My parents always tell me that when I was a small child, before I learned to read, I always wanted to know what any signs or anything with writing on it said. Later on, once I learned to read, I became an avid reader. My school was a pretty small neighbourhood school (it no longer exists) and it did not have a library, but the readers amongst us used to exchange books and read anything we could get our hands on, from ‘The Famous Five’ and the Adventure Series (I always preferred them to the Famous Five, but that’s me) to ‘Jaws’, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, Gustavo Adolfo Becquer o Mercé Rodoreda.
I’ve always been happier with books than with any other presents (or nearly) and I still am.
When it comes to books I’m like a moth to light, if I see books anywhere I’ll go and have a look, it doesn’t matter if it’s a supermarket, a charity shop, a car-boot sale. And of course, I love bookshops although they’re having a bit of a hard time and have changed beyond recognition. And yes, now we have big bookstore chains, somewhat anonymous but usually reasonably supplied and full of other things, the small specialised bookshop, the independent bookstore, second-hand bookshops that are true time-travelling machines.
Because of my job there have been periods of my life where I’ve travelled a fair bit and one of the things I remember more clearly of the places where I’ve stayed (or visited) is where the bookshops are (or where). I must admit to feeling really disappointed when I revisit a place where I’ve been before and a bookshop I liked has disappeared. It’s like losing an old friend. When it comes to bookshops, like most important things in life, they are not all created equal
Reflecting on all that, I wanted to ask you, readers, if you could have the bookshop of your dreams, what would it be like? Would it be enormous with everything on it? Or small but quirky with lots of character? Would it only sell books or sell related items (DVDs, e-readers, magazines and writing materials, audiobooks, other equipment…)? Would it sell other kinds of stuff (postcards, craft items, toys…)? Would it have a tea/coffee shop attached? Would it organise events (book readings and signings, host book clubs, run competitions, have other guests…)? Would it have only new books, second-hand books, have a section for exchanging books…? Books in several languages? Best-sellers and less well-known books, local interest books? Would it offer other services like Wi-Fi and e-store? Would it be located in a remote place, around the corner, in a shopping mall, in a hidden nook in a magical place?
Dream on! It’s free (for the time being!)
And thinking about this and after a fellow author and good friend sent me some pictures of one of her favourite bookshops, I decided to start a board on Pinterest dedicated to bookshops, and once I started checking I was amazed at the fabulous building and beautiful pictures people had pinned. Have a look, and if you’d like to pin your own pictures or others you find, let me know and I’ll invite you to pin with pleasure.
Thanks for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it remember to like, comment, and share!
- Travel the Bookshop Trail (travelbetweenthepages.com)
- Browsing the bookshop of the future (bbc.co.uk)
- Celebrating Bookshops: Books Are My Bag (broadconversation.com)
- Tiffany Jenkins: We must fight to save bookshops (scotsman.com)
- US author pledges $1m to bookshops (bbc.co.uk)
- What’s in My Book Bag… (thescribbleemporium.wordpress.com)
- Run, Bookseller, Run (arrowgatepublishing.com)
- Beautiful European Bookshops to Visit (francesob.wordpress.com)
- Hay-on-Wye v Amazon: Politicians join fight to stop closure of bookshops in historic town (independent.co.uk)
- Charlie Byrne’s: Bookshop of the Year (historyatgalway.wordpress.com)