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Blackwell's Books

It is  rare that a bookstore becomes a tourist attraction, but Blackwell's is not just  any bookstore. For one thing, it lays claim to the largest single room devoted  to book sales in Europe, the cavernous Norrington Room (10,000sq.ft.).

blackwells booksHow, in  cramped-for-space Oxford, did Blackwell's manage to create enough space for the  Norrington Room? They excavated under neighboring Exeter College, that's how! So  while students pour over books in their rooms above, shoppers peruse endless  shelves of books well underground.

In  truth, Blackwell's is not one Oxford bookstore, but nine! The main store at  48-51 Broad Street is the largest, holding 250,000 volumes, but there are also  specialised stores for Art, Music, Rare Books, Paperbacks, Maps and Travel,  Medicine, Children's Books, and a University bookstore. The main store also has  a large used books section.

Benjamin  Blackwell founded his store in 1879 in a tiny building at 50 Broad Street, which  is now the main store. That first store measured only 12 feet square, and held  just 700 used books! Blackwell's catered exclusively to the academic market, and  gradually opened new stores in university towns around the UK.

Since  the 1920s Blackwell's has also published its own text books, medical texts, and  periodicals.

See  also: Blackwell's online

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