Back To Bookshops
By Ellen Tyldesley
We can't tell you how much we have missed browsing a bookshop over the last twelve months. Nothing compares to the smell, the feel and the atmosphere of visiting a bookshop in person. Although we want to encourage safe shopping whilst there are still so many people yet to receive a vaccine, we thought that now bookshops are officially open again in England, we would round up some of our favourites for you to show some support to.
Obviously, we must all continue to adhere to the government guidelines at all times and only shop if it is safe to do so. If in doubt, many of these wonderful bookshops still have online stores so you can browse from the safety of your home. Whichever way you feel most comfortable, we wish you happy shopping!
We recently interviewed Chrissy (the owner of BookBar) for an article here in the Publishing Post but wanted to shout some more about a wonderful new bookish venture! Chrissy had her work cut out for her opening her bookshop / wine bar / matchmaking space during the pandemic last year, but she has already made waves in the industry through some wonderful marketing and a brilliant social media presence. We can't wait to drop by and try a book matched perfectly to our needs/tastes and sip a wine alongside it. Moving forward, we hope this becomes a supportive and welcoming social spot for a multitude of booklovers.
Greenhouse Books, Manchester
Greenhouse Books is one of the UK’s only ‘vegan bookshop’, serving up tasty vegan snacks and drinks alongside shelf upon shelf of books. This is a truly welcoming family-run business that throws its doors open to anyone passing by. They offer a curated list of secondhand books for your perusal with everything from graphic novels to non-fiction, to poetry, with new titles added regularly. We recommend coming back often to check their new stock! In case you needed another reason to pay Greenhouse Books a visit, then you can also sip an artisanal coffee or try the yummy vegan cakes whilst you’re there – books and cake are truly a match made in heaven.
The Bookish Type, Leeds
This independent LGBTQIA+ bookshop started life as a popup in and around Leeds, selling books from a stall at various literary events. Since then, owners Nicola and Ray opened their online store and most recently, their fully fledged physical bookshop in September 2020. This little shop champions “queer authors and books with queer themes and characters” and is well worth a visit now that we’re allowed into bookshops again. Everyone at The Bookish Type is passionate about representation and accessibility, as a result they have a 'pay it forward' scheme where you can purchase a book in advance for someone who may not be able to afford it. If you are yourself unable to afford a book right now but are still wanting to support queer literature/authors, then just drop them an email to receive your chosen book free of charge.
Sevenoaks Bookshop, Sevenoaks
Opened in 1948, this bookshop has been a firm favorite of locals and travellers alike for many years now. They offer a wide range of books to suit any need or age group, and their team of experienced and enthusiastic booksellers are always on hand to help you find that next perfect book. This shop stocks everything from the newest Booker Prize winner to an obscure title that will grasp your attention. They often have “special extras” from publishers to coincide with new releases such as themed tote bags and signed editions.
Five Leaves, Nottingham
Five Leaves, a radical bookshop based in Nottingham, took the title of independent bookshop of the year in 2018. This shop stocks plenty of non-fiction books to widen your horizons and engage your brain, alongside beautiful works of fiction and poetry, mostly from independent publishers. However, this is so much more than a bookshop – Five Leaves started life as an independent publisher and has currently published around 200 titles, they stock a wide range of stationery and gifts, and frequently (guidelines permitting) hold events in their fully accessible store. Hopefully one day soon we can drop by for an author event, but in the meantime, there are plenty of radical books to read that will keep us busy.
There is nothing like the safe familiarity of visiting a Waterstones store, perfect for popping by during a break at work, especially if we’re going to start venturing back to the office! A wide range of titles, across many genres and booksellers that are as passionate as we are, what could be better?!