If reading a book takes you into another world then it goes without saying that your local bookshop is a universe right on your doorstep.
We can’t get into those micro-universes at the moment but right now, up and down the country, small shops are working to give us a glimpse of what they used to be able to offer. They’re working on social media profiles, youtube channels, and they’re either making their websites more functional or, in many cases, they are setting themselves up for online shopping for the first time ever.
These new web sites might be a little less glamorous than larger sites. They might not have every item you could possibly want. They might not be exactly what you’re used to. All the same, they are little windows into lovely places that are doing what they can to keep themselves relevant in a very odd new world.
If you take the time to visit you might be lucky enough to find some unique features too. There may be quirky copy to read, video tours of ‘Aladdin’s caves’ of wonders, crazy cat pictures, or they might link you up with communities you didn’t know were so close to home. These new sites are well worth a look.
A special shout out
They recently updated their website to include a small selection of books. They’re not exactly a ‘book shop’ but their Crieff shop is probably the only thing that counts as a ‘proper book shop’ in my immediate area right now.
If you’re looking to order any of my books I’d really appreciate it if you headed their way.
You’ll find ‘Jack Reusen and the Fey Flame’ here.
The second Jack Reusen book ‘Jack Reusen and the Spark of Dreams’ is here.
You’ll also find ‘Marcus’ my dark fantasy book for older readers here.
While you’re looking through their small selection of books you can also have a look at their magic tricks section, their games and logic puzzles, or even grab a few wee things from their pocket money section. They’re a lovely shop and well worth a (digital) visit. You can also find them on Facebook and on Twitter.
A few other shout outs
Some other books shops that I’ve really enjoyed visiting in the past/ wish I’d been able to visit before lockdown happened are:
The Watermill (Aberfeldy)
Not that these guys really need advertising (they’re a very well known secret among book-lovers throughout Scotland) but the Watermill is one of my favourite days out. In fact, their cafe was the first place I went for a coffee after the last lockdown ended.
The book shop is really unique with a brilliant range of books, a really cosy cafe (with a real wood stove in situ), and a fantastic homewares shop right next door (called ‘Homer‘).
Their Facebook page is loaded with book suggestions and an active reading community who also offer insights into these great reading suggestions. They’re also over on Twitter.
J & G Innes Ltd (St Andrews)
This bookshop is like something out of Harry Potter! A rustic outside that absolutely proclaims ‘bookshop’ (and has a really deep history linking it to modern printing). In the same spot since the late 1800s and now on its fourth generation of Innes (I don’t know the plural of Innes, Innesses? Inness? Inni?…).
You’ll find a slightly more modern experience on the inside (when you’re allowed back into book shops again that is). They also offer a huge and comprehensive range of stationery and art supplies as well, so my writerly/artsy side was absolutely hooked when I came across this place a couple of years ago when on holiday near St Andrews.
Their Facebook page is absolutely filled with fluffy cat pics at the moment and (when their doors were still open) it also had lots of info about books, gifts, and art available in store.
Adventure into Books (Blairgowrie)
I’m listing a shop I’ve never been to here. ‘Adventure into Books’ launched amid the multiple restrictions of 2020. I’m really looking forward to getting up to Blairgowrie and seeing the place as it sounds great. Unfortunately, that’ll have to wait.
In the meantime, they have a great wee website with book suggestions and information about their business and a Facebook feed full of a steady stream of new book suggestions.
Share your own favourites
I’ve put together a very small list so far on here but if you know of an indie bookshop that could do with a little shout out please feel free to tell me in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them too.
A last wee extra
I’ve missed sitting in a bookshop with a coffee, a book (and some time to kill), so much during lockdown. If you feel the same, this ambience video might help you. Pop it on, get a coffee in that favourite mug, and grab your book. Instant book shop experience.