Welcome Back Bookshops!
8th April, 2021
To celebrate bookshops reopening in England this week, we’ve asked some of our authors to tell us about their favourite bookshops.
Author of The Wild Laughter
Sadly we don’t yet have a date for bookshop reopenings in Ireland, but when I’m in London, my first port of call is The London Review Bookshop, which I love for its layout and for its staff. The shop is small enough to require excellent curation (with lots of display tables), nooky enough to get away with reading the odd page or chapter, wise enough to have a whole hideaway floor for poetry and an adjacent café for great smells, and possibly the best book rec game in town.
Author of Red Corona
I’m so excited bookshops are reopening. I can’t wait to be able to step back inside my local independent store, The Broadway Bookshop on Broadway Market, and do some long-overdue in-person browsing. I’m looking forward to finding some fantastic new discoveries from their brilliantly curated collection of titles.
Author of the Playdate Adventures series
Waterstones in Twickenham means a great deal to me because it’s been a part of my children’s lives since they were small. Whenever we walk down the high street, it’s the shop they ask to go into, and now they pass the shop on their walk to and from school, we often shop there on our way home. You can imagine how thrilled my kids were when they discovered my books nestled on the bookshelves amongst some of their favourite authors! Thank you, Waterstones Twickenham, for keeping our bookshelves stocked for the last ten years.
Author of the Burrowhead Mysteries
The Dornoch Bookshop is an oasis of warmth and friendship for readers and writers in the far north highlands. Just walking in the door is enough to make me smile – and they have a reading & drawing table for kids that my daughter adores!
My favourite independent bookshop is actually featured in Why You Won’t Get Rich. Petersfield Bookshop in Hampshire is an independent bookshop run by the same family for last sixty years. In January 2020, the owner reported that for the first day in its history his business hadn’t sold a single book. It was a sad indictment of how we have neglected our high street bookshops in favour of online retailers. But the reaction from the bookshop’s customers was quite amazing as they responded by placing a record number of orders. It just goes to show how much affection the public have for their local bookshops. The government needs to recognise this too by introducing high street-friendly economic policies.
Author of Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes
The Suffolk Anthology is a successful independent bookshop in the Montpellier district of Cheltenham. It’s been going strong for seven years and is much valued in the community. It has all types of books (fiction, poetry, children’s, local, history etc etc) and a quick ordering service. There’s a coffee machine, and it also runs book groups – what more do you need?!
If the lovers of books and reading had a religion, their central temple should have been the flagship Foyles store on Charing Cross Road. Every inch of that road is, of course, filled with legend and lore of bookselling but no one place comes close to beating Foyles. It’s not just one hundred years of history appealing to nostalgic types but the fact that it has stood the test of time. You don’t need to know anything about its legendary history, of it buying George Bernard Shaw’s personal book collection or hosting luncheons for Enid Blyton, to enjoy your time in the massive store.
Where else in the world do you have an entire section dedicated to Marxism and Anarchism where you are likely to find anything you were looking for… and go home with a few more titles you didn’t know you wanted? Where else could you go to a Middle Eastern history section and be sure that you’d get the latest in the field and not a reprint of some old tome? Where else do you have almost an entire floor dedicated to books on movies? These are some of my personal favorite sections at Foyles but no matter what is one’s favorite, one can find it under this roof. Welcome back, Foyles, the site of our dreams!