The port city of Glasgow has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past few decades, moving away from its industrial past and towards increased regeneration that has seen it grow into one of Britain’s most vibrant cultural hubs. Whether it’s theatre and comedy, fine dining and chic bars, or music and literature, visitors to Glasgow will nowadays find a vast choice to suit their tastes.
When it comes to the latter, Glasgow is even home to its own annual literature festival nowadays, while dotted across the city are a number of independent book stores still resolutely plying their trade in the face of the online shopping revolution. If you’re planning to visit Glasgow and would like to check out any of these stores, we’ve picked out 7 of the best.
Run by a group of artists, designers and publishers, Good Press is an art gallery and bookshop combined that prides itself on championing independent publishing. Opened in 2011, the space specialises in art-zines produced by their own publishing house, and numerous others from around the globe, as well as quirky miscellany of totes, prints and cassette mixtapes. The gallery space, meanwhile, hosts regular exhibitions and promotional parties through collaborations with locally-based artists.
LOCATION 32 St. Andrews Street HOURS Weds-Sat 11am-6pm Closed Sun-Tues
Housed within Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts, the cute and compact Aye-Aye Books is the city’s only specialist modern art bookshop, offering an impressive selection of literature on Scottish art, with a particular focus on self-published titles. As well as its art books, the store also stocks a range of poetry, magazines, journals, zines, pamphlets, experimental fiction, locally produced CDs, world cinema DVS, vinyl and cassettes, and exhibition catalogues.
LOCATION 350 Sauchiehall Street HOURS Weds-Sat 11am-6pm Closed Sun-Tues
Set up by two former librarians, Hyndland Books is nestled among the distinctive red and blonde stone tenement buildings of Glasgow’s West End district and is very much a quintessential neighbourhood bookstore, serving a dedicated local clientele with its carefully selected stock of books. The store also houses an eclectic assortment of arthouse DVS, greeting cards, and plenty more besides.
LOCATION 143 Hyndland Road HOURS Mon-Fri 10am-6pm Sat 10am-5pm Closed Sun
Voltaire & Rousseau Bookshop
Part of the fabric of Glasgow’s West End for over four decades, Voltaire & Rousseau is a second-hand book shop that’s gained a formidable reputation for its rare finds which are nestled alongside new editions, atlases, vintage books, Penguin paperbacks, textbooks and more. Books are stacked (almost) from floor to ceiling and occupy every available space, presenting visitors with a daunting – but strangely satisfying – challenge of finding what they’re looking for.
LOCATION 12-14 Otago Lane HOURS Mon-Sun 12pm-12am
Founded in 1986, Caledonia Books is a well-established, family-run bookshop in Glasgow’s West End housing a vast collection of books spanning a wide variety of subjects and themes. Among them are several rare and out-of-print titles, collector’s items, and antiquarian books, along with notable non-fiction sections and illustrated Folio Society sections too.
LOCATION 483 Great Western Road HOURS Mon-Sat 10.30am-6pm Closed Sun
Young’s Interesting Books
Situated on Glasgow’s Southside, Young’s Interesting Books is a small, quirky bookstore featuring a wide selection of antiquarian books, art, history, philosophy, Scottish interest titles, and fiction – including an impressive number of second hand books. The stock is also notable for its more unusual inclusions, such as old Scottish ballad books and 1960s American crime novels with risqué covers. Author talks and other special events are often staged here too.
LOCATION 18 Skirving Street, Shawlands HOURS Mon-Fri 11am-6pm Sat 10am-6pm Sun 12pm-5pm
Category Is Books
Dedicated to books, literature and multimedia material that explores the LGBTQIA+ community, Category Is Books is described by its two co-owners (who happen to be wives) as a “fiercely independent Queer bookshop”. In celebrating the stories of this community through the written word, the shop welcome anyone and everyone, whether they are keen to peruse, purchase, or simply get a haircut from the on-site queer-inclusive barber.
LOCATION 34 Allison Streets HOURS Weds-Sun 11am-6pm Closed Mon-Tues
by Paul Joseph