Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Bookshop Book - Book Review

The Bookshop Book - Book Review
Jen Campbell

Every bookshop has a story.

We’re not talking about rooms that are just full of books. We’re talking about bookshops in barns, disused factories, converted churches and underground car parks. Bookshops on boats, on buses, and in old run-down train stations. Fold-out bookshops, undercover bookshops, this-is-the-best-place-I’ve-ever-been-to-bookshops.

Meet Sarah and her Book Barge sailing across the sea to France; meet Sebastien, in Mongolia, who sells books to herders of the Altai mountains; meet the bookshop in Canada that’s invented the world’s first antiquarian book vending machine.

And that’s just the beginning.

From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, The Bookshop Book examines the history of books, talks to authors about their favourite places, and looks at over three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents (sadly, we’ve yet to build a bookshop down in the South Pole). 

The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. 


I took real pleasure in reading this book. Made up of letters, short stories, author interviews and memoirs, this book describes the many hidden bookshops around the world. It was insightful, interesting and I loved each and every page of it. 

My favourite part of this book was hearing the stories from the bookshops owners, their reasons and inspirations behind opening their stores, and the ways they try to make their shops unique and inviting places. They are all amazing people and big advocates of promoting reading in people of all ages. 

Also not only was it great to read about bookshops that I myself love and visit regularly, but this book was a like a treasure map, each page leading to a new an exciting location. Some of these bookshops are local places that I plan to explore at the next opportunity, while others are more far more out the way (France, America… Mongolia, just to name a few) but they have all sparked both the bookworm and travel bug in me. 

Interestingly, this book also brought up the question of paperbacks vs e-books. Many authors and booksellers seem to be of the opinion that despite e-books impacting upon the sales of paperbacks, the independent bookshops will survive. I have to agree because as a book lover myself I adore my hardbacks and paperbacks, I can’t imagine a world in which they don't exist. Nothing can surpass the smell and feel of a real bound book!

Complete with photographs, random facts and insightful stories from best-selling authors, The Bookshop Book is a brilliant read and would make a quirky present for any book lover. Continually Jen Campbell has also written Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops - which I have yet to read, but have heard its  an hilarious and I intend to check out soon.

She is definitely an author to watch out for. Fantastic! 

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