Opinion: The South Bank Book Market

One of my favourite places to hunt for books is the South Bank Book Market, also known as the South Bank Book Fair. Stalls are set up every day of the week and you can find them nestled right underneath Waterloo Bridge, just in front of the BFI Cinema.

Whatever type of book sparks your interest – fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s books, even rare editions – you’re sure find something here. There’s always a wide variety available and there’s just something about a second-hand book that I can’t help but love.

I really feel that books are meant to be shared. I give books to friends or donate them to charity and second-hand book shops when I’ve read them, as I want someone else to enjoy the story as much as I did. And yes, I know they could obviously buy their own copy, but it’s just all so much more poetic if they read the exact set of words that I did. Also, I can’t talk about sharing books and not reiterate my love (I initially declared it here) for libraries. The ultimate vessels of book-sharing.


For a little more insight into the South Bank Book Market, take a look at this video of Gareth, who runs a stall. This video is part of a really interesting film project by Chocolate Films, called 1,000 Londoners. Each week they reveal the next in the series of short videos that tells the unique story of a Londoner, in order to create a digital portrait that captures the spirit of, and all the different types of people that make up this great city.

Gareth (Londoner no.139), tells us his story and interestingly, says his most asked-for book is, 1984 by George Orwell. As this video was published back in April 2016, before the world tipped into the real-life dystopian nightmare that saw the sales of 1984 surge again this year, it shows that 1984 has always been high on the people’s TBR list, even before it drew scary parallels to today’s politics!

The South Bank Book Market really is a little hidden gem – and in such a picturesque setting – truly the perfect place to go if you need inspiration for your next read, plus you get to have a lovely stroll by the river.

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