With remarkable writers and literature coming from and inspired by the North East of England, it's no wonder the region is so full of avid readers. 

So, if you are on the look out for your next reading haunt for some good conversation with a fellow book lover we have compiled a list of the 13 best independent book shops in the North East, ahead of World Book Day. 

The Northern Echo:

Barter Books, Alnwick

Kicking off with a golden oldie, Barter Books is a long-time North East favourite boasting to be one of the largest second hand book shops is Europe. Located in the Victorian Alnwick Railway Station in Northumberland, Barter Books has been a must to visit in the area since it’s opening in 1991. With breathtaking architecture and a huge array of second hand and restored books of all genres, a visit to Barter Books is the perfect day out.

The Forum, Corbridge

Located in the old chapel in Corbridge Forum Books is incredibly picturesque. Forum books is one of the two in the North East named among the 77 finalists aiming to scoop the Independent Bookshop of the Year Award. Crammed full of books in the very best way possible, Forum books isn’t one to miss for book lovers.

Keel Row Books, Whitley Bay

Established in 1981 Keel Row Books is a long-standing antiquarian and second-hand bookshop. Renowned for it’s quirky atmosphere and diverse bookshelves, Keel Row booksellers travel countrywide from their store in Whitley Bay, to buy and sell rare and second-hand books.

The Northern Echo: Make sure to visit and take more one of their lovely book marks

BookWyrm, Durham

BookWyrm is an indie bookshop found in Durham’s Indoor Market Hall. Owned by husband/husband duo BookWyrm specialise in LGBTQ+ books and books by small authors and independent presses. This tiny gem in the Market Hall is a charming little bookshop, and you can always be sure to receive a warm welcome from the staff. Make sure to pick up one of their free bookmarks!

Featherbed Books, Houghton Le Spring

Described as a ‘local asset’ Featherbed Books stocks an impressive array of books and staff are more than happy to order any books they don’t already stock. An extraordinary shop with passionate staff and a beautifully organised selection - Featherbed Books is one to add to the list. 

The Northern Echo: Drake the Bookshop is for the Independent Bookshop of the Year Award nominated

Drake the Bookshop, Stockton

Located on Silver Street in Stockton, Drake the Bookshop is also nominated for the Independent Bookshop of the Year Award, and for good reason. With a dedicated children’s bookshop right next door, this bookshop is a fantastic family-run find with an eclectic array of novels that exudes a welcoming atmosphere.

HEAD, Darlington

Another one the best 13 independent bookshops in the North East is HEAD, which is a traditional, independent, family-owned bookshop in Darlington's Post House Wynd. HEAD stocks new and second-hand books and radiates nostalgia and well-loved books as you wander the shelves.

Book Corner, Saltburn

An intimate and friendly bookshop, owner Jenna has truly created a world of reading with Book Corner in Saltburn. With a fantastic variety of local literature Book Corner is a magical little bookshop fit for any reading requirements.

The Northern Echo: It's glorious green store front can be found in the heart of Hexham

Cogito Books, Hexham

Found in the heart of Hexham, Cogito books is cosy and inviting beacon as you walk along the cobbled streets of Hexham. Decorated with comfy sofas and carefully curated displays, Cogito books is an engaging and inspiring bookshop for readers.

1B Books, Newcastle

Selling both new and second-hand books 1B Books is a remarkable find in Heaton, Newcastle. With genuine and knowledgeable staff 1B Books is a quaint bookshop that will satisfy all your reading needs. If you are on the look out for your next reading haunt, this is one to try.

The Northern Echo:

Queerish, Darlington

This bright pink bookshop located on Bondgate in Darlington was established in 2023 and specialises in LGBTQ+ literature. Hosting an array of book club and film club events there is plenty going on at Queerish. With an inviting atmosphere Queerish provides a safe space in Darlington for the LGBTQ+ community while nurturing the true importance and joy of reading.

Recommended Reading: 

The People’s Bookshop, Durham

Described as an ‘Aladdins Cave’ of books by a visitor The People’s Bookshop located in Durham city centre is a genius independent and radical bookshop also acts as a community hub to allow visitors of all ages to come together. This is the perfect spot for those passionate about books and the world we live in.

The Northern Echo:

the bound, Whitley Bay

Owned by the same team as Forum books in Corbridge the bound is another fantastic book find for Whitley Bay. With enthusiastic staff and hand-picked range of books the bound is perfect for a causal browse or an in depth analysis of literature.