Our next shop is the wonderful Book Corner in Saltburn where I got some translated works which were hard reading but well worth it, ran and owned by Jenna who is so nice and friendly. It also has the advantage of being in a wonderful little town on the coast.
24 Milton Street
Tel: 01287 348010
Open 10am – 5pm, 5 days a week (closed Wednesdays and Sundays).
How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
My shop is called ‘Book Corner’. I wanted something which described exactly what I sell. My original shop unit was in the corner of the town square, so it seemed right. I’ve since moved so I’m no longer in a corner, but I’ve kept the name.
Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
I used to work in a commercial art gallery, which I loved, but I was made redundant when it sadly closed. It felt like the right time to do something on my own, and my time at the gallery had made me realise I enjoyed working in retail. Books were something I was passionate about, so it seemed like an obvious choice when I thought about it!
Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
I sell a variety of genres, but I’m particularly drawn to ‘up-lit’, fantasy, literary fiction, nature writing and beautiful picture books.
Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?
What makes your bookshop special?
I choose every book myself. I suppose that’s something that makes all independent bookshops special: that their stock is carefully curated, and every bookshop has a different range. My shop also has a sea view!
What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?
It can be hard working on your own when the shop is quiet.
What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?
The variety of the job, and being able to see what wonderful books are coming out in the future.
What little-known book do you think is underrated?
I don’t know how little-known it is, but I think ‘The Understudy’ by David Nicholls deserves more love. Everyone I know who’s read it seems to love it; I just feel that it deserves to be more widely read. It’s one of my favourite books of all time.
What is your preferred reading genre?
I have two. I love ‘up-lit’ (eg Matt Haig,
‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, ‘The Rosie Project’), and also accessible sci-fi and fantasy (The Wayfarers books by Becky Chambers are a particular favourite).
What book is your greatest treasure? Why?
I have a beautiful illustrated edition of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ by Gaston Leroux (another favourite book).
If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?
Where do you think the biggest change in book publishing will come from?
I think more books will be crowdfunded, using models similar to Unbound. I’d also like to see some major publishers opening offices in the North (and by that I mean the ‘proper’ North, Leeds upwards!). I think this would bring real change, and I just hope it happens.
Name three books on your TBR.
The Rosie Result by Graeme Simsion, Winter by Ali Smith, and Echo Murder by Laura Laakso.
What are you reading at the moment?
Wise Children by Angela Carter, for my book group.
What music, if any, do you play in your shop? Why?
Mainly classical. I listen to Classic FM, because I feel that it’s good ‘browsing music’. But sometimes I rebel and put Smooth on.
What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?
What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?
A customer once gave me a box of chocolates as a thank you for ‘being kind to his mum’ and tracking some secondhand books down for her.