PsychoBabel and Skoob recycle knowledge. We have nearly 85,000 books in our London shop and 98,000 additional books online
. Together, we offer a unique, high-quality environment for academic book-buying.
and managed by an ex-academic and staffed by experts in a range of
fields, we strive to preserve and develop the second-hand bookshop
tradition of making available academic texts from all disciplines. We
do not have piles of identical textbooks nor publishers' remainders.
What we offer online and in the shop is a carefully selected and
prioritised range from our one million plus titles in the Oxfordshire
PsychoBabel began in 2003 when a hospital university
department was discarding nearly 10,000 titles, admittedly dated, but
still of relevance and potential interest to postgraduate study. The
name is an amalgamation of the dominant disciplines of that collection,
Psychiatry and Psychology, and the biblical cosmopolitan city typified
by a confusion of languages.
Our aim always has been to try and
facilitate learning by preserving, cleaning and marketing out-of-print,
scarce and otherwise unavailable books, and while we've branched out
from the psychology focus in our collection, surely the point of study
is to de-mystify and decode esoteric and obscure terminology for the
phenomena of our existence.
We undertake to try and find one more user of the books we acquire.
has been an institution in the London Secondhand book trade for thirty
years. Founded by staff from the pending closure of Poole's on Charing
Cross Road, Skoob's series of shops around Holborn and Bloomsbury were
always favourites for the local academic community, businesses,
commuters and international tourists. During the 1980s and 1990s there
were branches in four countries and a thriving publishing arm. Changing
markets led to a two year closure from 2005-2007 and a change of
ownership. However, Skoob has bucked the trend of closing bookshops
and, together with the internet trading of PsychoBabel, continues to
develop its reputation as one of the world's favourite bookstores.
gather books from large-scale library clearances, domestic
reorganisations, academic retirements, sad bereavements, career changes
and general lack of space. We've also bought the stock of over a
dozen closing-down bookshops in the past few years. Given that our
major costs are rent and rates, we aim to get the best use of our
storage by pricing to sell, at least 50 percent discount on RRP in the shop,
and lower than anyone for comparable quality in the UK online. We're
continuously topping up the shelves to the extent it would be
impossible to know what we have with a great degree of accuracy in
London. In Oxfordshire we add over 1,000 books a week to the catalogue.
For quality it's the content that's important. We have some books that
are still in shrinkwrapping, but many more that have been carefully
handled. We even have some that have been treated with an excess of
affection and personalisation by a previous owner (carefully and
accurately described, of course). But that's not to say there's a
disadvantage in purchasing well-loved second hand books.
Irish Times column, Flann O'Brien explored the concept of commercial
pre-reading of worthy books. Why should a wealthy person like this be
put to the trouble of pretending to read at all? Why not a professional
book-handler to go in and suitably maul his library for so much per
shelf? Such a person, if properly qualified, could make a fortune. "Professional book-handlers, he wrote, will maul the books of
illiterate, but wealthy, upstarts so that the books will look as if
they have been read and re-read by their owners."