Wednesday 20 November 2013

Harry Potter leaves his Watermark for #BAMB

Continuing on my Books are my Bag bookshop crawl, we come to Watermark Books in Kings Cross Station. A destination I very nearly skipped.

While I'm all for bookshops in train stations - they've saved many a journey for me - I'd debated whether or not to visit due to time constraints and the concern that such a destination might be more functional than exciting. How glad I am I ignored this thought.

I arrived at Kings Cross Station ignorant of my destination, and walked the concourse a little lost, wondering if I'd perhaps got the wrong train station. Then, just as I was about to give up, I spotted a crowd of people at the other end of the station and decided to be nosy.

Which is when I discovered platform nine and three quarters and the crowd of Harry Potter fans hiding Watermark Books from view. Not a fan of the films I didn't stop to pose for a photo, but as the bookshop is nestled between the platform and a Harry Potter store the whole area is definitely worth a visit by enthusiasts of J K Rowling's books.

But for me the magic was in the bookshop itself, because once again I had stepped through the door into a different world.

Sure, it has all the characteristics of a regular bookshop: there's a featured table in the entrance, and further in there were travel guides that could be useful if you're off on a long journey, but even the recommendations shied away from the obvious, as themed collections added weight to the must-stock bestsellers. It wasn't long before I was hooked.

Despite being a relatively small bookshop there was lots to take in (including that Harry Potter section), but personally I was torn between the children's section and a recommendations table at the back, which must surely have been designed for the well-travelled reader as a selection of translated books leapt into my hands.

The Elephant's Journey by Jose Saramago ended up being my book of choice for this visit, but whether I'd picked it because I love the author or because of my earlier exploration of the children's section I can't decide. You see, before finding the table of translations I'd discovered a different kind of elephant. For it was during this visit that I first 'met' Elmer the Elephant. I realise how ignorant that may sound - especially considering I profess to be a bit of a reader - but I really had never heard of the pachyderm book-dweller before. (I've since read one of his adventures thanks to another bookshop visit.)

Yes, I was there to buy books, but how could I not stop and play with such a colourful character? I even returned to the bookshop the following week to pick up an Elmer for myself.

Harry Potter may be the obvious celebrity draw to this bookshop, but Elmer will always be my hero.

Watermark Books
Kings Cross Station, London, N1C 4AL
Tel: 020 7713 7903

UPDATE: Watermark Books closed on 31st July 2015


  1. "Elmer will always be my hero." Amen to that.

  2. PS When it says 'please prove you are not a robot', I want to start singing Marina.

    1. Ahh, both of these comments have made me smile. Thank you Sarah Jane!


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