The Cartography of Reading

Are you’re still searching for that logophile’s haven that suits your tastes just perfectly? Do you sometimes find yourself with an hour to kill and wondering where the closest bookshop to you is? Perhaps you’re a little more ambitious and you’re trying to visit every independent bookshop in London. Whatever your reason for looking, the search just got volumes easier. The indie booksellers of London have banded together and the community, long formed, has now been visualised. Literally.
The last few months have seen the emergence of a series of bookshop maps. That is, maps specifically focusing on pin-pointing the bookshops of our fair city, and this literary cartography shows, first and foremost, that independent bookselling is still as prominent as ever.

See more maps and read more words after the jump.

(Click the map for a larger version with full listings)

The ‘Booksellers in Shoreditch & Hackney’ map illustrates not only the collective enthusiasm the area generates, but also the overlapping of books and art. Half the locations on the map are art spaces, galleries and just plain art bookshops.

(Click the map for a seriously gigantic version.)

Much grander in scale and execution is ‘The London Bookshop Map’. Charting 87 independent bookshops, the map reaches as far north as Muswell Hill and as south as Crystal Palace. That’s quite a stretch. 87 might not seem like that many locations, but The Guardian (who recently jumped on the bookshop mapping bandwagon) have listed 350 independent booksellers in the whole UK and actually only have 242 mapped. That’s 36% of noted bookshops in the entire United Kingdom residing in the capital. London folks are pretty lucky.

Though it can be found in most of the shops listed, I picked up my copy (okay, two copies) of The London Bookshop Map in Clerkenwell Tales, one of London’s most charming bookshops, located in Exmouth Market, Farringdon. The Booksellers in Shoreditch and Hackney map, I was given by the lovely people in Bookartbookshop (Pitfield Street, Hoxton).

Here, you can get in contact with the creators of The London Bookshop Map.


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