Books Peckham is a tucked away secondhand bookshop in South London not to be missed out on. A favourite for me
Turns out I’d have been unknowingly passing this gem by whenever I walk through Peckham to buy plantains….Why are they so expensive now? Is it Brexit? Can we blame gentrification?
Anyway! Was excited to finally drop by, got to pick up a few books, speak to the owner and just rummage through that beautiful collection of secondhand books. Enjoyed seeing stacks and stacks of vintage Penguin paperbacks and a lot of old titles I’ve never heard of. Will definitely be back
Peter owns and runs Books Peckham, he’s been selling here for about two years. Speaking to him, he is obviously an avid reader- he knew pretty much all the books I referenced and you can tell he loves his collection. He sells Zines too and ran a workshop over the weekend.
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How did you get started?
I used to sell seconhand books at a Sunday market in Camberwell then opened up shop here in Peckham. Previously was thinking of opening up in Holdrons Arcade but that didnt happen. I used to sell my own books but now I buy, sell and do house clearances. Clearing for people who are moving house or have died.
With all the changes around Peckham, has your clientele become any different over the years? More hipsters?
I get a lot of people either on their way to Peckham Levels or Bussey Building… some are lost! Toward evening time and on the weekend, there are more trendy types about, yeah! I have more best sellers out on the weekend for the crowd but always keep unique titles out
What are your favourite books?
The books I’m reading change all the time, I get a lot of recommendations too
Have you done any interesting house clearances?
My last house clearance was an actor who lived in Victoria, he’d been in some bond films. Another was the wife of an Eastenders actor. Also did a house clearance for a vicar who had passed away- he had loaaads of gay porn!
I can imagine it would be so much fun to clear people’s books and you would probably get first dibs one some early editions! I saw an uncountable number of pensioner age looking penguins which fascinated me but also some new titles
Do any events happen here?
Its a small space so not many but there is one next week. Next Friday (November 8th) Royal College Of Arts will be having a small reading here to conclude their work on alternative distribution networks.
I want an old book that I’ve never heard of but will love. Can you recommend anything?
No Pressure! *thinks and looks around for a while; asks what Ive read lately. I give a list of titles which don’t really have anything in common!*
You might like this one, sadly the author died recently: Brown Girl, Brownstones by Paule Marshall
I got that and a few other titles for around £6! Like I said, I will be back
If you are looking for a secondhand bookshop in London, be sure to stop by. Open 11am- 6pm 2-3 days a week including Saturday. Check out @bookspeckham Instagram page on Mondays to find out opening times each week…. chances are if it’s sunny, Peter will be out!
Post edit 2021: Books Peckham has moved! New shop at 20 Maxted Road (entrance on Oglander next to Quickprint)
125 Rye Ln, Peckham, London SE15 4S