The Bookshop Book – Jen Campbell

The Bookshop Book – Jen Campbell

Title: The Bookshop Book
Author: Jen Campbell
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Constable
Publication Date: 2nd October 2014
Pages: 261
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Every bookshop has a story.

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 railway stations.

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

This book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.

This book is absolutely divine for anyone who adores walking into bookshops and discovering the people who bring them to life. Working in a bookshop myself, I thought that this would be an entertaining read about other book obsessives like me! But it is so much more than that – the stories and anecdotes form bookshop owners and authors emphasise the important place bookshops hold in a community, and in book lovers’ hearts.

Divided into continents, Campbell looks at bookshops throughout the world, telling their stories and her own experiences with them, as well as asking well-known authors to weigh in with their bookshop stories. I have decided that I really must do a bookshop tour through Europe, the most extensive chapter in the book and particularly visit Wigtown, the National Book Town of Scotland. Campbell has opened my eyes to a whole new world of travel! I’ll just need a heavy duty suitcase and plenty of bubble wrap when I go – don’t want the books getting injured on the journey home!

My only major complaint with this book is that it neglected Australian bookshops. Only two were explored in detail! I was proud to see a mention of the Berkelouw Book Barn, which is just near me, but was sad that I didn’t discover any new places in my own backyard.

There are some beautiful photos of some of these famous bookshops in the centre of the book. They are a little haphazard though – it might have been better to order the photos in their continents to correlate with the chapters.

I would recommend this book to all book lovers, particularly those who appreciate the appeal of an independent bookshop. Reading this has truly made me want to open my own store, so be on the lookout, or come into business with me! As this book shows, bookshops still have a place in today’s technology-driven society. Having a point of difference is the most important thing and all the stores featured have achieved this! I can’t wait to go and visit some of these amazing stores.

This would make a great Christmas present (although I know it is getting late) for the reader who has read everything!

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