Carnaby Street Book Exchange: a story-swap-shop

Here’s a neat idea we saw last week at Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street.

The Carnaby Street Book Exchange is a small oasis of bookish calm in an area packed out with noisy stores and in-your-face product (have any of you ventured into the visually-and-musically-loud new Monki store yet? take sunglasses…) Making use of redundant retail space, MA Fashion Curation students on the London College of Fashion have launched a pop up book lounge which encourages you to bring along a book to swap it with another.

To make it more interesting, the MA Curation students suggest you write a little note in the front of your book telling the next reader your thoughts and perhaps a little about the circumstances of you reading it, a story-swap-shop if you like.

Isn’t that a GREAT way to use redundant space? There are enough books around for us all to find at least one to swap and I like the idea that you can just sit and read there at any time, it’s a nice alternative to Cafe Nero or wandering around shops, a bit like being able to press a ‘retail pause’ button. I know that’s what libraries used to be for but now they’re all closing down (or moving into Woolworths which is genius) at least this one is a central non commercial alternative to a shop.

If any retail landlords are reading, can we suggest you take this seriously as an alternative to charity shops? You might not get as much money in rent but it will seriously improve the area and everyone needs somewhere to take their Amazon excesses.

A story for a story at the Book Exchange

Book are currently having a fashion moment, we wrote about the Selfridges Book Library which we loved and below is the recent Boden press day for its AW12 collection (looks fab BTW) with the lovely book area to sit and relax in (and eat delicious risotto -best press day food I’ve had for a while).

Boden's recent press day book area

The Carnaby Street Book Exchange is in Kingly Court and is open Monday -Saturday 8.00am – 6.00pm, Sunday 12.00pm – 6.00pm for the next couple of weeks.



  • Andrea says:

    What a fantastic idea, I heard a really sad article regarding how in most high streets there are numerous betting shops but no book shops. Along with the demise of the local library some people just don’t have access to books and they no longer feature in every day life…

  • Amanda says:

    Agree entirely Andrea, it really enriches the high street culturally, I’m sure it could work really well in dying town centres. I’d love to see one in a shopping mall too….A

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