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Daunt Books

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by Mike Whyte (subscribe)
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Published April 13th 2011

One visit to Daunt Books isn't enough. This becomes obvious once you step through the doors into the Edwardian gallery of the flagship Marylebone store. A few paces into the shop and you begin to smell the musky aroma of new books. Then you get through to the symmetrical gallery room, with a staircase descending to more books downstairs, skylights providing light and space to the gallery from above. The room is quite simply stunning.

Daunt Books in Marylebone regularly receives accolades by various publications. It is not without merit, as the store is beautiful, and not just in design, but the organisation of the books.

It would appear that a lot of time is spent here organising the stock, as the grouping together of appropriate tomes is logical, but also very carefully detailed. For example, in the Spanish section you will not only find books on travelling to and around Spain, but books on Spanish food, guides to speaking the language, guides to famous artists from Spain and even books on the development of flamenco. This grouping of categories means that every trip to Daunt becomes a voyage of discovery - you have an idea of what you are looking for when you arrive, but could easily leave with four times as many books as you originally planned to buy, and love the extra three books more than the one you originally wanted.

The relaxed atmosphere in the shop is also very conductive to the scholarly atmosphere of books. It is unlikely you will be hurried into a sale here, so many people relax and read the first few pages before buying - a gentle activity which is what I believe bookshops should always be about.

So take your time, browse and re-browse before making a choice, for the building is the star here, and the books you buy the autographs to take away with you. Never has the art of reading been so worthwhile!
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Why? Because never before has reading been so picturesque
When: Monday-Saturday 9am - 7.30pm, Sunday 11am - 6pm
Where: Daunt Books, 83 Marylebone High Street
Cost: Free (to look), unlimited (to buy)
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