Scarthin Books, Scarthin

Scarthin, Cromford

Scarthin Books

 3:44PM BST 13 Jun 2011
 What makes your shop special/unique?

Scarthin Books is both a major new bookshop (some 35,000 different titles) and a major second-hand and antiquarian bookshop (some 45,000 volumes) and also hosts a well-established vegetarian cafe which uses home-produced eggs and some vegetables in season, returning compost and hen-food to the garden. The shop gradually took over the proprietor’s entire three storey house-over-shop and retains a homely atmosphere – a dozen rooms and many rational curiosities, including a secret rotating bookshelf door to the cafe and a table made from a circular saw. Children’s bedroom wallpaper can still be glimpsed behind bookshelves and the young offspring of exceptionally tall fathers can win an utterly unfair discount on books from our exceptionally well-stocked children’s bookroom. We are open from 9 until 6, Monday to Saturday and 12 – 6 on Sundays – closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day (26th. December) only! The cafe is open from 10 until 5.15, 12-5.15 on Sundays. You can follow our exploits and misdeeds on Facebook and Twitter, on and on

Why should your bookshop be chosen to host one of these unique Book Club Tour events?

Cromford is a busy industrial village in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, on the edge of the Peak District and is still a communications hub, reachable from regional towns and cities by car, bus, express coach or train – we have our own romantic railway station. The cafe makes an atmospheric location for talks and readings for up to about thirty people; the shop as a whole can hosts “parties” for up to about seventy at one time in what is the classical setting of a bookshop as a bookshop should be. Toilet facilities, including shower and cast-iron bath tub (but be quick) are available. This would also be a great opportunity to bring even more culture to the countryside outside of urban areas.

Scarthin Books

Scarthin, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3QF; 01629 823272




An Aladin’s cave spread over 3 floors in a rambling house where you keep discovering new rooms lined to the ceiling with books old and new. You can while away a day here and have a lovely lunch or coffee and homemade cakes too. Very helpful knowledgeable staff.

Nicky Newberry

Scarthin books in Cromford Derbyshire is one of the most eclectic and delightful bookshops I have ever visited, well worth going to Derbyshire for. A wonderful mix of old and new books, comfortable chairs, a cafe hidden behind a movable bookshelf and sleeping cats in corners. This is three floors of delights including the collection of antique staplers and the largest collection of sheet music and a rampant vine straining to join you within. Everyone should visit and I defy you to leave in under an hour. Pratchett’s L space truly exists within these rickety corridors and you expect to find an author happily ensconced in one of the rooms with a rapt audience at their feet. Truly this should be a reality.

Fiona Brown

This is a quirky bookshop with both new and old books. If you are searching put in a request and they’ll do everything possible to find it. It supports local authors and publishes books especially those for children. A good place for local interest books including walking guides etc. Literally a literary place to get lost in.

Pamela Davies

Books for everyone in a great setting; like wandering round a printed maze. On every visit I’ve found something entertaining. The perfect spot to lose yourself for hours. Run by true enthusiasts. Great cafe too!

Malcolm Timperley

A haven for book lovers of all interests and ages with three floors of new books and second hand ones (and a superb cafe too). Great service- orders very efficiently handled with discount vouchers over £20. Even a regularly changing display of old literary sources from the collection. A wonderful hideaweay on a wet Sunday afternoon. Nothing to challenge this bookshop in the county – it has seen off any challengers!

Kathleen Bishell

Never have I walked into a shop – selling books or anything else – that has enabled me to lose myself for so many hours. There’s never enough time, and I never leave empty handed. It’s a treasure trove of popular and rare tomes, laid out in a wonderfully quirky manner that gives it a feeling something akin to entering a scene from Alice in Wonderland. Find your book of choice, walk through the secret door into the cafe, and you can enjoy a coffee and cake, or something savoury but certainly delicious, and peruse your selected book before you buy. Scarthin Books is a gem.

Because Scarthin Books is not just a bookshop – it’s a place that celebrates books, conversation and debate. Getting the opportunity to host a Book Club Tour Event will certainly be a good thing for Scarthin -¬†bookshops such as this are increasingly rare (this one is unique) but thanks to Amazon and other online retailers, its future could well be hanging in the balance. To enable people to continue to be able to browse ancient books as well as brand new ones and have a physical interaction with them, choose Scarthin Books.

Louise Parkin

Scarthin’s is so much more than books. At its heart is the joy of reading, thinking and learning; valuing second-hand, frayed-around-the-edges, antiquarian or new: people and books. It is wonderful. This Derbyshire Dale’s bookshop is like Paris’s ‘Shakespeare and Co’ only better. It is simply a place of life-affirming joy. It has a fab cafe, its staff love books, and a warm welcome is given to all; be they hill walkers stumbling across the shop for the first time (muddy boots given covers to allow entry),or folks who’ve trodden a well worn path to their doors year on year (in my case, always via the fish and crinkle-cut chip shop in Cromford). There are regular events (its ‘Apple Day’ is well known as is its ‘cafe philosophique’), and it promotes a diverse range of local activities and businesses throughout Derbyshire. It is a local, regional, national and international treasure.

Jo Norcup

Scarthin books is without a doubt the best bookshop I have ever been to. It has an excellent variety of books for all ages – last time everyone in the family left with at least one book. It has an interesting meandering layout with books in every available space. The staff are friendly and the cafe served a good variety of food, including a vegetarian option. We particularly enjoyed the fact that there was a wide selection of piano music and adjacent to the cafe was a room with a piano that anyone was allowed to play. We also enjoyed the various posters and memorabilia pinned across the walls, especially the large map on the second floor. It gave the shop a real old-fashioned feel. We enjoyed it so much after visiting it for the first time whilst on holiday that we came back the next day to see more of it. Overall it is a fantastic bookshop that definitely deserves to host a literary event.

Emily Robson

In a gorgeous location in the Derbyshire Dales, a millpond in front, a limestone cliff behind, this must be the quirkiest bookshop in the Midlands. Navigating the mad clutter of its three (or is it four?) floors up narrow creaky stairs to the vegan cafe hidden behind the secret revolving door takes a while, because there are so many books to tempt you on the way. Don’t go if you’re bothered by dust or cat hairs. But if, like me, you enjoy browsing undisturbed amongst a complete miscellany of old and new books of all shapes, states and sizes, its well worth the hike up the narrow lane from the market place.

Scarthin isn’t just a bookshop, it’s a Derbyshire institution – a wackily wonderful place that welcomes everyone, from octogenarian day trippers and muddy booted hikers to rainbow clad hippies. The window says it all – you can hardly see in through the messy but marvellous muddle of local event posters, flyers for self published authors, tai chi classes and snippets from the village newspaper. It’s a fiercely independent bastion of old fashioned bookselling. You can buy, sell and barter all things bookish. Please choose Scarthin – it has a lot of friends, not only in Derbyshire but much further afield.

Linda Hardy

Friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff in a beautifully ramshackle and over-stuffed bliterature paradise.

Anthony Peppiatt

Have more than one favourite bookshop? Then head on back to theBook Club Tour homepage and search for another store.

The Book Club Tour celebrates…

We’re celebrating the joys of traditional bookshops by giving away £500 worth of book vouchers. *

So once you have nominated your favourite store, why not enter into our competition to be in with a chance of winning a share of the National Book Token jackpot?

*This competition closes at midnight on February 29, 2012.