Daunt Books

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Interior of Daunt Books Marylebone High Street branch

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.[1] 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.[2]

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.[3]

To date, Daunt Books have published:

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Coordinates: 51°31′14″N 0°09′07″W / 51.52048°N 0.15190°W / 51.52048; -0.15190