On a crisp October day there aren’t many places we’d rather retreat to than a cosy bookshop for some serious perusal time, perhaps a cup of something hot, and the subsequent excitement of heading home, laden with “next reads”. Today we rest safe in the knowledge that our friends at Books Are My Bag feel exactly the same.
It’s Saturday 11 October, and hundreds of independent bookshops around the UK will be welcoming book lovers for bookshop parties, author signings and more, all part of this year’s Book Are My Bag celebrations. If you visit a shop that’s taking part , you’ll also have the chance to get your hands on an exclusive Books are My Bag tote, designed by Tracey Emin.
We’ve compiled a selection of Penguin staff’s favourite independent bookshops – all well worth a weekend excursion – and would love to hear your favourites too. Tweet us @PenguinUKBooks, using #BAMB, and let us know where we should be visiting on future travels around the UK.
My favourite bookshop is usually the last bookshop I was in, but Daunt Books in Marylebone has a special place in my heart. It was the first bookshop I discovered in London and I still try to go there before I go away anywhere. I love finding a couple of books about the country I’m visiting, maybe a classic novel, a memoir or a history. Daunt always turns up a surprise that makes for much richer travels.
Joel Rickett, Editor, Viking Books and Penguin Portfolio
Mine is the Owl Bookshop in Kentish Town because its windows always catch my eye and make me think about the books I should be reading this month, because I always discover something new on its table, it has a great children’s section and the best cards and wrapping paper in the area!
Find the Owl Bookshop tweeting (or should that be hooting?) at @OwlBookshop
Sam Fanaken, Sales Manager, Penguin
I’m fortunate enough to have an indie bookshop at the very end of my road. Review in Peckham, the home of Evie Wyld, is a small and wonderful space, with a reliably lovely and eclectic selection put together. On a Saturday afternoon, bookseller Katia is great to chat at length about what she’s been reading and what you should read next, and, brilliantly, it’s usually something I’ve never heard of.
Ingrid Matts, Senior Marketing Manager, Penguin Press
I like the London Review Bookshop so much I’ve even imagined living there. It is the perfect size, in the perfect location, and has one of most expert selections of books in the world as well as a brilliant events programme. What’s not to love?
Simon Prosser, Editorial Director, Hamish Hamilton
There are actually two branches of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop, both in Gloucestershire, but my favourite is the Tetbury shop. It’s exactly how you’d imagine your perfect local bookshop to be: tiny and beautiful, with wooden shelves and a big sofa, and full of carefully selected treats for readers of all ages. I love visiting the arboretum nearby, then dropping in to warm up, and I never leave empty-handed – not least because Hereward and his booksellers seem to have a sixth sense for their customers’ tastes in books when it comes to recommendations.
Jennifer Cownie, Digital Marketing Manager, Penguin
My favourite bookshop is Clapham Books on The Pavement. Absolutely amazing for children’s books, it also has brilliantly knowledgeable staff, good events, and a broad range of new releases and back list. I always end up leaving with something new to read tucked in a brown paper bag.
Alice Murphy-Pyle, Marketing Manager, Transworld Books
I like bookshops that force me to buy books I might not otherwise: I like Lutyens and Rubinstein because although it is small and without the range of some shops, (and I do LOVE a really enormous bookshop) the books are laid out enticingly so that I will buy at least three novels every time that I didn’t mean to, some ridiculous designer-y oddity and maybe a collection of letters, someone’s diaries or a biography. Claire Harris, the manager, is good at suggesting recent books too.
Juliet Annan, Publishing Director, Fig Tree
My favourite bookshop is Toppings of Bath. When you go in, they offer you a friendly smile, a cup of something warm and a wealth of knowledge about the books they sell. They also host intimate events with some of the industry’s biggest authors on a regular basis.
Laura Swainbank, Marketing Executive, Transworld