Bookshops in Manchester

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor

Manchester is a UNESCO City of Literature and has a great literary history, so not surprisingly there are plenty of bookstores for those moments you fancy a new page-turner or are in the market for some gift-buying inspiration – after all, books are the perfect present for just about anybody. Whatever your pen-based poison, there should be something to whet your wordy whistle in the suburbs as well as the city centre, from best-selling new releases to well-thumbed hand-me-downs. Read on for our guide to the best bookshops in Manchester…

Our top picks

Blackwell’s Manchester

Blackwell’s Manchester, University Green 146 Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M13 9GP - Visit now

Blackwell’s shiny shop is cavernous and comes complete with a cafe. The exclusive bookseller at University Green, the specialists in specialist and academic reading’s flagship store in the North West also stocks plenty of fiction, and has a jam-packed programme of author events – keep an eye on our Literature Guide for details.

Blackwell's bookshop
Blackwell, University of Manchester - Mikey

Bopcap Books

Bopcap Books, Old Police Station, 963 Stockport Road, Manchester, M19 3NP - Visit now

This newly expanded indie bookseller is run by husband-and-wife team Ian and Suzy out of the Old Police Station in Levenshulme, just next door to the Old Town Hall’s Antiques Village, complete with a vinyl soundtrack and offering a carefully curated collection of previously owned books and ephemera.

Bopcap Books
Image courtesy Bopcap Books

Modernist Society

Modernist Society, 58 Port Street, Manchester, M1 2EQ - Visit now

The Modernist Society is a creative project dedicated to celebrating and engaging with 20th-century architecture and design, through publishing, events, exhibitions and creative collaborations. Their bricks and mortar shop opened in May 2019 in the Northern Quarter and is the only bookshop in Manchester specialising in architecture and design.

The Modernist shop
The Modernist

Greenhouse Books

Greenhouse Books, 13 Great Underbank, Stockport, SK1 1LF - Visit now

Originally set up in Cheadle Village, with a sideline in damn fine coffee and homemade vegan cakes, Greenhouse Books moved in the back end of 2023 and can now be found in trendy Stockport Underbanks. The larger premises allow for author readings and artist talks. Oh, and there’s books! With both pre-loved product and hot-off-the-press titles, Jonny and the team curate some great “local” displays, and graphic novels and comics also line the creaking shelves.

Greenhouse Books Stockport
Greenhouse Books

Queer Lit

Queer Lit, 27 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M45AJ - Visit now

Manchester’s award-winning independent gay bookshop has an extensive range of over 2,000 LGBTQIA+ titles to immerse yourself in – and if they don’t have what you’re looking for, just ask and they’ll pop it on their order list for you. The new Great Ancoats Street premises also does snacks and a sitdown bit, and regular events are now a thing too.

Queer Lit
Queer Lit

House of Books & Friends

House of Books & Friends, 81 King Street, Manchester, M2 4AH - Visit now

“A bookshop with purpose” and playing a powerful role in the community, House of Books & Friends is also a café and a place to meet and chat with likeminded individuals. There’s an atmospheric wood-panelled events space at the back, where regular readings and creative activities take place.

House of Books & Friends

Peste

Peste, 70 Oldham Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5EB - Visit now

Loitering on a corner of Oldham Road at the edge of Ancoats is Peste, where church kneelers are provided from which you may worship the carefully curated bookshelves. Feminist classics by Simone de Beauvoir jostle for attention with Lighthouse editions of Frank O’Hara poems; coffee table art books peacock alongside up-to-the-minute auto fiction. Readings are also becoming de rigueur, so definitely watch this space.

Ian Jones.

Chorlton Bookshop

Chorlton Bookshop, 506 Wilbraham Road, Manchester, M21 9AW - Visit now

If you have ever dreamed of owning a bookshop, it probably looked like this one. Pleasingly petite, lovely old tiled stove, family-owned with a good selection of books, it’s even pet-friendly. Perfect. And forget Amazon – Chorlton Bookshop will happily order in anything not on the shelves, and there’s a great selection of greetings cards and gifty bits and bobs to boot.

Chorlton Bookshop

Chapter 1 Books

Chapter 1 Books, 19 Lever Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 1BY - Visit now

Chapter 1 Books is an independent bookshop and coffee shop on Lever Street. The coffee is good, the cakes are excellent, and the books are beautifully displayed. They also have a fountain, naturally, and regular readings and performances, alongside wordy workshops and arty goings-on (keep an eye on our Tours and Activities Guide for more).

Photo of a new releases bookshelf

UNITOM

UNITOM, 1A Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN - Visit now

UNITOM stepped into a Magma-shaped gap when it opened in the NQ and is home to a wide array of publications on contemporary art, design, fashion, photography and counterculture, alongside a vast range of independent magazines and small press titles, including local publishers like Confingo.

UNITOM bookshop

Catalog Bookshop

Catalog Bookshop, Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU - Visit now

All the best alternative books and independent magazines you could wish to find on the back of a bike – and just a bunnyhop, skip and a jump from Manchester Poetry Library too. Watch this space for a new less moveable bookstore feast in the shape of a Catalog container.

Catalog Bookshop

Waterstones Manchester Deansgate

Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, 91 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 2BW - Visit now

Waterstones are the reigning champions of high street bookshops, but don’t let that put you off. Filled to the brim with all the titles you would expect, you might spot the Deansgate branch of Waterstones appearing in our Literature Guide for hosting regular book launches and signings with authors and other in-store events.

Anywhere Out of The World

Anywhere Out of The World, First Floor, 70 Tib St, Manchester, M4 1LG - Visit now

This hidden gem of a bookshop in the Northern Quarter stocks shelves upon shelves of secondhand tomes. Seek out the staircase next to Beermoth beershop – it’s a bit like a real-life version of Mr Smith’s Dream at the nearby Manchester Craft Centre.

Anywhere Out of This World

The Art of Tea

The Art of Tea, 47 Barlow Moor Rd, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 6TW - Visit now

Yes, we know The Art Of Tea is a go-to for brunch classics and, er, tea, but snuggled away at the back is the Didsbury Village Bookshop (not to be confused with the Didsbury bookshop Mortens, on quaint old cobbledy Warburton Street, but why not visit both?). This secondhand treasure trove has tons of reference books, a whole lot of poetry and more Penguin Classics than you could shake a penguin-keeper’s stick at.

Kasia Wojcicka

International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF)

International Anthony Burgess Foundation (IABF), Engine House, Chorlton Mill,
3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5BY - Visit now

As well as holding the archive of one of Manchester’s most famous writers (and, according to the centre’s director, one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions), the IABF has a well-stocked bookstore for Burgess fans, lining the wall’s of the rather pleasant cafe. What’s more, live literature events, bookclubs, poetry readings and spoken-word nights are regular features.

HOME Manchester

HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now

As well as the most unrivalled cinema screens in Manchester, some of the city’s best theatre, exhibition spaces, and bar and restaurant, HOME has a bookshop. It stocks books and magazines which complement HOME’s artistic programme as well as local independently produced publications and journals alongside a cracking choice of geetings cards.

HOME Manchester
Paul Karalius

Travelling Man

Travelling Man, 4 Dale St, Manchester, M1 1JW - Visit now

If you like your comic books with some role-playing games on the side, look no further than Travelling Man. The choice of books, comics and graphic novels is arguably the best in Manchester. Plus the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.

Creative Tourist

Forbidden Planet International

Forbidden Planet International, 65 Oldham St, Manchester, M1 1JR - Visit now

If you’re still wondering how C3PO got that red arm (and who isn’t?), then you’ll probably want to start your shopping here. The Waterstones of the geek world, Forbidden Planet has books, comics and some undeniably cool pop culture merch to boot. Hulk Hands, anyone?

Creative Tourist

Paramount Books

Paramount Books, 25-27 Shudehill, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 2AF - Visit now

The award for the bookshop with the most personality goes to… Paramount books. A paradise for those looking for something a little unusual, there’s also the opportunity to sell books and comics as well as buy.

Paramount Books book shop in Manchester
Per Gosche via Flickr

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