What would a Holly Goes Abroad series be without a post about Blackwell’s? Blackwell’s is my favorite bookshop in Oxford, and definitely one of my favorite bookshops ever. My friend and I made a point to make an extra-long visit to Blackwell’s during this trip because we both love it so much. Today I thought I would share five reasons why Blackwell’s is amazing, and why you should absolutely visit it if you ever find yourself in Oxford.
1. The smell.
There’s nothing better than that good, old, bookstore smell. As soon as I walked into Blackwell’s I was hit with its bookish smell, one that remained so familiar even a year later.
2. The way it’s organized.
The way Blackwell’s is organized just makes sense to me: the more popular stuff is at the bottom, and you get more obscure as you go up the staircase. They also lump specific editions of books together—for instance, all the Penguin Modern Library editions are in one corner, and all of the Penguin English Library editions are on a different shelf—rather than by author, which makes it easier to find a specific copy of a book.
3. It has a used books section.
Not many bookshops these days seem to have a used book section—usually I have to go to a store that sells only used books if I want to buy some. I love that the top floor of Blackwell’s has a used section with a lot of variety.
4. The café.
The Blackwell’s café is so sweet—there are comfy chairs and little round tables and sofas and windows overlooking Broad Street and the Bodleian Library across the way. During my spring break while I was abroad I spent many afternoons there reading prep work for the next term and enjoying lovely cups of tea.
5. Everyone is so nice.
Every time I stop by Blackwell’s I’m almost taken aback by how nice everyone is. Sometimes the British don’t have much of a reputation for being warm and friendly, but the Blackwell’s staff blows that out of the water. I always leave with a smile on my face!
Have you ever been to Blackwell’s? What’s your favorite bookshop? What do you think makes a bookshop great? Let me know in the comments section below!