Showering our Indies with love!
In honour of Independent Bookshop Week the CF team and some of our authors name our favourite bookshops.
Posted on June 24, 2016 in News
From 18-25 June independent bookshops across the UK will be celebrating Independent Bookshop Week via a host of activities including events, challenges and in-store displays.
We have nothing but love for these bookshops and the support that they offer to authors, publishers and of course, books! So, what better way to show our feelings than to discuss some of our favourite bookshops.
‘Everything I love about independent bookshops came to life when, after a lunch to celebrate his 90th birthday, I visited the Aldeburgh Bookshop with Ronald Blythe and witnessed the perfect loop that connects writer, bookshop, local community and wider world of the arts – and has done for decades.’ Isabelle Grey
Sarah Keys Books
‘I live in Cambridge, a city blessed with many great indie bookshops, but my favourite has to be Sarah Keys Books. It’s also known as the haunted bookshop. It’s tucked away down an ancient side street; the floorboards inside the tiny building creak loudly as you search the brilliant supply of first editions and gorgeous illustrated books. I like to imagine that the ghosts lingering there are of poets and former scholars, who love the shop’s quirky atmosphere as much as I do.’ Kate Rhodes
Harbour Books in Whitstable
‘I needed a bookshop as a scene in The Birdwatcher and chose it because it’s one of the last few independents still going strong in the East Kent region. So I’d never actually been in there until a week or so before publication when I thought I better go and confess I’d used them in the book. Liz, who runs the place was delightful. It’s not a huge shop, but it’s a gem.’ William Shaw
‘While living in Camden I discovered the Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town, which is one of those glorious independent bookshops that reaffirms your love of books every time you enter. It was terrible for my bank balance though – I could never resist buying at least three books despite my overflowing to read pile – so it’s possibly a good thing I no longer live within easy striking distance…’ Naomi Berwin
The London Review Bookshop
‘I recently visited The London Review Bookshop for the first time and I feel instantly in bookshop lust with it. The staff were incredibly welcoming and helpful and the shop, which is bright and airy, houses many fantastic books. There’s a cafe within the bookshop serving delicious goodies, perfect as post book-buying treat.’ Ella Pocock
Book & Kitchen
‘On All Saint’s Road in Ladbroke Grove. The spirit and energy is immediately evident, not only from the décor, but the staff as well. They are super friendly and passionate about what they’re doing and could no doubt hand sell every book in the store. Plus they’ll also make you a coffee and a slice of cake downstairs! (that’s the kitchen bit in the name). What I like most is that the books are allowed to showcase themselves. There are no shouty sales promotions or merchandising that makes you immediately aware of the publishers (yes, I fully realise the hypocrisy here). It is assumed that you know what you are looking for, and if not, you are given as much time as you need to discover something new.’ Joe Yule
‘My favourite indie bookstore is B&L books in Altamonte Springs, FL, just outside of Orlando. It’s run by Dena Russ and her mom (who started the place). They sell both new and used books and they know every customer who walks through their door. First time customers become like old friends before they depart. Dena hand sells a LOT of books – and she tailors her sell to each individual’s taste, often challenging them to try something new. “You’ll LOVE it!” she assures them. And they do. She and her mom keep track of the books their readers devour via a database (created by her mom), technology that warms my geeky little heart. I discovered Dena and her store when she was voted “Bookseller of the Year” by the Romantic Times in 2009. Dena wore a sparkly tiara every single day of that RT annual convention. It’s impossible not to love the woman 🙂 I’ve been fortunate to sign in her store several times since then, including B&L’s 25th anniversary celebration signing in 2012, and she’s made me feel like a princess each and every time.’ Karen Rose
‘It is almost impossible for me to choose one in particular. There is Atkinson-Pryce in Biggar, Simon Kesley’s in Haddington, the Edinburgh Bookshop at Holy Corner, Topping’s in St Andrews, Ben McNally in Toronto, www.campbellreadbooks.com on line, Better Read in Ellon, and all the other survivors that I’ve passed through in the last twenty years and more. The fact is I have huge and equal admiration for everyone who is prepared to commit their lives to the trade, for the love of books and little else, for none of them will ever make a fortune from it.’ Quintin Jardine