Today me and sis went to Bookbarn International. I’d been meaning to go here for ages but I always had that doubt which any book lover/hoarder has… would I be able to exercise self-control? I live in a house which already has books stacked from the floor to the ceiling. My laptop rests on a pile of books as I type this. Books are the one thing I let get out of control, especially vintage ones…

As you drive up to the Bookbarn there is a sign which lets you know there is over ONE MILLION books inside. Oh no, this already feels like a bad idea…

It’s slightly overwhelming to begin with – where to start?  There ARE a huge amount of books… but they are clearly organized and the Bookbarn is easy to navigate.

The perimeter of the barn is fiction – near enough every fiction title you can think of is here. The inner aisles are divided into subjects.  And there are a lot of books for every subject.  This bookcase below is devoted to just cats.


Of course, I had to buy three…

Once again, I veer heavily towards the vintage side of things… this doesn’t ideally represent the Bookbarn as they have a wide range of books dating from long ago to current.  If you just want a stash of reality tv star biographies you will find those here too – there are over ONE MILLION books!!!  You will find something to your taste no matter what you like to read.

Oh and here’s another bit of dangerous information…


Can you believe this???  Apart from a modest selection of rare books (which I will get to shortly) EVERY BOOK IN THE BOOKBARN IS £1 (or 50p).  This information sounded too good to be true so I had to double-check with a member of staff… but yep, sure enough, every book is just one pound.  Damn.  I immediately start to calculate how many books might fit in my sisters car…

You see all those blue-spined books below?  That’s all Pelican books (The Penguin Books non-fiction imprint).  Bookbarn know how interesting they are so they’ve given you an armchair in case your selection takes you a while…


There is a great theatre section which has 4 full cases of play scripts alone.  If you are looking for a play to stage or an audition speech, this is the perfect place to come and spend an afternoon… you will find something suitable right here.



There is also a rack of old sheet music.  I love looking through these for the cover illustrations.  Some of them are worthy of framing…

Time Out: What makes Bookbarn International an absolute destination for the bibliophile is the cafe.  Yes, when you have got bookspine blindness or when you feel a tad overwhelmed (it will happen) there is an oasis.  The Full Stop Cafe serves homemade food and (very good) fresh coffee.  The cafe isn’t an afterthought, it’s a destination in itself – very well run and stocked with really good food.  I used it twice – had to go back for cake! (all homemade).  It’s a great pit stop to revive and take a closer look at the books already in your basket.

There is also a rare books section.


This is in a roped-off area and you have to ask one of the staff for access (the staff are great by the way, book enthusiasts themselves).  There is a modest selection of vintage and collectible books here.  All worth a good look.  They are also really fairly priced.  I bought the two below for £18 & £10 respectively.

They are both full of the vintage illustrations which I research and use for my business.  As are they next 2 items which are my favourite finds of the visit…


These 2 Home Chat magazines are from the late 1920s and each page has a fantastic Art Deco illustration… here are some…

Both of these magazines were 50p each!!!  But they are invaluable for art research.

The whole of the Bookbarn is a mine full of vintage images.  Take a day and go and lose yourself between the bookcases.  The best thing (rare books aside)  is that me and my sister filled her car boot up with books for about £30, it’s THE best day out for vintage lovers and bibliophiles alike.  There is free parking and you can stay all day.  Check this link for their website and further details —>>> BOOKBARN INTERNATIONAL WEBSITE  You will be glad you did.

One last thing – in case you needed further convincing… This mammoth film star book (over 300 pages) has a beautiful image on each page and it cost ONE POUND… There are loads of other books like this there – get yourself to Bookbarn International NOW!



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