The Albion Beatnik Bookstore website (or how a bookshop can change a light bulb)

The web and blog page of the Albion Beatnik Bookstore in Oxford: muses and misspills on books, jazz, poetry, stuff like false flags and smoke screen: is randomly decrepid and is neo-bankrupt: is so analogue it's anal.


AlbionBeatnikThe Albion Beatnik is a small and enthusiastic bookshop in Jericho, Oxford, with an eclectic collection of titles ranging from American pulp to Beatnik poetry: definitely a bookshop with a difference, described by the Sunday Times as the “best bookshop in Oxford,” and although we know what they mean, some refer to it as the best bookshop in the world. It opens until 11.00pm at least four nights a week (sometimes more than that in the Summer months), although early starts are frowned upon (the shop has resumed its 11.00am kick-off, although sometimes the ref blows his wolf whistle a little later).

The relaxed cafe offers fine tea (brewed from tea leaves in a tea pot), coffee and cake. Abfab music is always on the CD. But if you park your bike over the steps leading in to the bookshop, expect a stern reprimand and, if you are lucky, a spanking.

The shop hosts many events – particularly poetry and music, themed literary evenings and general talks and debates. It has a reading group which meets each month.

The shop is participative and encourages input from its community – help with the hoovering is always appreciated; this does not mean it is a zany or hippy kingdom, although love and world peace, long hair and beards, organic crap and shamanism are encouraged. You can expect 10% discount if you have dreadz (cool) or like Miles Davis and explain why.

It is an anti-wi-fi zone (we think you can have too much of a bad thing). We think the internet is great, but the written word is better; we abhor democracy and adore anarchy (in a sort of postmodern, dodecaphonic sort of way); we think you should buy a book because you want to read it, not because it is cheap, although this doesn’t give publishers or booksellers the license to overcharge (unless they can get away with it). The shop has a no petting, diving or bombing policy (unless with the owner). And if you are genuine and enthusiastic, you are always welcome.

Read the Albion Beatnik’s Pompous Manifesto.

Two examples of customer service: Black Books and the brilliant but now forgotten Marty Feldman.