“Bookshops are time machines, spaceships, story-makers, secret-keepers, dragon- tamers, dream-catchers, fact-finders & safe places” - Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book.
With less than 1,000 independent bookshops left in the UK, it has never been more important to visit your local bookshop. I could keep going on about the “smell” of books, but I’m sure if you’re reading this then you’re a book lover too. No online shop can replicate the browsing experience, of going in to buy one book and walking out with five more you didn’t know you wanted/needed. I’ve compiled a list of some great independent bookshops, which you can find below. This is far from a definitive list, but it’s a start!
Mr B’s is a fantastic bookshop located in central Bath. Besides having a brilliant name, this shop is known for their unique approaches to independent bookselling and dedicated staff. The shop is really well laid out. They display books in baths and have lots of helpful recommendation cards from the booksellers themselves. Not to mention that you can enjoy a “Reading Spa” day in The Bibliotherapy Room. Here, you can sit down for a chat with the staff about your favourite books, eat cake and walk away with an armful of books!
Jaffé and Neale is located in Chipping Norton, making it the ideal location for making a pit stop on the way to the Cotswolds. Co-owned by the lovely Patrick Neale and Polly Jaffé, who are both dedicated booksellers, this shop has a fantastic selection of books. In addition to being a bookshop, they are well known for their excellent cake and lively events.
It would be impossible not to include the incredible Daunt Books on this list, an iconic fixture for London readers since 1990. Located in an old Edwardian style building, their Marylebone branch is truly a pleasure to browse in. Daunt Books have six branches in London.
Mostly Books is a fantastic bookshop in Abingdon in Oxford. It is a small shop, with a big selection of books and gifts. At the back of the shop they have an excellent children’s section, making it a great shop for young readers. They are closely involved with their local community, hosting author events and events for children. They have something for every reader!
The Book Barge is unique to say the least, being literally a book barge. In 2014 owner Sarah Henshaw published her book, The Bookshop That Floated Away, detailing her journey as a boating bookseller. The shop now specialises in curating and housing specialist collections of books. If you’re looking for a different book buying experience then you should definitely pay them a visit!
Independent Bookshop Week took place earlier this month and encouraged readers to go out and take part in a #bookshopcrawl. But why wait for next year when there are so many lovely shops to visit?