Bookstores, Feature

The Best Second-Hand Bookstores in Cape Town – part 1

“Bookstores always remind me that there are good things in this world” – Vincent Van Gogh

Here are some of the best second hand bookstores I’ve been to in Cape Town, South Africa:

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Kalk Bay Books

This little bookstore is situated in the hub of Kalk Bay, right on the main road. It stocks a variety of new and second-hand books displayed in a comfortable setting with a space for you to relax and read some of the books on offer. If you’re out in this side of Cape Town, it’s an absolute must-see! It’s quite close to the Kalk Bay Harbour, so if you want to walk off the delicious fish and chips you’ve just had, I suggest you visit this shop!

Details: 124 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Cape Town 021 788 2266



TEARS Charity Centre

This is one of my favourite bookstores in the city! They have quite a wide variety of second-hand books that span across different genres including fiction, business, classics, travel, etc. TEARS receives its books as donations from people to the charity organisations for animal rescue. The TEARS Charity Centre not only sells books but has a variety of other goods as well. One thing I absolutely love about this store is that they allow you to write your name and contact details along with the book you’re in search of in their request book and once they’ve received, they’ll give you a call (I’ve tried it and they really do call).

Details: 281 Main Road, Retreat 074 168 8514



Help The Rural Child Charity Bookshop – Retreat

Help The Rural Child is a non-profit organisation whose primary focus is supporting children living in vulnerable rural communities. One of the ways they achieve this is through their charity shops situated in the greater Cape Town area. HTRC’s Retreat charity bookshop offers a large range of donated second-hand books: fiction, non-fiction, children’s, education, etc. at good affordable prices. This is one of their smaller stores but hosts a huge section on one of their walls for recommended fiction and classics which I am yet to be disappointed by. This store is also situated quite closely to TEARS Charity Centre and The Book Shoppe (up next on the list), so I suggest you make a trip to all three in one day.

Details: 254 Main Road, Retreat



The Book Shoppe

The Book Shoppe is run by its joyful staff who make you feel at home as soon as you walk in. (The last time I visited the store, they offered me a brownie during their Halloween celebrations.) This bookstore stocks good quality books ranging from Fiction to African history. Their display of books showcases those hard-to-find bestsellers that are always a pleasure to come across. The store is also set up in a cosy space that allows you to relax and browse through books if you need a little taste before buying.

Details: Tokai Junction Centre, Cnr Tokai and Main Road, Tokai 021 713 1528


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St George’s Mall Book Stall

This one is a bit different from the rest in that it’s not a bookstore per se. This stall is situated on the walkway of St George’s Mall in the heart of Cape Town’s CBD. It boasts a wide selection of esoteric, fiction and romance novels. You’ll also be able to find quite a few books from South Africa’s thought leaders, if you’re interested in reading about local current affairs. Their books are priced quite reasonably with different hard-to-find books on display every morning. I hardly ever walk past the stall without a long hard glance at what’s on display (occasionally making me 5/10 minutes late for work).

Details: St George’s Mall walkway, CBD, Cape Town (Opposite Truworths)

[2020/2021 UPDATE: We have been informed that the book stall is no longer at the St George’s Mall. We will update our post accordingly]


Have you been to any of these bookstores? Do you know of any other second-hand bookstores that should be mentioned in the follow up posts?? Let me know in the comments below 🙂



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