If there’s one thing Manchester does well, it’s books and places to buy them (just check out the pretty incredible line-up coming to the Manchester literature festival for a start). Here’s our guide to some of the best.

Queer Lit | 39 Tib Street, Manchester M4 1LX

It’s new, so it gets to go first (also, pictured here). The owners of Queer Lit we were finding it tough going to discover great Queer literature. With a lack of shops stocking it and websites bothering to dedicate areas towards it, they felt it was time for a change. Head to Tib Street to browse over 1500 titles. Their website has a great LGBTQ+-matters blog too.

Rare Mags | 5 Lower Hillgate, Stockport, SK1 1JQ

Rare Mags is an absolute gem of a shop, in Stockport’s old town. They would probably hate us to say this, but if you liked Magma (sob!), then you will love this place too. ‘Rare Mags and books’ would have been way too long a title, but in fact that’s exactly what you’ll find inside this recently expanded shop. Put simply, they sell the best independent magazines out there, a cracking selection of books and some fine stationery.

Blackwells | University Green 146 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9GP

Blackwell’s has had a makeover. The new shop is bright and airy, with an on-site cafe. Specialising as ever in academic reading, the shop also stocks most other books. It has some great author events too, so keep an eye out for those.


HOME | 2 Tony Wilson Pl, Manchester M15 4FN

Small but perfectly formed, the bookshop in the foyer at HOME sells carefully-curated books, magazines and gifts, appealing firmly to the arts crowd.

Deansgate Waterstones |  91 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester M3 2BW 

Open since 1987, Waterstones Manchester Deansgate has become an integral part of the cultural tapestry of Manchester City Centre. Opposite the Grade II listed Art-Deco building that now houses House of Fraser, and within a Victorian-built store open since 1873, you’ll find all the expected big hits in here plus a large range of carefully-curated titles.

Travelling Man | 4 Dale St, Manchester M1 1JW

Travelling Man has a huge choice of visual books, comics and graphic novels and is considered by many in the know to be THE go-to place for all of the above. The staff are nice too: none of the intimidating snootiness you may worry about in such a specialist shop.

Paramount Books | 25-27 Shudehill, Manchester, M4 2AF

Packed with tumbling stacks of classic books, vintage magazines, action comics and picture posts, Paramount Books is Manchester’s beloved literary time capsule. Follow the curling trail of jazz and opera music drifting through the streets behind Printworks to find their speakers in the doorway.


, Tel: 0161 834 9509
B is for Butterfly`| Emporium M33, 3-7 Tatton Rd, Sale, M33 7EB

Established with the ethos that books enjoyed in childhood are profoundly formative, Sale’s B is for Butterfly is a specialist independent children’s bookshop whose founder, Michelle, selects and stocks titles which have the potential to leave a lasting impression on their readers.

, Tel: 07920 194879
Chorlton Bookshop | 506 Wilbraham Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9AW

Community cornerstone of nearly forty years, family-run Chorlton Bookshop is the village’s most popular literary haven, so beloved for its serene environment that hundreds of Chorltonians showed up to successfully protest its planned closure in 2014.

Didsbury Village Bookshop | Inside The Art of Tea, 47 Barlow Moor Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6TW

Boasting an incredible inventory of second-hand titles, Didsbury Village Bookshop is a traditional sanctuary which forms part of The Art of Tea, a popular cafe, bar and art space at the heart of Didsbury’s creative community since 2009.

Greenhouse Books | 6 Rectory Court, 13 Wilmslow Road, Cheadle, SK8 1DW

Several miles south of the city, vegan literary labyrinth Greenhouse promises to welcome ‘the window-shopper or the wanderer, the book-worm or the coffee bean aficionado, the cake-scoffer or the comic book geek’ as warmly as family, with an inclusive, love-based ethos which forms the foundations of an irresistibly homely bookshop and cafe which features an eclectic inventory of novels, comics and more to parse over soup, sweets and artisanal coffee.

, Tel: 07876 744087
Chapter One Books | 19 Lever Street, Manchester, M1 1BY

With a tea and cake menu almost as extensive as its archives, the Northern Quarter’s Chapter One embodies the platonic ideal of the timeless bookshop-cum-cafe, offering the perfect lazy literary afternoon amidst a charismatic light-filled decor,, a diverse selection of titles and sticky homemade brownies.

House of Books & Friends | Ground Floor, 81 King St, Manchester, M2 4AH

Formed as a Community Interest Company with a guiding mission to combat loneliness in the local area, House of Books & Friends operate their bright, charming bookstore as a second home for anyone who needs it, with a team of fathomlessly knowledgeable staff selling tastefully curated books, serving rich, aromatic coffee and running an array of events, including virtual and in-person book clubs, music evenings, meet-the-author days and children’s storytimes.

P3 Annihilation Eve (formerly O! Peste Destroyed)

The sister venue of the famous late-night favourite, The White Hotel, P3 Annihilation Eve (formerly O! Peste Destroyed), is part bookshop-part bar. The striking, industrial-looking space stocks everything from indie travel titles to obscure historical texts, and hosts regular in-conversation evenings with both acclaimed and up-and-coming authors.

70 Oldham Rd, New Cross, Manchester M4 5EB
Jot Bookshop

Jot is an independent pop-up bookshop that focuses on publications from smaller, independent publishers and presses. While primarily operating online at the moment, the team say they’re in the process of identifying host venues for their physical operation. Along with offering an array of second-hand titles, Jot is also committed to building a community of readers in South Manchester and beyond.

Sat 18 Sep
Wire Editor
Published on:
Mon 24 Jun 2024