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Your Reading Experience > How would your ideal bookshop be?

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message 1: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I've noticed that there was a topic on best bookshops. I must admit to being like a moth to light when it comes to books. Wherever I see them, be it a charity shop, a supermarket, a carboot sale...I'll go there. But not all places that sell books are born equal so I was wondering what makes a bookshop special?
I remember when I was a child going to a bookshop in my neighbourhood (in Barcelona) and the owner would know your taste, what you read, and make recommendations. Sadly that bookshop isn't there any longer and we all know the business has changed enormously.
So, if you could create your "perfect" bookshop, what would it look like? Would it only sell books? Brand new, second hand, specialist topics, books by new authors, audiobooks, sell other things (films, music...), have other facilities attached (coffee or teashop, space for events or lectures), organise readings, have facility of exchanging books, reward loyalty, be quirky and full of character, be part of a big chain, have attached online store, Wi-Fi?
Let's dream!


message 2: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 65 comments My ideal bookshop would only sell books. It would host regular signings, readings and launches. It would also combine the latest releases with a large second hand section in a separate room out the back, full of teetering piles of yellowed pulp paperbacks.

They would confiscate people's e-readers on entry to the shop, and once a year have a 'Kindle pigeon shooting' contest where regular customers could take the opportunity to blast old e-readers out of the sky with paintball guns as staff threw them across the shop.

There would also be a bar.


message 3: by Kate, Moderator (new)

Kate | 1277 comments Mod
I actually think Waterstones don't do too bad a job but I think the layout does make a difference as I'll happily spend longer in some of their stores than others. I also like having the themed tables to rummage through.

I do have a great independent book shop in my town and they have a coffee area and sell gifts/sheet music/toys etc, they run a book quiz from time to time and have a book of the month too.

But my favourite book shops are the secondhand /collector type and the more little rooms and alcoves they have the better so I can spend ages just browsing!


message 4: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Andrew and Trojanhorse. I'm not so sure about shooting Kindles. Now that I have one and I've discovered I don't need to use my reading glasses with them I've become a convert. Although I love checking second hand books and finding rare ones.
I also love shops where you can spend time doing other things...
I've never been to one that has book quizzes but that sounds great fun!
That's not really a bookshop, but I guess a place like the one described in The Shadow in the Wind would make us all quite happy!


message 5: by Dave (new)

Dave Wood (pocket7976) | 985 comments my ideal bookshop would be one that gives them to me to keep for free :-)

I agree with Trojanhorse some of the Waterstones do a really good job. i could happily spend all day wandering in the London Oxford Street store for instance.

For me a good book shop needs a mix of new and second hand books to rummage through. Regular readings, book clubs to foster a sense of community and a really nice coffee shop that sells excellent cakes!!


message 6: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I like your bookshop, Dave! Yes, it's true that I could spend all day in some of the greatest bookshops...


message 7: by Robert (last edited Sep 24, 2013 11:31PM) (new)

Robert (bobhe) | 785 comments Featherstone



Waterstones Piccadilly takes some beating. 5 floors of books and BAR take your book in with a drink






Piccadilly


message 8: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I probably prefer smaller places although must admit that I can't resist going into Foyle's if I'm in London even if it's a mess and I always feel lost there.


message 9: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (superkev) | 37 comments Olga. Not sure where in the UK you currently reside, but I have to say that Hay-on-Wye is a book-lovers utopia. Spent a long weekend there B.K. ( before kids), and came home with a car full of books. You must know it. It's a village where 95% of the shops are bookshops, mostly cavernous, sprawling, ramshackled bastions of all things literary. Also home to the famous book festival of the same name. Literally a bookshop the size of a small town- my kind of bookshop.


message 10: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Kevin. I live in South Yorkshire (a place called Penistone, full of character but no real bookshops, although work in Sheffield) and I've heard of Hay-on-Wye and have been planning to go to the festival with a friend for some time but our schedules haven't worked out yet. I had just decided to book a weekend in the next few weeks to go and visit because I hear it's a must. Your recommendation comes at right time.
Thanks:
Olga


message 11: by Esther (last edited Sep 25, 2013 12:27AM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 353 comments I used to live near Oxford and one of my favourite bookshops is Blackwells The building is old and the wooden floorboards creak as you walk about. The smell of books is soporific, the staff are knowledgeable and they have floors and floors of books.
Another favourite is the Wivenhoe Bookshop which is owned by a family friend. The shop itself has lots of personality, the staff are friendly and in the back room she has a sofa. Bliss. I really believe that books should only be browsed, not read, before purchase but once I have made that purchase I have no patience to wait until I get home before I start reading.
And although I think a coffee house, or even better a pub, are an excellent facility next to a bookshop I don't want them in the bookshop.


message 12: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 65 comments I'm in SW London and we still have the odd independent bookshop! Richmond is a short bus ride away from my place and there's a decent Waterstone's, as well as loads of second hand bookshops which are pretty darned awesome too.


message 13: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 65 comments And, of course, Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court... one day I will stroll into those bookshop-lined streets and never return.


message 14: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Esther. I've visited Oxford a few times but can't recall if I've been to the Blackwells you've mentioned. I've visited quite a few of their branches, but unfortunately the one in Sheffield by the university has closed (not sure if they might have opened somewhere else). Your friend's bookshop looks great. Must have a look if I visit.
I did a locum in Ashford (Middlessex)some years back and I used to visit Richmond. I agree with you Andrew on the bookshops in Charing Cross in particular. I've found it difficult to drag myself out of there on more than one occasion!


message 15: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 65 comments I've been to more than my fair share of book launches in and around Charing Cross Road and am sometimes incapable of dragging myself anywhere by the time I leave...


message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Lawston (andrewlawston) | 65 comments Free wine is a killer ;)


Lynne - The Book Squirrel (squirrelsend) | 3606 comments Olga wrote: "Thanks Kevin. I live in South Yorkshire (a place called Penistone, full of character but no real bookshops, although work in Sheffield) and I've heard of Hay-on-Wye and have been planning to go to ..."

I had a great 5 night break there and walked round all the shops every day - a great place to visit and the little B&B I stayed in was wonderful too.


message 18: by Dave (new)

Dave Wood (pocket7976) | 985 comments Can't recommend Hay-on-Wye enough. its only an hours drive from me, so I get down there ate least twice a year :)


message 19: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I'll keep the wine issue in mind, Andrew.
Lynne, I'll send you a message. I'm trying to book a weekend there in the next few weeks and could do with some suggestions as to where to stay (I've sent an enquiry to a place but have yet to hear if they have any accommodation free).
Thanks Dave. Yes, I'm determined to go. The problem might be leaving there to go back to work!


message 20: by Kevin (new)

Kevin (superkev) | 37 comments Olga. I can recommend a small B&B where we stayed just outside Hay-on-Wye, it was called Winforton Court. A half-timbered old place full of character, with a lovely owner. They had a website, assuming they're still operating.


message 21: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Kevin. I'll check them out! I must say most of the places I've looked at I liked, but personal recommendation is always better.


message 22: by Esther (last edited Sep 26, 2013 01:37AM) (new)

Esther (eshchory) | 353 comments Kevin wrote: "Olga. I can recommend a small B&B where we stayed just outside Hay-on-Wye, it was called Winforton Court. A half-timbered old place full of character, with a lovely owner. They had a website, assum..."

I have always wanted to visit Hay-on-Wye. That B&B sounds delightful. I have bookmarked their website.

Olga wrote: "Thanks Esther. I've visited Oxford a few times but can't recall if I've been to the Blackwells you've mentioned. I've visited quite a few of their branches, but unfortunately the one in Sheffield b..."
When I lived in Oxford Blackwells wasn't a chain it was still a single bookshop. It is opposite the Sheldonian Theatre on Broad Street (which we renamed bookshop street because there used to be so many)


message 23: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I was at a retreat in Oxfordshire last week but although we could see Oxford in the distance I didn't have a chance to visit. I think I should go back again soon.
Thanks Esther.


message 24: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2671 comments I've always wanted to own a book store. Had serious discussions (semi-serious?) with the missus about buying our local used book store a couple of years back. Ended up chickening out, didn't want to screw up the old pension.. :0).. I kind of wanted to focus on mystery books, maybe scifi as well. A couple of my favourite book stores are mystery book stores; there is one in Victoria, The Chronicles of Crime, chalk a block full of used mysteries, spy, thrillers. It's a nice cozy little store. I thought I could do the same with the store here, it's small, great book shelves, just a matter of setting it up 'my way'. One of the neatest book stores I've visted was Topping and Company in Ely, http://www.toppingbooks.co.uk/gallery/. Three stories of books, many signed editions. The nicest thing for the missus and I was that she could sit at a little table on the 1st floor, read books, enjoy the view of Ely Cathedral and drink free tea while I wandered around in search of new books.. :0)


message 25: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Bill. They both sound great. A friend of mine just shared with me this article about Amazon and independent bookstores, and how is very far from killing the independent bookstores. Very interesting. Yes, it's my dream too to set up a bookstore. It's one of the places I've noticed people (who love books) can get very passionate about.
http://www.the-digital-reader.com/201...


message 26: by Dave (new)

Dave Wood (pocket7976) | 985 comments I stayed at Kilverts last time i went to hay for the weekend Olga - smack bang in the middle of the town and very lovely.


message 27: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks so much Dave. It's good to have options as I think weekends can be tricky to book...


message 28: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I've published a post about ideal bookshops. I thought you might find it interesting:
http://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/10/0...
Thanks!


message 29: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2671 comments I enjoyed your Blog very much Olga. I have many of the same sentiments about book stores and reading books you do. I posted a few times about some of my favourite book stores in my Blog as well, as I was just starting out.... My first post was about my local stores... http://bill-booksbooksbooks.blogspot..... Like you, I love wandering around an unfamiliar book store for the first time. Places I always try to check out in a new town.


message 30: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Bill. Yes, I always feel safe in a bookshop. I'll check your blog for sure. There's a lot of love for bookshops.


message 31: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I visited Hay-on-Wye. Thanks for the thumbs up! It's a great place. Seriously considering I should move there. I've written a post about it for my blog. I'll be posting it on Tuesday. I'll leave a link here (if I remember!)


message 32: by Haikufall (new)

Haikufall | 9 comments I think my ideal book shop would sell a little of everything from new to used. There also have to be a nice place were I could read in the shop and either order a tea or coffee, and site with my book club. There is this great little bookstore in my home town were the shop is built in to an old house. The shop is very homey do to its location and charming with different rooms in the shop for different genres.


message 34: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thank you Haikufall. Your ideal bookshop sounds great and I've checked Snowboundbooks and it does indeed sound fabulous...A place where people love to go, and with very good initiatives.


message 35: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Esposito I like atmosphere in a book store (oops its a UK group so I meant "shop"). I'd love to find a place that mixes books (new and used)with other Indie crafts such as art and pottery. Since I haven't found such in the States I created that feel in my office.


message 36: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Raymond. Yes, I would also like crafts...in the bookshop of my dreams...(maybe my reality some day).


message 37: by Ian, Moderator (new)

Ian (pepecan) | 5528 comments Mod
Raymond wrote: "I like atmosphere in a book store (oops its a UK group so I meant "shop"). I'd love to find a place that mixes books (new and used)with other Indie crafts such as art and pottery. Since I haven't f..."

Worry ye not Raymond as we are rapidly turning into a country that speaks American. Yesterday, I even heard a Brit TV station referring to adverts as messages....which was a first for me.....old Billy Shakespeare is turning in his grave.


message 38: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I don't know Ian. Good old Billy Shakespeare was the first to borrow whatever seemed appropriate and interesting, so I wonder what he would have been up to. And he was never shy of new things either as we well know. I remember the first time I went to the US and the puzzlement in the face of a supermarket employee when I asked them for a trolley, a shopping trolley. I eventually remembered it was a 'cart'. Considering I was studying American Literature, I should have known better.


message 39: by Raymond (new)

Raymond Esposito Lol Olga-I grew up in New England but learned when I moved that other Americans say shopping cart and not, as we called it, carriage.


message 40: by Haikufall (new)

Haikufall | 9 comments I had the same problem when I moved from the US to the UK for school. If I were at a restaurants and asked for a coca( which is also called , Pop and soda in the US)they would say what kind, I was really confused at fist. By asking for a coca I was simply asking for a regular coca a cola. After hearing the list of Pops they had I was able to chose the one I wanted. But for a moment the cultural differences hit me in a strange way.


message 41: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Yes, separated by a common language. Mind you, I'm Spanish and when I read post, articles or book but writers from Latin America sometimes I have to guess to some words or expressions, but it's always interesting!


message 42: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments By the way, here is my post about Hay-on-Wye:
http://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/10/2...


message 43: by Haikufall (new)

Haikufall | 9 comments Thanks for the link looking at it now.


message 44: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Thanks Haikufall. I really enjoyed the visit.


message 45: by Ruth (new)

Ruth I read mostly modern classic fiction so I like to see a good selection when I go into a bookshop. I love old penguin editions but I also like some of the newer versions.

What range of books do you like to see in a bookshop? Mostly fiction, or non-fiction, or a mixture?

If you could ask the bookshop owner to stock more of a particular type of book, what would it be?


message 46: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments Good questions! I'm mostly a fiction person although I've read interesting biographies (sometimes as presents, sometimes because I was interested) and I read around certain themes because of work or studies...
It feels comforting to know there is a big variety of books even when I know many of them I wouldn't read. I'm reading Andrew Laties's 'The Rebel Bookseller', a fabulous book, and he notes that is the low of 20 and 80, 20% of the books stocked in a bookshop will make 80% of the revenue. He also notes that people always say they want a big selection but tend to buy within a narrow window...
I guess we'd like booksellers to read our minds, and even to be able to guess what we would like...


message 47: by Ruth (new)

Ruth That sounds like an interesting book - it's gone on my 'to read' list!


message 48: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) | 99 comments I don't think you'll be disappointed Sarah. I mentioned it to one of the bookshop owners in Hay-on-Wye and she ordered it on the spot. He's a very engaging writer, and although the perspective is from the US, as we know we follow each other and the world is now a global market...


message 49: by Laura (new)

Laura | 26 comments My ideal bookshop would have a huge stock of books. It would also have the ability to print-on-demand, so you could order a book which otherwise would be out of stock anywhere. It might take some time, but you would get your book eventually.

I would allow my ideal bookshop to also sell pens and notebooks and paper. It would also have a specialist tea shop attached to it.


message 50: by Tania (new)

Tania | 992 comments Laura wrote: "My ideal bookshop would have a huge stock of books. It would also have the ability to print-on-demand, so you could order a book which otherwise would be out of stock anywhere. It might take some t..."

I love your shop, the only thing missing is a fire place to sit by in the winter


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