What better way to spend an afternoon than slowly, very slowly, working your way around the shelves and bays of a bookshop. Convenient as online shopping is – open 24 hours and an extensive, up-to-date catalogue – you just can’t beat leafing through new and old books that look, smell and feel wonderful.
We LOVE independent bookshops best, run by passionate and knowledgeable booklovers. However, when the big bookstores team up with a good coffee shop, well, that really is a killer combination!
Listed below are our favourite bookshops! BUT, we can’t complete this list WITHOUT YOUR HELP. Please let us know about your favourite bookshops. Then we can all enjoy searching out these amazing places and discovering their magic for ourselves.
Cottage Bookshop, Elm Road, Penn, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP10 8LB, tel: 01494 812632. Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10-1pm, 2.15-5pm. This is a general second-hand bookshop overflowing with books, literally. It looks like the building itself is made from books.
Wendover Bookshop, 35 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire, HP22 6DU, tel: 01296 696204. Please call for opening times. Alongside new titles, the Wendover Bookshop also buys and sells second-hand books. Areas of speciality include jazz, organic living and children’s books (which is why we love this shop!).
Oxfam Bookshop, Marlow, 26-26a High Street, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 1AW, tel 01628 472343. This charity shop has now become a specialised, second-hand bookshop and the charity goods have had to move next door!
Blackwells, Oxford City Centre, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BG, tel 01865 792792. This is a bookshop on a completely different scale. It is CAVENOUS! Never mind spending a day here, I would need to book accommodation! The Norrington Room, for example, contains 160,000 books all by itself! See for yourself -
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, in Tetbury and Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. Debbie Young from Read for Good, the charity that runs Readathon has recommended these lovely-looking bookshops. She says, “The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop is a stunning small
independent bookshop, established initially in Tetbury but now also with a branch in Nailsworth – both small Gloucestershire towns. Proprietor is Hereward Corbett (brother of reading and literacy guru Pie Corbett) who has made both shops so warm and welcoming and customer-oriented though very different in character. The Tetbury one is full of comfy dark leather sofas and crammed full of wooden shelves, the Nailsworth one is light and airy and pale. In both, you can’t fail to be caught up in the staff’s passion for books – or impressed by their fabulous knowledge and customer care. They have also set up a really successful local literary festival – even though we’re less than an hour from
Cheltenham! Just wonderful.” High praise indeed! Well done to all concerned.
Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, Bath, Somerset. Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights opened its doors to the book-loving residents of Bath in June 2006, after owners Nic and Juliette Bottomley left their jobs as city lawyers in London and Prague in favour of a career in independent bookselling (wise move!). I was lucky enough to visit this bookshop on a recent family trip to Bath and can confirm that it is absolutely delightful and fully deserves its award of UK’s Independent Bookshop of the Year 2011 (for the second time too).
Mr B’s is on John Street right in the heart of Bath. Cream shelves packed with books span across three floors of a pretty Georgian building with lots of added quirky features such as a converted claw-foot bath book display, a wall papered with a Tintin comic (very apt right now), toilets papered in book reviews, a rentable reading booth (complete with leather chair and biscuit barrel) and our sumptuous “Bibliotherapy Room” with comfy armchairs, a fireplace, rotating thematic book displays and free tea and coffee available for customers.