When we asked bookshop enthusiast Erica to write an article for us, we suggested that she talk about the importance of bookshops. But, instead of just describing the wonderful books to be bought and the ever increasing use of digital print, Erica managed to explain exactly what it is about a bookshop that unites book lovers alike.
Everyone has a place they like to visit, somewhere they feel safe and comfortable. Sometimes that’s the park, Gran’s house, or even just curled up in your bedroom. For me, my place is a bookshop.
That’s because bookshops (not just my local one) are portals to different worlds. When I’m sad, the bookshop finds me a world that’ll cheer me up; when I’m happy, a world to increase my joy; or for confusion, the bookshop offers comfort. There are worlds for every mood, worlds of magic and wonder, or worlds like mine to help me understand this one.
The first time I went to a bookshop on my own I had no idea where to find these worlds, but I had a £1 gift voucher and I was determined to spend it.
From that moment I found more than those many worlds. On the pages of the books, I found friends in those other worlds and in the booksellers and other shoppers, I found friends in my own world.
Which is where the real magic of bookshops lies.
I’ve never found it particularly easy to make friends, but bookshops are one of the places where I learnt it’s maybe not as hard as I’d thought. From the first conversations with booksellers helping me pick out my next favourite book, to the eventual nervous chats with other young customers as we compared books, the reassuring space of the bookshop was the safe place where I learned to be brave.
From special events (I’ve met lots of great authors in bookshops) to the everyday, over time my bookshop visits helped me to grow in confidence until eventually they started to take me all over the country. Nowadays wherever I go I look out for the nearest bookshop, safe in the knowledge that even if I’m on my own in a place I’ve not been to before, once I find the bookshop, there’ll be a friendly bookseller or book-buyer who I’ll have something in common with: a love of words and stories.
I’ve not yet met every bookshop in the country, but in the meantime here are a few I have visited that you might like:
- Book-ish in south Wales
- Children’s Bookshop in London
- The Little Apple Bookshop in Yorkshire
- Warwick Books in Warwickshire
These are just a selection of the many great bookshops to visit around the country, perhaps there’s a bookshop you’d like to recommend? If so I’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.