Alembic Rare Books specialises in fine books on science, technology, natural history, and medicine, with a special focus on women in the sciences. In addition to printed books we offer manuscripts, prints, photographs, ephemera, and scientific instruments. We also offer select stock in women's history and literature. All our books are clearly described, with accurate edition statements and condition reports conforming to the highest standards.
We accept all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, as well as cheques and bank transfers. Payment must be made in pounds sterling unless otherwise arranged. Our site and check-out processes are completely encrypted, so your data is safe whether you place an order on our website or over the phone.
Please be aware that if you use a credit card for a first purchase we can usually only ship the book to the address registered with the card. This is due to the high incidence of credit card fraud targeting online antique dealers. If you need the book shipped elsewhere please contact us to discuss this, as we can make exceptions in certain circumstances. Alternatively, if you pay by cheque or bank transfer we can send the book anywhere, though they must clear before goods are shipped.
We’re happy to take orders and answer questions over the phone between 10am and 6pm British time, during weekdays, at +44 (0)20 8050 2872.
Our books are professionally packed and generally shipped via Royal Mail within one business day of your order being received. If you order a very heavy item we may contact you to discuss shipping rates.
Parcels shipped within the UK usually arrive at their destination 1-2 working days after they leave our premises. Parcels going overseas generally arrive in 3-5 working days for western Europe and 5-7 working days for other international destinations, unless you select an expedited service. Contact us if you prefer a different shipping method.
Please be aware that if you use a credit card for a first purchase we generally only ship the book to the address registered with the card. This is due to the high incidence of credit card fraud targeting online antique dealers. If you need the book shipped elsewhere please contact us to discuss this, as we can make exceptions in certain circumstances. Alternatively, if you pay by cheque or bank transfer we can send the book anywhere.
If for any reason you are unhappy with your purchase please contact us within 30 days of delivery to initiate a return. We guarantee all our books and will accept returns after longer periods if the book has been misdescribed in our cataloguing. Returned items must be insured for the invoice value and returned promptly, safely, and without damage.
How can I get in touch with you?
The best way is to email info@
We don't have an open shop, but our premises in the Scottish Highlands is open by appointment. We also exhibit at major book fairs in the UK and overseas — subscribe to our mailing list to stay updated about events.
Yes - we’re happy to take additional photos. Just email us to let us know what you need.
Our website is generally updated in real time to accurately reflect our stock, though occasionally a book may sell at a fair or through another website and not be removed immediately. The majority of our books are listed on our site, however, it’s always a good idea to get in touch if you don’t see what you’re looking for, as we may be able to find the book for you.
Yes! We maintain a wants list and are happy to look for books for clients.
Yes — to sell a book please email us a description containing: the title, author, publisher, and date of publication. Please include photographs of the outside of the book, any damaged areas, and the title page/copyright information. We can generally make a preliminary offer by email, but final purchases are contingent on us viewing the book in person.
We don't offer certificates of authenticity, but each book comes with a full description on our letterhead matching the description on our website. We guarantee all our books and accept returns after the standard 30 days if a book is misdescribed in our cataloguing.
Unfortunately we cannot provide formal valuations for insurance or other purposes.
Please see our rare book guide for more information.