In honour of Independent Booksellers’ Week I wanted to write a little blog post which celebrated these lovely people and the literary havens that they lovingly create.
The importance of independent bookshops can not be underestimated. These three little beauties are all in lovely Northumberland….
1. Forum Books, Corbridge
According to their Twitter slogan:
There’s more to us than books you know, but not much more.
Well I disagree – but I suppose an impressive range of books, imaginative window displays, very friendly staff and a real passion for all things book and author related just isn’t very catchy for a slogan is it? As you may have read on a previous post https://thebooktrail.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/secrets-in-corbridge/ I have been to some very interesting events here. And long may it continue!
I like to go here regularly, buy a book or two and then pop over to the Tea and Tipple cafe for a brew and to enjoy my recent purchase. A perfect literary afternoon in my book (pun intended)
There is a lovely stand just as you enter the store dedicated to Myrmidon Publishers – A North East gem and champion of great books which are just that little bit different.
The website is under construction at the moment but will be at http://www.forumbooks.co.uk/
In the meantime you can find them on Twitter: @forumbooks
2. Cogito books, Hexham
Another great little shop, tucked away from the main square by a very Harry Potter like half-cobbled alley way with an arch at its entrance. Magical even before you get to the shop door.
And once inside there is no room for disappointment – it is full to the brim, bursting with books. Stocked up to the ceiling, two rooms joined by a mini passageway leading you to the cavern of books behind it.
I went here recently and spotted a lovely sign in the children’s section – at the right as you walk in:
Shout out for local authors!
There are regular book groups which meet here and a funny Where’s Wally? search which got children (and adults if I’m honest although this was purely for research purposes you understand) to find 10 Where’s Wally figures hiding in shops in Hexham in order to be entered for a prize draw . The winner of which will be announced at a party at the bookshop on July 27th.
3. Applebys Bookshop Morpeth
Applebys Bookshop has been owned by Tim Wallace for more than 30 years and has traded since 1886.
It almost closed in 2012 due to a drop in sales which was blamed on the roadworks in the town and parking restrictions but luckily, people power changed the owner’s mind and he added a coffee shop to make the shop even more attractive. Ooh and don’t get me started about the cakes!
They stock hundreds upon hundreds of books over two mind-blowing floors and have a children’s department with regular story times. In particular, there is a very good section from the US and Canada which is particularly important to me. I’ve always known that apples are good for your health but Appleby’s is vital to your reading health.
What these bookshops mean to me
There are so many good bookshops out there that need people like us to visit and to buy books from.
I’m not putting chain bookstores down. I’m rather sad the likes of Dillons is no longer with us as the death of any bookstore is a sad day. And don’t get me started on libraries.
But the ‘little guys’ are the ones that sometimes get overlooked or forgotten about and these guys need you to support them. In fact I call them ‘little guys’ but they are more like David in David and Goliath – and have inner and hidden strength that Goliath could never hope to have.
These 3 bookshops are in my home region. They are my friends and the places I go to see hundreds of friendly faces smiling back at me from the bookshelves. They are a place of comfort and of warmth and shelter on a cold wet day. When I step over the threshold, the door is always open, my friends always pleased to see me and I smile and greet them all as I walk in with a smile.
They will always be there for me – somewhere I can go and sit, maybe have a coffee and just take a moment to think. For these friends are good listeners who don’t judge. It works both ways as you should never judge a book by its cover.
And the best bit? My friends are always home. Sometimes though I invite some of them to join me in my own home and so ask their landlady to pack them up for their onward journey.
I’ll take very good care of them I tell her.
And I do. For once my friends have settled in and told me all the stories they are going to tell me, sparked my imagination and spent hours in my company, they are still there just incase I need them again. A true friend never leaves you and I tuck up all my friends in their new home, on MY bookshelves with THEIR new friends.
As I leave my room and turn off the light, I gently close the door behind me and I’m sure I can hear the faint excited chatter of my new book friends making new friends themselves.