In honour of Independent Bookshop Week (#IBW2016), we’ve selected our favourite independent bookshops.
Chorleywood Bookshop is a marvel. It’s packed to the gunwales with everything you’d expect but its events are why I love it. Every week there seems to be another huge author dropping into our tiny village. It’s great for the community and a real treat to have these amazing people come all the way out to Hertfordshire.
Also there is a Japanese book store that sells only one book at a time – Morioka Shoten. That’s pretty much the ballsiest move in publishing so should probably get an honourable mention.
The Children’s Bookshop in Muswell Hill is a great place to spend a morning or afternoon. I go in with the intention of getting a specific book and find myself still browsing the shelves hours later. They have a great selection of chart toppers and unknown delights alike, all clearly laid out and easily navigated. If you need any advice the staff are very helpful; they have an amazing amount of knowledge and anything they don’t know they are happy to look up, anything they don’t have they are happy to order in. I have never felt any pressure to hurry or buy anything, in fact I have never had a bad experience there – I would highly recommend a visit!
My favourite bookshop is City Books in Hove; a small, unassuming independent bookshop located where all indie bookshops should be; in the middle of a busy high street. City Books stocks a wonderful collection of fiction and non-fiction from the latest bestsellers to unusual and beguiling small press experiments. The deeper you get the more crowded the shelves, and the deeper you breathe the more the dry smell of paper fills you up with joy. Always cheerful, always running author events, bookish to their spines – the staff are lovely. I give them all my money.
Growing up as I did in the Fens, it was always a treat to go into Ely, and a trip to this city is never complete without a sojourn to Topping & Company. As a child, I always loved rummaging around their numerous bookshelves to discover new classics, and was always entranced by their window displays. Though I don’t find myself in that neck of the woods often anymore, if I do travel to Ely, I make a beeline for its blue facade.
Can a bookshop become your favourite after just one visit?
Recently I went to Topping & Co Bath for a book launch and within a few moments was completely enamoured. The bookshop is exactly the sort of space I love to be in when browsing for my next read; wooden floors, warm lighting, bookshelves from floor to ceiling, nooks and crannies with specialist reads and tables and chairs out in every cosy space.
The staff are friendly, professional and incredibly well informed. They host all sorts of events in the bookshop (Kathleen tells me some of the larger events sees people squeezing in to every crevice they can find – I am imagining people swinging from the bookshelves and standing on the counter and all having a great time). The events team also inhabit larger spaces around Bath for talks, and their excellent roster has recently included a visit from Buzz Aldrin recently – need I say more?!
Bath is a stunning Georgian city and this is truly one of its gems.