Over four decades of bookish bliss

TOURIST ATTRACTION: A sideview of the entrance to the landmark book shop in Berea. Pictures: CHERYL LARSEN

The Oxford Book Shop and Book Exchange first opened its doors in 1975 at 169 Oxford Street and has consistently been providing East London book lovers with affordable options for the last 48 years.

Alan Wild took over the shop in 1990 and has been managing the store throughout the years.

“It has been quite a journey. The main aim that we have had at the store over the years has been to bring literacy to the people at affordable prices that are attainable to everyone.

“We currently have about 40,000 books across 150m² of space,” Wild said.

The store has adopted a very effective book exchange method whereby every book in the store is on sale. They only accept books that are not older than 10 years. When a customer brings in their books, the books are then appraised and the customer is then awarded the credit value of the books to use in the store.

The store is home to new and second-hand books that have been sourced from as far away as Cape Town. The four main genres of books that the store has are fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, and Christian books.

“We pride ourselves in our clientele. We have client bases in East London, Qonce, Komani, Mthatha, and Port Alfred.

SWEET SOLITUDE: The books available at the Oxford Book Shop and Book Exchange.

“We have become somewhat of a holiday destination because people come by and take books and then return on their next trip and return the books,” Wild said.

With the popularity of the Kindle on the rise, the need and desire to read a hard copy book has remained a staple for many book lovers.

This is one of the reasons why Oxford Book Shop and Book Exchange has maintained its position as one of the best book shops in the city.

“We are the last of its kind in the city because we stock a large range of books at low costs, even for new books.

“We have noticed that more people have been reading during load-shedding.

“We would like to be open for another 20 years if we have the same level of support from East London,” Wild said.

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