Pontypridd Books at ARTtic

We visit Pontypridd quite regularly when we stay in Monmouth, it’s a lovely little place in a lovely area of Wales so we’re really looking forward to when we can come back again and visit what looks like a lovely new bookshop.

But this is more than just a bookshop, this is a bookshop at the heart of their community. They have an activity space and work with artists, musicians, crafts and makers of all types to provide workshops and classes.

Pontypridd Books at ARTtic
4 Fothergill Street
Pontypridd
CF37 1SG
Telephone: 01443 524280

Website: https://www.arttic.info
Online store: https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/ARTticBooks
Facebook:@treforestarttic
Twitter:@ar_ttic
Instagram:@booksarttic

In their own words

Who are you? Who owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please

We’re Jeff Baxter and Cerith Mathias, the team behind Pontyrpidd Books at ARTtic. We’re both hugely passionate about books, and the world of books and love nothing more than long bookish chats in the shop or on social media. Cerith’s background is in journalism and Jeff’s is in the charity sector so a key aim of the shop is to make the joy of reading accessible to all.

Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?

We’d been working together on book-related projects for a number of years before deciding to set up the bookshop. We’re both founding members of the Cardiff Book Festival and Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival teams which the bookshop has a close relationship with. So now we get to hold a book festival every day of the year!

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?

We stock a wide variety of genres, from bestselling fiction and non-fiction to new titles and classics to children’s books and YA. We’re proud to support Welsh publishers and their wonderful authors, writing in both English and in Welsh. Cerith also specialises in American Literature from the Deep South, so our shop has become a go to for fans of authors such as Harper Lee, Alice Walker and more.

What makes your bookshop special?

The shop is very much rooted in the community and is located in ARTtic, a hub for arts, crafts and music in the South Wales Valleys. We’re the only independent book shop in the area and our partnerships with Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival and Cardiff Book Festival ensure that there’s always plenty going on – from author events to panel discussions and competitions to engage all ages. We also curate Booklovers Bundles, our book subscription service where we put together a themed choice of books and bookish gifts. Perfect for every bibliophile!

What is the best book-related gift you’ve ever received?

Cerith: Not a gift as such, but one of my favourite book-related possessions is a peacock feather I got from a trip to Flannery O’Connor’s farmhouse in Millidgeville, Georgia in the US. O’Connor is famous for her love of peacocks, and the feather is from a descendant of one of her original birds from the 1950s.

Jeff: I don’t really go in for book related stuff, apart from errr, books. My best book gift was ‘The Carpet People’ by Terry Pratchett. I’ve been obsessed with books ever since.

What are you reading at the moment?

Cerith: I’m terrible for having my nose in more than one book at a time. At the moment I’m reading a collection of Maeve Brennan’s New Yorker sketches and re-reading Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man’.

Jeff: It feels like I’m part way though a thousand books but I”m mostly managing to focus on George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire and Blood’ and Brandon Sanderson’s ‘Alloy of Law.’

Name three books on your TBR.

Cerith: I’m very much looking forward to two new releases early in 2021 – ‘Under a Dark Angel’s Eye,’ a new collection of Patricia Highsmith stories to mark her centenary and Joan Didion’s ‘Let Me Tell You What I Mean’. At the top of my TBR pile at the moment is ‘The Saddest Words: William Faulkner’s Civil War’ by Michael Gorra.

Jeff: My TBR is so substantial it’s now a load bearing TBR, which I’m bit scared to disturb. I suspect sentience. Deep in its bowels there is ‘Exciting Times’ by Naoise Dolan, ‘Hamnet’ by Maggie O’Farrell and ‘The Dark Tower III’ by Stephen King.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Books and Ink Bookshop, Winchcombe

One of the wonderful things about doing this feature is participating in a virtual tour of bookshops all over the world.

Today’s bookshop is in Winchcombe on the edge of the Cotswolds, one of my favourite places in England, so a beautiful bookshop in beautiful countryside.

Books & Ink Bookshop
6 North Street
Winchcombe
Nr Cheltenham
Gloucestershire
GL54 5LH
Telephone: 01242 603625

Website: https://www.booksandinkbookshop.com/
Twitter: @BooksInkBook
Facebook: @BooksandInk
Instagram: @booksandink

In their own words

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?

When we opened the bookshop in 2005 we stocked books and stationery and the idea was to stock all sorts of book-related things – things you needed to write books as well as books to read, so we had calligraphy nibs and ink, fine journals, even sealing wax and seals for old-fashioned letter-writing. So Books & Ink is how the shop began…. it’s since evolved to be books, with a few book-related gifts; it was too difficult to keep stocking the fine stationery as suppliers wanted big orders. Our stock changed but the name stuck!

Who are you? Owns the bookshop? Bit of a bio and pics, please

I’m Sam, now sole owner, though begun as a joint venture with my good friend, Sheryl. A lot has changed over the years so now I run the shop on my own, while Sheryl has gone on to running her own antiques business with her partner. She still buys her books from me though!

Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?

I taught myself to read with Beatrix Potter books when I was about 3. I was a poorly child at that age but, according to my mum, could quite happily amuse myself on sleepless nights, as long as I had a book in my hand. I didn’t have many books of my own growing up and always treasured the ones I had. One birthday all I wanted was a little cobbled together bookcase with little glass doors, so my precious books didn’t get dusty. I remember choosing it from Weedon Antiques Centre and I still have that bookcase. I think I was always destined to work with books.

General background/history of the shop please

Initially torn between opening a bookshop in Banbury or Leamington Spa, the bookshop was in Banbury from 2005 until September 2019 when I re-located to Winchcombe in the Cotswolds. I had a wonderful time in Banbury but Winchcombe has stolen my heart – it’s a beautiful small town with a wonderful community spirit and plenty of Cotswolds walks on the doorstep. I was given a really warm welcome to the town and although the shop has been closed since March 2020, due to the effects of covid, I can’t wait to re-open in 2021.

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?

Lots of genres. I’m particularly passionate about children’s books (vintage and modern), illustrators (particularly Edward Ardizzone), history, classic literature and books about books but have a wide-ranging stock.

Do you mainly sell new or second-hand books?

We’ve had varying relationships with second-hand, antiquarian and new books over the years. When we opened we just stocked second-hand, antiquarian and new remainders. That soon evolved into small selections of new books as well and when I moved the shop to Winchcombe I opened with about 50:50 new and old. However, when we re-open after the pandemic I will be concentrating again on the antiquarian and second-hand books, with a much smaller selection of new books in stock (but with plenty of new books available to order). As a solo bookseller this is much more manageable for me than having lots of new books as well, which involve a lot more human hours in paperwork, admin and stock management. Although I love keeping up with new releases, old books are my real passion – I love the research aspect of selling old and antiquarian books and I love re-uniting customers with favourite books from their childhoods or which have long been out of print.

What makes your bookshop special?

Everything about it is special. I may be a little biased… but my customers tell me so and over the years I have come to believe them… just a little bit. p.s. ALL bookshops are special 😉

What’s the hardest thing about being a bookseller?

Juggling work/life balance vs a bookseller’s income but doing a job I absolutely LOVE (and don’t really see as a job to be honest – it’s a vocation!!). Also, while I love being in a customer-facing job, I can get people-overload and it’s hard to get ‘quiet’ time on a busy day.

What’s the best thing about being a bookseller?

My customers. Hands down, seeing happy smiles on customers faces when they discover a book that they love; whether it’s something I’ve recommended, or something they’ve discovered browsing, happy customers is the very best thing about bookselling.

If you could invite any author for a book signing at your shop, who would you choose?

The Obamas; and I’d love to take them out for dinner in a friendly Costswold pub afterwards.

How do you choose the books you stock?

Generally I have to love them; and if I love them I think you’ll love them too!

Name three books on your TBR.

I counted a couple of days ago and I currently have 174 books on my TBR (plus a few on my Christmas wishlist). Three at random: 1. Wildspark by Vashti Hardy. Vashti’s Brightstorm trilogy are one of my favourite recent children’s fantasy series – full of excitement, adventure, friendship, courage… they are brilliant. Wildspark is a stand-alone and I can’t wait to read it. 2. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell; I just know I’m going to love it. 3. Long Live Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Tirzah Garwood. I’ve long been interested in the Great Bardfield artists, wood engravers, the Curwen Press and generally in illustration c 1920s-60s. I’ve been saving this book for an indulgent weekend.

What are you reading at the moment?

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

What is the weirdest thing a customer has ever asked for?

There have been a lot of weird moments but hands down it’s ‘can I have my funeral in your bookshop?’. This little anecdote can also be found in Jen Campbell’s delightful book, ‘Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops’.

What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?

There are too many to single out. I wouldn’t be a bookseller without my wonderful customers and there are so many wonderful moments – from long standing customers who have become friends, from passers-by just visiting, and when children pop in to say thank you for a great recommendation that’s particularly special. One moment that sticks in my mind is when I found exactly the right edition of a book for someone to give to their friend who was going through a tough time and an overwhelmed, happy, tearful customer brought tears to my eyes too. It was a special moment.

If you own a bookshop and would like to be involved have a look at this page http://www.indiebookshops.com/category/browse-a-bookshop/ and then email your answers and images to contact@indiebookshops.com


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

Literally A Bookshop, Wallasey

Literally...

Literally…

Literally A Bookshop can be found in Wallasey, almost at the tip of the Wirral peninsula looking out into the Irish Sea.

They can be found selling old and new books opposite the New Brighton train station.

 

Literally A Bookshop
12 Atherton St
New Brighton
Wallasey
CH45 2NY

Website: https://literallyproductions.co.uk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/literallybooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LiterallyBooks/

Literally...

Literally…

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
Our shop is called Literally A Bookshop.

When we told friends we were opening a bookshop the inevitable response was “Literally A Bookshop?” It seemed as good a name as any.

Who are you? Owns the bookshop?
Our bookshop is a storytelling bookshop. Our storyteller’s chair is made with driftwood from the beach at the end of the street. I am a storyteller known as Tugboat Cath (because I have a tugboat) and my other half is Peter Grant who, as a well respected journalist has spent most of his adult life sharing stories.

Where are you?
Our shop is in a small row of shops opposite New Brighton station. New Brighton is across the Mersey from Liverpool at the tip of the Wirral Peninsula, on the edge of Liverpool Bay.

We like to celebrate local myths and legends.

Literally...
What makes your bookshop special?
We are both good listeners which is at least fifty percent of what we do in the shop. Our customers love to tells us tales. Storytelling is catching.

Do you stock a variety of genres or do you specialise?
We specialise in unusual local books, vintage children’s books and anything that puts a smile on your face.

What is your favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood book is probably Ladybird’s The Elves and the Shoemaker.
(From the 1960’s)


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Book Lounge, Kirby Lonsdale

The Book Counter

The Book Counter

The Book Lounge in Kirby Lonsdale sells new and good quality recycled books, both fiction & non-fiction.

They also support quite a number of local authors and stock their books which is always nice to see and encouraging, you can find out more information about the authors they support on their website.

The Book Lounge
12 Main Street
Kirkby Lonsdale
Carnforth
Cumbria
LA6 2AE
Tel: 015242 72319

Website: https://thebooklounge.shop
Online store: https://the-book-lounge.square.site/
Facebook: @TheBookLoungeKirkby
Twitter: @The_Book_Lounge

How did you come up with the name of your bookshop?
My husband came up with the name, The Book Lounge, which sums up exactly what the shop is. Comfy seating in front of a fire with barista made fresh coffee and homemade cake, a perfect place to spend time browsing the shelves in an atmosphere like home.

Why a bookshop? What made you want to get into bookselling?
I was a high school librarian for 13 years achieving cilip chartership in October 2013 and then taking redundancy in July 2018. Opening a bookshop seemed like a good alternative to running a library where I can still be involved with schools organising author events.

Do you sell mainly new or second-hand books?
I started by selling second-hand books only as I didn’t feel I could compete with the other large booksellers, but over the last 18 months I have started to build up a stock of new books and have recently become a member of the Booksellers Association and now sell and redeem National Book Tokens. I also sell a wide range of book themed gifts and am always looking out for new bookish gifts.

The Book Lounge

The Book Lounge

What is your favourite childhood book?
My favourite childhood book was What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge, I read all three in the series and couldn’t put them down. These books were the first books that I had enjoyed reading and started my love of books.

What is the nicest thing a customer has ever said to you?
This is a difficult one, I am regularly told how lovely my shop is with the quirky book counter, stairs and clock but I love it when they say that I am living their dream.

If you’re a bookshop who would like to be involved in this series please read Browse A Bookshop and email your answers and images to contact@indiebookshops.com


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.