A Love Letter to Bookshops
For this year’s World Bookshop Day, we wanted to celebrate all that you do for us and say thank you. Thank you for being so much more than simply a place to buy books. You encounter so many different people each day with an array of different needs: a lost soul in need of a new fictional friend; a busy woman after a long shift who forgot to buy a birthday present; a parent of three who knows a bookshop is the only place the youngest feels at ease (you have that effect on people); a quiet somebody who just wants to escape the cold. “Come in, come in,” you say. “We’ll keep you warm for a while.”
Dearest bookshops, you are a magical crossing point between worlds. Between our own world behind that closed door, and hundreds more that we might find hidden between pages. To all you lovely people who work in a bookshop, thank you for being able to point us in the right direction, for taking our hand and guiding us towards these new worlds. Your kindness is unshakeable and your patience unwavering. Your enthusiasm is why we will find our way back to you time and time again. We run to you no matter our own location. All over the world, we find you, whether you’re hidden away in an Italian backstreet or throwing open your doors to a busy New York City, we hear your call and find ourselves drawn in. The books may be in a different language, but your meaning is clear: “you are welcome here.”
It’s hard for us to summarise all that you’ve given us over the years. As an ode to the calm and clarity that you have offered time and time again, we have opened this love letter up to our readers.
Thank you for being a safe haven to run into on a rainy day
A lunch break pick-me-up when Mondays drag on just a bit too long
A place filled with friendly faces to chat to about the latest releases at the till
A place free from judgement and open to all.”
“When I was younger, I used to love walking around bookshops. Looking at all the different covers, colours and stories… this hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older, though I tend to not go for picture books anymore! I still love to browse and I particularly love going to older book shops… Bookshops have and will always be a favourite of mine to visit and experience.”
“When you walk into a bookshop, you open the door to a million lives.”
“Infinite possibilities. Worlds within words at my fingertips.”
“A bookshop is a place of solitude for me. If I ever went outside and needed somewhere to go, I could always content myself by surrounding myself [with] books and just admire them, knowing that everyone else in there was doing the same thing, and just enjoying themselves. There’s something lovely about knowing bookshops hold the key to a thousand stories yet to be read.”
“Stepping into a bookshop grants me immediate peace. As soon as the door closes behind me the rest of the world gets shut away. All that matters are the stories in front of me.”
“My local bookshop is as familiar to me as my own home, I know where to find each creaky floorboard and wonky shelf. It is a place I can always rely on being welcoming and comforting.”
“Dear Bookshops, thank you for believing in me and giving me a job when no one else would.”
“To my own local bookshop, thank you for always having a good book and a cup of tea to hand.”
“Dear Bookshops, thank you for your comforting glow during the winter and your airy high ceilings in the summer. Thank you for always having the answer hidden somewhere in the pages, being the place that I can ask questions I was too afraid to explore in the real world. Thank you for being a place that welcomes all, whether they are a customer or a character, and being somewhere that I truly felt myself.”
As we, and our readers, came together to write this letter, it is clear that what we love about bookshops is so much more than just the books (although we do LOVE the books). The emotional ties that have been described are unique to bookshops, perhaps because we feel that we learn and grow from what we purchase, in a way that is not the same in any other kind of store. And this is why bookshops will always occupy a valuable place in our hearts, and on the highstreets.
Thanks again bookshops, booksellers and book lovers!
The Publishing Post