Last Updated on 10th September 2022 by Sophie Nadeau
Since April of 2021, Persephone Books has graced the beautiful city of Bath with its feminist books. After twenty years in the heart of central London, the bookshop took the decision to move out of the Big Smoke to the West Country.
Prior to this date, Persephone Books was nestled down a little lane and close to the British Museum, in the heart of Bloomsbury, an area of London well-known for its many independent stores and quirky coffee shops, not to mention its beautiful bookstores such as Persephone.
What are Persephone Books?
The bookshop is dedicated to forgotten and little-known (mostly) female authors whose works are now out of print. Persephone has brought back these books for small print runs and each book is bound in what has since become a signature light grey jacket cover. Each book costs £13.
Inside each book, a dedicated endpaper specific to the novel in question and in a ‘fabric-like pattern’ just adds to the charm of the publishing style. Matching bookmarks are on sale for an extra fee.
Persephone Books in London
When Persephone was in London, it may well have been London’s most unusual and unique bookstore. The Grade II building which housed the bookshop was constructed in the early 18th-century and the area itself is most-famous for the Bloomsbury Group, an association of English writers including Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster.
Those who stepped inside this oasis of calm in the heart of the city would have found row upon row of neatly grey bound titles, all waiting to be discovered. The vibe was friendly and welcoming, while the decor was light and bright. Behind the several counters, staff members sat typing away and books were piled into just about every usable space.
A history of Persephone Books
Persephone Books was founded in 1998 by Nicola Beauman as a way of reprinting neglected fiction and non-fiction. A concept that began in a small room above a pub soon grew exponentially. After several years in a basement in Clerkenwell, the success of the company meant that the offices and store soon moved to Bloomsbury.
All of the works were written in the mid-twentieth century and today, the collection counts 128 diaries, cookbooks, memoirs, short stories, poems, and novels among its collection. Each book costs £13 and new titles are regularly added.
Shopfront aside, it’s also possible to purchase the titles through the Persephone Books’ website. Online and instore, you’ll also find literary-related goods such as notebooks, year diaries, and other goodies are for sale. If you’re ever in the area, the shop is well worth a wander around! Otherwise, Hatchards and John Sandoe and Daunt Books also stock Persephone titles.
Moving to Bath
As of April 2021, Persephone Books has moved to the buttery stone city of Bath. The city is perhaps best associated with Jane Austen and so makes for a fitting city to house a feminist bookshop. For more inspiration when visiting Bath, be sure to check out our guide to the best hidden gems of Bath and our guide to spending a weekend in Bath.