Daunt Books is a chain of bookshops in London, founded by James Daunt. It traditionally specialised in travel books. In 2010 it began publishing. Its initial Marylebone branch, opened in 1912, makes claim to be the first custom-built bookshop in the world.
The Marylebone High Street branch is housed in a former Edwardian bookshop with long oak galleries, graceful skylights and William Morris prints. The older section of the Marylebone shop was completed in 1912, and was originally an antiquarian bookshop called Francis Edwards. It is alleged to be the first custom-built bookshop in the world. A large, walk-in safe is visible near the entrance to the travel gallery, and is where expensive volumes were once stored. The shop was bought by former banker James Daunt and renamed Daunt Books in 1990. It now focuses on first-hand titles (especially travel-related material).
The company has branches in Chelsea, Holland Park, Cheapside, Hampstead and Belsize Park. The Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town was bought by Daunt Books, but retained its original name. Daunt Books opened its first branch outside London in Saffron Walden, Essex, under the name Hart’s Books. It opened its second branch outside London in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, under the name The Marlow Bookshop.
Specialising in travel, Daunt Books arranges its sections geographically, with guides, phrase books, travel writing, history and fiction grouped by their relevant country. Reviews have mentioned its customer service and knowledgeable staff.
Each branch organises talks by authors, with discussions. Daunt also hosts the Daunt Books Festival held annually in March.
In 2010, Daunt Books launched a publishing venture with Saki's Improper Stories, and has since republished several other out-of-print and new books. It intends to publish literary fiction and non-fiction, including both forgotten titles and new works.
To date, Daunt Books have published:
- Park Notes by Sarah Pickstone (July, 2014) ISBN 9781907970382
- The Invention of Memory: An Irish Family Scrapbook by Simon Loftus (June 2014) ISBN 9781907970528
- Pleasures and Landscapes by Sybille Bedford (May 2014) ISBN 9781907970405
- A Good Place to Die by James Buchan (April 2014) ISBN 9781907970443
- The Smoke is Rising by Mahesh Rao (March 2014) ISBN 9781907970313
- Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West (February 2014) ISBN 9781907970467
- Barcelona (short story) by Philip Langeskov (November 2013) ISBN 9781907970481
- The London Scene by Virginia Woolf (November 2013) ISBN 9781907970429
- The Matriarch by G. B. Stern (June 2013) ISBN 9781907970283
- Cassandra by Christa Wolf (March 2013) ISBN 9781907970115
- The Inland Sea (short story) by K. J. Orr (November 2012) ISBN 978-1-907970-26-9
- A Dance of Folly and Pleasure (short story collection) by O. Henry (November 2012) ISBN 9781907970108
- The Architects by Stefan Heym (September 2012) ISBN 9781907970092
- Calm at Sunset, Calm at Dawn by Paul Watkins (June 2012) ISBN 9781907970085
- Illyrian Spring by Ann Bridge (May 2012) ISBN 9781907970078
- Life With a Star by Jiří Weil (April 2012) ISBN 978-1-907970-06-1
- Kalimantaan by C. S. Godshalk (March 2012) ISBN 9781907970054
- American Drolleries (short story collection) by Mark Twain (November 2011) ISBN 9781907970047
- A Compass Error by Sybille Bedford (September 2011) ISBN 978-1-907970-03-0
- Mendelssohn is on the Roof by Jiří Weil (June 2011) ISBN 9781907970016
- A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford (March 2011) ISBN 9781907970023
- Improper Stories (short story collection) by Saki (December 2010) ISBN 9781907970009
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