About Us

The Space Merchants London is an independent online shop specialising in vintage science fiction and science fact.

Back in 2009, Europe lost its only specialist second hand science fiction bookshop. After 10 years in Harlesden and 30 years on Holloway Road, the Fantasy Centre closed its doors for the final time. This was something we found incredibly sad. We loved that shop. So from that moment on a dream was born and a plan hatched. We were determined to bring specialist science fiction back to the city. The online shop you see before you is our first step.

The name of the shop comes from one of our favourite books by one of our favourite authors, The Space Merchants by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth. It’s with no small amount of glee that we tell you that Fred Pohl himself very kindly gave us his blessing to use the name.

We stock a wide range of paperbacks, hardbacks and magazines, with more being added each and every day. If you’re looking for something in particular, get in touch, we may have what you’re after in a box somewhere waiting to be listed. Equally if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for and need some advice, that’s what we’re here for. Say hello, and we’ll do everything we can to help.

Follow us on facebook and twitter for regular updates on new stock, shop news, special events, occasional nerdery and general star-gazing.

Grading Books

We assign each item a general ‘condition’ (see list below), and then we add any additional information about the quality of the item that may not necessarily be easily visible in the product photo(s).

Important: we grade books and magazines subjectively, that is, we take age into account when assigning the ‘condition’. Seeing as we deal with many items that are often several decades old, we don’t think one standard can fairly be applied to, say, both a 1940s digest on the one hand, and a 1990s paperback on the other. No matter how well an older item has been looked after, time takes its toll on page colour and general stature. So we take the age of an item into account when assigning ‘condition’, and this is why it’s perfectly possible to find a ‘Very Good’ digest from the 1940s that does not necessarily look the same as a ‘Very Good’ paperback from the 1990s. For their age, both are in ‘Very Good’ condition.

Please bear this in mind when browsing the shop, and if you have any questions about a specific item or want to see some additional pictures, get in touch and we'll be more than happy to oblige.

Like New - aside from small bumps or scratches, an item that is almost indistinguishable from a brand new copy. This is a rare label to find, as we’re particularly strict about handing it out. More often than not, the best condition you can find something in is…

Very Good - for its age, an item that has been very well looked after by previous owners. Great effort has been made to preserve its general appearance and contents.

Good - for its age, an item that has been looked after by previous owners. Effort has been made to preserve its general appearance, although signs of wear are expected, and will be described.

Average - for its age, an item that has been well read, or that has not been particularly well looked after. ‘Average’ items are always intact, with no missing/loose pages, but signs of wear are commonplace, and will be communicated. 

What we do not do, is sell anything that’s in an unreadable state. If we come across a book that has missing pages, loose pages, numerous internal markings or excessive damage to the spine, it does not go into the shop. Rest assured that even an ‘Average’ book meets a specific standard, there are no ‘poor’ quality items here.

On that note, we do our absolute best to make sure that items are described fairly and accurately, and we have no intention of hiding defects or blemishes. But we’re only human, and with hundreds upon hundreds of books to be described, it’s no small feat, and mistakes may get made occasionally. If you are not happy with a book or magazine that you’ve purchased, if you feel that the condition was not accurately described, we are always happy to hear your feedback, and resolve the problem.