Location: 3 out of 5 Almost impossible to find, but near plenty of tube stations. So I guess if you've been there once, the location is okay.
Layout store: 2 out of 5 Messy. Messy. Messy.
Offer: 4 out of 5 Lots and lots of books, especially academic books.
Overall: 3 out of 5 I think it's great for academics who want cheap books, but I doubt I'll go back.
Finally a bookstore review again! Between travelling back to Belgium and living on a book ban (London is expensive kiddos), there really haven't been many trips to the bookshops. But I wanted to go to Skoob Books the moment I read about it months ago, so I decided I was allowed. Just once doesn't break the ban, right?
Struggle one is finding Skoob Books. Besides the fact that I always get lost in the streets of Bloomsbury, the story is also mostly under the ground.
This is the entrance and thankfully it's in a mall-like building so there are signs guiding you straight to it. Otherwise, I would have walked past it. This entrance is very "meh" and not inviting, but just like with books, don't judge the store by its cover.
However, as you can see in the picture above, the moment you come downstairs, it quickly becomes very book-ish. There are literally books EVERYWHERE, which gives this store an amazing book smell, and they have every genre. But what is also very clear from the pictures is that it's kinda messy.
I think the idea is that the books are divided in genres and ordered alphabetically, but it wasn't really successful. Books were on the floor, on the closets and on top of other books, which makes it impossible to keep them in some kind of order. It is effective if you want to put as many books as possible in one store, but it doesn't make for easy browsing. Maybe I'm just lazy or easily overwhelmed, but it didn't work for me. Too many books, too little order.
My salvation was to focus on two sections that I liked: Shakespeare and the original orange Penguin books. There was an amazing section on Shakespeare, as seen above, and though it was messily organised, it was small enough to be browsable.
And those orange books? SO PRETTY. I WANT THEM ALL. Who cares if those are organised? I need them all and that's easy enough to pick out.
So I walked away from the store with these books:
- The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness
- The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (Be still my Shakespeare heart, it was only 13 pounds!!)
- Coriolanus - Shakespeare (Can anyone tell I'm doing a MA in lit?
- The Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
- and a secret Christmas present for my father!
Overall, the store wasn't really my cup of tea. It also didn't help that the lady who helped me at the cash register was incredibly rude. I get that you're in a basement and that it's hot there, but it was a quiet-ish day and we didn't even need your help. No need to be rude.
So even though it pains me to say, this bookstore just didn't really do it for me. The selection is great and I love the smell of books that is in the air there, but it the bad customer service and the unorganised experienced just ruined it for me. Sorry, no more Skoob Books for this London girl any time soon.