Supporting your favourite independents has never been more important! If you’re anything like the team at Rowanvale Books, reading will have been a helpful companion to see you through the various lockdowns of 2020/2021. Why not show your love for books by buying your next to-be-read stack from a local independent? Here are some of our faves in Cardiff!
Nestled away in the Castle Arcade, Troutmark Books is a booklover’s dream! Like something out of a movie, it has cosy and maze-like floor-to-ceiling bookshelves packed with any genre of book you might ever need. Despite being relatively small, we’re certain you could spend hours in there getting lost in the sea of second-hand treasures while trying to convince yourself you don’t need to buy the whole shop. The shop symbolises everything that’s great about the Cardiff arcades, and has to be one of the most unique and quirky shops in the city!
Gone are the days of feeling like you’ve spent too much money on books, when you know that money is going straight to charity. Not far from Troutmark, Oxfam Bookshop sits at the top of St Mary’s Street. Forget the preconceptions you have about charity shops being an disorganised mess of unwanted rubbish; this Oxfam is set up like any good bookshop with sections ranging from sci-fi to gardening to local history, full to the brim with bestsellers as well as some rare finds that you might not see in your average high-street Waterstones. It’s a great place to look for cheap coffee table books, and you’ll know that with every page you turn, you’ve made a contribution to one of the UK’s leading charities.
Though it’s just outside of Cardiff, we couldn’t leave Griffin Books in Penarth off our list! Situated right in the heart of the community, they pride themselves on bringing people and books together and have even kept this going through lockdown with Zoom quiz nights and book clubs. Their lovely staff are always happy to help you find whatever you’ve gone in looking for or give you their recommendations if you’ve fallen into a bit of a reading slump. Paired with a stroll along the beach, a trip to Griffin Books is the perfect excuse to get out of the city for a few hours!
SHELFLIFE BOOKS AND ZINES
Tucked away in the Castle Emporium, Shelflife Books and Zines is another perfect example of Cardiff’s independent and creative scene. They describe themselves as a space for marginalised voices and operate as a not-for-profit shop, providing a space for independent publishers and DIY zine makers! A true one-of-a-kind bookshop, they even have a pay-it-forward scheme where you can choose to donate some money which another customer can use to buy their book if they’re struggling for cash.
For us, Wellfield Bookshop is the perfect definition of an independent bookshop. A family-run business, they’ve been open since 1982 and are truly passionate about supporting and maintaining local highstreets. You’ll find the best new releases as well as some of your old favourites, and their pure love of books will start radiating as soon as you talk to any one of the staff members. Head over to pick up your new favourite book and dive straight in over a cup of coffee in one of Roath’s independent cafes, or if you’re lucky, sit outside and enjoy the sunshine in Roath Park while you get lost in a new world in your book.
If you’re not in Cardiff but are still looking for your fix of independent books, then look no further than Rowanvale Books! We may not have a physical shop, but our online bookshop is full to the (virtual) brim with exciting new reads if you’re looking to add something new to your shelves! Head to our website to find out more.