The Stripey Badger, Grassington
This month’s featured bookshop is a lovely little bookshop in North Yorkshire, near Skipton. It also has a cafe attached which looks so comfortable and tasty. So if you’re ever near Harrogate or Skipton this would always be worth a visit.
7 The Square,
Tel: 01756 753583
How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
Wind in the Willows is one of our best loved books from childhood, with a fondness for Mr Badger. Originally, the name did not go down too well with other partners, so a suggested ‘working title’ was agreed. And, of course, the name stuck. But honestly we could see the fun we could have with the logo, especially with a great artist friend who got caught up with the idea. We now have Stripey Badger mugs, notelets, cards and tote bags!
Who are you? Owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please
The bookshop is owned by mother and son Linda and James and the next door cafe by sister Jackie. Mum Linda has always wanted to work in a bookshop, and when the family moved back home to the Yorkshire Dales from Keswick, we searched for a bookshop to work in. But there weren’t any. The only option was to open one and with James home from university, the dream became a reality. With Jackie’s background in catering, the obvious bookshop/cafe combination took off. one year ago in August 2018.
Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
We stock a variety of genres but delight in specialising in Science (James’ subject) and customers are getting to know about this and with our range; natural history and travel writing and childrens. All new.
What makes your bookshop special?
I would say that we do not stock thousands of books but that each one has been thought about and personally curated. A review we received this month sums us up “The bookshop is not overly stocked with titles but what it might lack in quantity it makes up with quality. It is exceptionally well-stocked.
What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?
The hardest thing about being a bookseller is keeping up with publishers and their imprints. Finding out who publishes which books, POS, offers, discounts etc is a full-time job in itself.
What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?
The best thing is books! Choosing stock and displaying and selling. Seeing someone else loving your choice. Discovering new authors and new books that you would not have thought of and letting your customers know about them.
What’s the most surprising thing about being a bookseller?
The most surprising thing is that we are now part of an amazing community ! Friendly, supportive, funny, fellow booksellers, associations, wholesale, publishers.
What are the goals for your bookshop?
Our goals are to run a Science Club, Book Club in 2020; have more author events, increase our stock a little, improve our window dressing skills!
Do you think owning a bookshop has changed your life? How?
Our lives have totally changed. We are now part of the village community, each on an event committee; we talk books constantly; read exciting books we would never have dreamt of.
What book do you wish would sell better?
We are surprised that popular fiction books are not bought as regularly as others and it has made us review the books that we buy.
What well-known book do you think is overrated?
Not as much overrated as bought elsewhere with discounts, we find the David Walliams books are talked about by younger customers – but there are amazing children’s books out now.
What little-known book do you think is underrated?
The Snow Child by Ewyn Ivey is the most wonderful book and one that I recommend all the time.
What is your preferred reading genre?
We used to read historical fiction/science but now we don’t have a preferred genre and take delight in reading out of genre and discussing with each other. I didn’t really rate crime fiction as my genre but have read some superb ones now. James was all science but now enjoying fiction such as Washington Black and Whiskey When We’re Dry.
Describe your store in three words.
Welcoming. An Adventure. Ever-changing.
What book is your greatest treasure? Why?
Linda a very old Pears Encyclopedia. James a Planetarium book.
What was your favourite childhood book? Why?
Linda: The Lion the witch & the wardrobe. James:Paddington
If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?
Michael Palin – for his Monty Python history; his intelligence and warmth and his writing.
Where do you think the biggest change in book publishing will come from?
Audio books will rise in popularity. We would like to see a reduction in hardbacks which don’t sell hardly at all in our shop, unless there is a promotion behind them.
How do you reach potential readers/customers?
We haven’t got a website yet but do use social media and send an e-newsletter.
How do you choose the books you stock?
We read reviews from the press/ Gardners’ catalogues/emails from publishers and reps. Then we discuss between ourselves.
Do you have a favourite publisher? Why?
We love them all! But always look at Nosy Crow and Bodlean.
What are you reading at the moment?
James: Consider Phlebas by Ian Banks. Linda: a proof copy of After The Flood.
What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned from selling books?
It’s so much more than selling books! That’s almost the easy part!
What music, if any, do you play in your shop? Why?
We don’t have a licence to play music. So, none.
What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?
What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?
A customer who came in for a gift but said she didn’t want a book.
What do you get up to in a normal bookselling day?
Our building is 400 years old so the first thing we do is dust! Then we re-curate. James re-sorts when he is in the shop and I do the same . Which is strangely not annoying! It keeps us on our toes, refreshes the shop and brings different books into the limelight. It’s an aspect of the shop our customers enjoy – they say the bookshop always looks different each time they come in – which it does!
What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?
“the village is a much nicer place to live in now that you are here”