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“Fun, but didn't live up to the reputation”
Review of Barter Books

Barter Books
Ranked #1 of 15 Shopping in Alnwick
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: One of the largest secondhand bookshops in Britain and the home of the famous Keep Calm and Carry On poster. Barter Books has become one of the largest tourist attractions in the North East of Englnd.
Reviewed September 25, 2012

Barter Books has quite a reputation to live up to, which perhaps is was why I wasn't knocked out by my visit. The shop is very charming but it is NOT easy to find what you are looking for. (On the plus side, it is easy to find many interesting things that you weren't looking for...)

The stock at Barter Books is not great. Miles and miles of the same kind of thing you would find in high street charity shops up and down the country - there is much less 'specialist' stock than I would have expected. For example I was looking for vintage American pulp fiction and found nothing (even with the help of staff) - ditto for business books about successful web companies (Google, Amazon etc).

I am not sure that their prices are particularly cheap either - the J.P.Donleavy hardback edition I bought was a few quid more than I might have expected.

But the cafe was pleasant enough (although the alcoves are VERY small if you find yourself sitting opposite two foghorn-voiced harpies who seemed to think they were shouting to each other across a nightclub) and the model train is fun and, well, who doesn't love browsing around big old bookshops?

Fun to visit - but maybe only once.

Thank favonian_oxon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,124 - 1,128 of 1,218 reviews

Reviewed September 24, 2012

We walked into this unusual attraction and were welcomed by a cosy coal fire, model train whizz ing around and friendly and helpful staff. It was well organised and subjects clearly labelled with comfortable tables and chairs in many areas. The cafe was good too. Children were welcome and I believe I saw the odd dog on a lead, too.

1  Thank Jane S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

Yesterday I attended a well advertised event with the Michael and Clare Morpurgo, and the illustrator Olivia Gill. Their book, "Where My Wellies Take Me" is a glorious book for children. and I wanted to buy two copies to get signed, plus I took my own copy with me. We arrived at 11.15 for an event scheduled to take place between 11.00am and 1.00 pm. to find the place chokka. Families waiting eaqgerly to meet the authors and illustrator and get a book signed by them. I asked where it was possible to buy the book and was told that Barter Books had sold out. I have attended many signings, and maybe it is acceptable to sell out of a popular book about quarter of an hour before the end of the event, but at the beginning! This is a bookshop! So hundreds of children must have been disappointed, and the Morpurgos and Olivia Gill would have been a bit taken aback. The authors' profits from the book go to a charity which Clare Morpurgo has been very instrumental in setting up, Farms for City Children, so this charity will have lost out, which exacerbates the insult. What were Barter Books thinking of, to not estimate the interest beforehand? I did manage to get my own book signed, but then when I was told at the desk they would get more books signed and dedicated (how?), and being all ready to do this, I was informed at the end of the spiel that these books would be delivered, at a cost, I think it was either 5.99 or 6.99. At this point, for the second time in the day, I walked out of the shop, and this time I didn't go back.

5  Thank CBennett86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2012

Lovely, large and eclectic second hand bookshop on the outskirts of the town centre.

Could easily spend hours browsing the many thousands of titles on offer. Loved the model train that motors around the bookshelves.

Thank a_travellerPeterboro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2012

A massive secondhand bookshop which occupies the old Alnwick Station buildings. There are books on all subjects, including a large children's section and there are plenty of areas to sit quietly whilst you browse through what takes your fancy.

The only downside to this place is that the free car park is very small for the number of visitors!

Thank GillyB57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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