What Do You Like to See in a Bookshop?

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The rain’s falling. You have no umbrella, so take refuge in a shop you stumble across. You walk inside, shaking off the rain to find yourself faced with a plethora of books. You think what a stroke of luck. There’s no such thing as too many books; I could always do with a new one. You peruse the beautiful shelves for a time; you don’t know how long its been – the concept of time always seems to disappear while in a bookshop, but you can still hear the comforting sound of the rain outside. You take the books you wish to purchase to the counter and then decide to have a seat in the plush comfy chair calling to you. You think, there’s no better time to start a book. So with the soothing sound of water cascading down from the sky, you open your book and immerse yourself in a new world, with only the faint memory of that lulling sound of the world you were just in.

Okay. So you’re probably wondering what on earth is that all about? To be honest, it just came to me… This post is all about what do you like to see in bookshops? and that passage sort of just flew out of me… I suppose I was trying to set the scene, haha. I find rain really comforting and love listening to the sound of it, so I suppose that definitely came across. I love to read and I love the rain…so I combined the two. I wish that I visited bookshops more often and I especially wish that there were independent bookshops near me. The scene above really appeals to me; I love the idea of being in a cosy bookshop, sat in a comfy chair – probably drinking hot chocolate – with the rain falling outside, and the world around falling away while you get lost in the pages which reveal a whole new world. There’s something quite alluring about it.

What is it then that makes a great bookshop? The ambience of rain is always great in my opinion, but of course this is nothing to do with the actual bookshop. Is it the cosy feel of an independent store? The collection of books? The staff? Whether or not they sell items other than books? Whether or not they have tea/coffee facilities? What is it that makes a bookshop great? As already mentioned, I like there to be a cosy feeling to a bookshop; I want to feel like it’s a place I would feel comfortable hanging out in; I want staff that are approachable; I want there to be near by parking; places to sit are always a bonus and I of course want a great YA section. It’s also good to have an online buying option if someone is unable to get into the store – with all the online competition, I feel that this is important.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because of a business project I am looking into and thought I would ask you wonderful people for your opinions. So over to you….

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Tell me, Dear Readers: what do you like to see in a bookshop? Do you shop in physical stores or mainly online? Maybe a mixture? Do you support your local independent bookshops? Does anyone else love the rain as much as I do?

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7 thoughts on “What Do You Like to See in a Bookshop?

  1. Ooh, I like this. I wish I had time to laze around on a rainy day in a squashy armchair in a cozy bookshop. (In other words, I want my bookshop to be the Hufflepuff common room?)

    Aside from a good YA section, a lack of dust, a friendly cat, a warm enough temperature, and comfortable places to read, I think the staff is the biggest component. If I don’t like store owners or workers, I will probably walk out. All of our local bookstores have closed except a 2-location used bookstore, and the woman who owns it is just awful. I have no desire to support her business.

    Back when I was a kid, there was a fantastic local bookstore right downtown. I remember going in there with two friends shortly before one of the Harry Potter books came out, and we ended up talking to the bookseller (an older woman) for maybe an hour about our theories. It was fantastic! THAT right there is what I want in a bookstore. I want the same shared passion and sense of community that we find in the book blogging world.

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    1. Haha, Hufflepuff common room for the win.

      I agree that staff are definitely important. Passion and a sense of a bookish community is awesome! The issue is though that it is difficult for some stores to stay open because of rising rent etc. – at least in the UK – which I find incredibly sad. Do you shop in stores or online? I shop via a mixture of both.

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      1. Yeah, that’s a huge problem here, too. It might be the biggest problem after Amazon. (I feel so guilty for using Amazon, but…) I may not be the best person to ask about this, because I don’t buy books. I have zero budget for them, so they all come from the library right now. My parents got me Fangirl for my birthday (it was the first time they got me a book in YEARS, yayyyyyyy), and I ordered it off Amazon. I’ll also be getting all of my secret sister books from there, because they’re cheaper & I use my aunt’s Prime account for free shipping. I still like to browse bookstores, though, because they’re so comforting.

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  2. There was a bookstore that I applied to work in about six months ago, and it is one of my favourites that I have ever been to. Sadly, where I live, bookstores that aren’t in malls have all pretty much closed down, so there is nowhere that has a real ambience. But this place did.

    There were old shelves everywhere, and music, and things to buy other than books, and a whole section dedicated to YA (not just a shelf, but a little secluded railed area). It was so lovely to be in there. OH, and it had a little coffee shop, too! Which I thought was darling.

    It was an extremely hot day when I went there, but I would have loved to see what it was like when it was col and raining. Probably even more gorgeous!

    Your business project sounds interesting, and I wish you all the luck!

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    1. It’s so sad that bookshops are closing down! I feel like the big chains don’t always have a ‘personal’ feel to them. A bookshop needs to be cosy! (imo)

      I recently read about people in Australia (Adelaide I think) who have been having pop up bookshops and travelling around, which I think is a good idea – I actually thought of this a while back, so good to know that others think it’s a good idea, lol.

      Thanks, Chiara! 🙂

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