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.
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