Stop number four on my Independent Booksellers Week bookshop crawl took me underground.
In fact, the only reason I found the bookshop this time (stupidly walking right past the large sign pointing the way) was because I spotted two women taking selfies outside the shop - one of the requirements of bookshop crawl participation. A welcome opportunity to compare bookshop stories and general bookish excitement, it was great to meet this pair and share in the excitement of finally visiting a destination that had heard of the IBW stickers intrepid bookshoppers were supposed to be seeking on their crawl (see book photograph).
Buoyed by the meeting, I skipped down the steps and into the maze of secondhand books below.
Being underground means Skoob opens up into a much larger space than you'd anticipate. With lots of nooks to get lost in, and scattered office chairs which I initially wondered at until I found myself utilising one for more comfortable perusal of the lowest of the bookshelves.
Just the right level of busy, there was a buzz to the shop as I weaved between the shelves passing all manner of subjects and collections - including a Penguin orange-filled bookcase - before lighting on the large science fiction section (to my mind the jewel of all secondhand bookshops). It was while browsing here and delighting at the selection that I was able to further take in the atmosphere: snippets of conversation, interesting people, and marvelling at the patience of the bookseller as a loud woman declared she'd visited with the hope of finding a cheap book here because "it's more than £100 on Am****" as though rudely assuming the bookseller wouldn't know the quality of his stock.
Cue a fascinating conversation about books and the bookshop, followed by a quick check I hadn't taken any pictures of browsers for this blog - they feel very seriously about the privacy of their customers and have a great reason for this, which I'm sure the bookseller will explain if you ask about historic bookshoppers when you visit.
And should you need further encouragement – there's a piano too.
66 The Brunswick,
off Marchmont Street,
Tel: 020 7278 8760