely shop really unique among York's other bookstores is a quite impressive collection of first editions, signed copies and other collectibles.
It is also worth mentioning that every client can count on the help and advice of a cheerful shop assistant who makes everyone feel very welcome. What's more she'll order in any book you like if you can't find what you're after.

Szymon Krawczyk, Poland

3. The Minster Gate Bookshop, York, UK

The Minster Gate bookshop is near York Minster. Be careful, you might miss that store because of the unremarkable entrance of the old building. Masses of new books which might have been published several years ago and used books are well arranged on shelves or piled on stairs from the basement to the 2nd floor.

Narrow staircase, low doorway of some rooms, small rooms and the historical font of signs hanging on the walls make you feel as if you’re exploring an old attic.
You can enjoy just wandering around even if you don’t have any plan to buy books, and you might find an attractive book which is worth buying because of its design, title or price.

If you want to buy some books, just ask the friendly woman who is sitting behind the desk on the ground floor. She will tell you whether the books you want are in stock or not and where it is without any system.

Unfortunately there wasn’t “The Little Prince”, when I asked.

Kyungha Han, South Korea

4. Fossgate Books, York, UK

Fossgate books is a second hand and rare book shop. Here you can find two floors filled to the ceiling with many different books and volumes on many different subjects.

The staff are very helpful and knowledgeable, so if you are looking for a specific book on a specific subject they will definitely help you find what you are looking for.

Fossgate Books is a real find if you are travelling to York. It is located near the city centre in a pretty street  (Fossgate 36) full of shops and restaurants. Every visit will be different as the stock changes frequently, so go and have a look! You never know what you might find there! Based on my experience this bookshop is a nice place where you can meet other readers and talk about your literary interests.    

Giancarlo Lissandrini, Italy

5. Oxfam, York, UK

If you are keen on both books and supporting charities, the Oxfam bookshop in the centre of York is the best place for you. No sooner do you find the shop than you will see many kinds of posters on the shop window. All of them are about donating items such as music, books, bric-a-brac and collectables.

The Oxfam bookshop is divided into three sections – donated and new books, cards and a music and film section. Firstly, you can find books easily by referring to different categories on the shelves in the book section. You can feast your eyes and ears with books and music which fill the whole shop. In the card section, they sell greetings and fair trade cards which help people fight poverty around the world. You can buy high-quality cards at reasonable prices for yourself or as a present.

Lastly, this will be the most suitable bookshop for you if you are interested in old vinyl records, music sheets and DVDs. In the music and film section, you feel as if you are in an antique shop by touching the old covers of the records.

Not only is Oxfam about buying books and music, but also donating to a charity. Customers will definitely be attracted by the  range of products and atmosphere in the Oxfam bookshop and if you want any further information, you can visit the Oxfam website.

Geu-Ri Bang, South Korea


Would you like to visit York and improve your English reading, writing and listening skills at the same time? Click here to find out about English Language Centre York, located in the centre of this small and friendly city, or email york@experienceenglish.com for more information.

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