After a rather lenghy gap, and just in time to celebrate Independent Bookshop week, it’s the latest in my sporadic Friday feature, where I want to highlight some of the many independent book shops that are out there waiting to be discovered. Whilst there are the usual online book retailers and big name high street shops there are also some wonderful independent bookshops with a treasure trove of literary delights to uncover. There is nothing quite like browsing in a book shop, seeing the books, being able to actually look at them before deciding and of course the booksellers and owners are often a mine of information, a much underused resource.
The sad thing is that unless they are used they will vanish from our towns and villages. The childhood (and to be fair, grown up) delight of visiting a book shop and being able to sit amongst so many books, deciding which new unearthed treasure to take home will be sadly lost.
The ninth bookshop to be virtually visited is Read. Holmfirth in, you’ve guessed it, Holmfirth.
1. Tell us about Read.Holmfirth.
Read. Holmfirth is a product of many years of dreaming of owning a bookshop! As a family, we love books and have spent a lot of time with our children in the library and bookshops. Our shop combines the best of all of the book experiences that we have had and can ever imagine having; it is warm, cosy, modern and bright with lots of beautiful face-on books whilst still having a very broad range of books for adults and children.
2. We open the front door to your shop. What can we see as we cross the threshold?
Yellow! Our shop is bright and colourful as soon as you walk through the door. Our adult section is curated and rotated regularly so that customers see something that they’ve never seen before. We’ve had lots of customers tell us how many new book discoveries they have made since visiting our shop. As well as general fiction, our nature section has been particularly popular and we are finding that Holmfirth also love to cook. Some of our best-selling books are recipe books.
Our children’s section has a central feature; our big yellow chair! Children and their parents love cuddling up and reading in the chair or on the rug with lots of cushions. Some of our regular younger customers head straight to their favourite shelves and snuggle up within minutes of coming in. This make our hearts sing – it means we’re getting it right for them and helping to instill a lifelong love of books, reading and of course, bookshops!
We pride ourselves on hunting out new and interesting books for both children and adults.
3. What’s the most unusual request you’ve had in store? – if you can tell us.
Nothing to report, yet…!
4. Do you have anything that’s unique to your shop? What makes you stand out? (eg subscription services, book doctor type recommendations, local author features)
Yes, we make it our priority to work in the community and with schools as much as possible. We are both teachers and certainly haven’t lost the desire to encourage children to read! For instance, we have several schools who have signed up for a monthly visit to the bookshop to choose books for each of their classes or the library. In addition to this, we are running a Carnegie Medal shadowing group which currently has 14 schools signed up in the local area already.
We also do personal book recommendations each day on our social media platforms. So many customers have told us that they’ve seen books that they wouldn’t have known about before through this.
We also have a range of activities centred on books within the community and promoting local businesses which we organise. For instance, our Nibble. Group meet once a month at a local café to talk about their favourite books. We are also in the process of launching young writers’ groups (Scribble.) and do a weekly song-time (Sing.). As the summer draws near, we will also be taking a walking book group out for a Ramble. around the local area.
We appreciate that in the current economic climate, we need to be more central to the community than just being a shop. We’ve absolutely loved having this level of involvement with our customers and getting to know them well.
5. Do you have any tips on which books will be big this year?
We’ve had a lot of interest in books such as Invisible Women and Unquiet Women.
We think that The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale is going to be very popular with our customers.
6. If you could only recommend one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
For Louise, it would be The Salt Path. This has left a lasting impression on me – a sad, powerful and true story.
For James, it would be Macbeth by William Shakespeare, England’s greatest playwright’s most electric, most incredible work!!
7. Let us know how we can find you. (Include if orders can be made online, email, website etc)
We are located at 41 Huddersfield Road, in the centre of lovely Holmfirth, West Yorkshire. If you haven’t been it is well worth a visit, particularly when the sun is shining! Our website is http://www.to-be-Read.co.uk
Our Twitter is @read_holmfirth
Our Facebook and Instagram are @read.holmfirth
If customers are not local, we can send books out using a Send My Book service which means that the books will be delivered within a few days to their front door for only minimal postage costs. If anyone is interested in this they can contact us on our shop number on 01484 688692 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
I have visited this shop a couple of times and have to say it is lovely, small but perfectly formed. I did actually buy The Salt Path from here on one visit, without realising it’s the book Louise would recommend to anyone who asked.
(I don’t receive any payment or have any vested interest in any sales that may result from this post. The sole intent of the feature is to highlight the many fabulous bookshops out there. Happy shopping!)