Books are definitely my bag, so when I found out about the Books Are My Bag campaign for 2014 I just had to celebrate it on my blog. The aim of this campaign is to well and truly put all of the glorious bookshops out there under the spotlight and to do a bit of (polite) shouting about why we love them. Well, I’m always happy to do a bit of polite shouting where books are concerned…I also love shopping, so a shop SELLING books is the perfect place to dump me for a couple of hours. You won’t hear a squeak out of me, I promise…
There sadly don’t seem to be that many independent bookshops in the area of the Midlands that I live in, however there is one shop which has proved to be my saviour throughout all of my book-loving years on this earth. That shop is Waterstones.
I have three branches of Waterstones near to me, but the one I frequent the most is in Redditch in Worcestershire and so that has to be the bookshop that I spread the love for today.
I love everything about this shop. You go in and there’s that lovely calm atmosphere, away from the hustle and bustle of the town. You kind of feel as though you can take a deep breath, inhale all of the bookish goodness and instantly relax. In the summer it’s cool, in the winter it’s warm, it always seems just perfect to me. It smells amazing (it’s full of books so it’s bound to, right?) and I find it’s just the right size store for me. I have visited other bookshops that are huuuuge and have SO MANY BOOKS. Whilst this is, of course, a good thing (you can never have too many books) but being the bookworm that I am I like to take my time and browse as many sections as I can (I might be missing something!) and if I attempted to do this in one of those mahhhooosive bookshops then you would never see me again, I’d literally still be there now… However I find my local Waterstones store just the right size. There’s still hundreds upon hundreds of books for me to nose through, but it’s more manageable for me to navigate which is a bonus.
Bookshops in general will always be extremely important to me and I desperately hope that we never lose them. Sure, it’s great ‘1-clicking’ a book from Amazon or having a book delivered to your door, but there are so many authors I have discovered just from stumbling upon their books in a bookshop and deciding to give them a try, which isn’t quite the same as browsing online. There’s just something magical about bookshops; the atmosphere, the smell, the fellow book-loving customers and of course, the super knowledgeable staff who are always on hand to look up that pesky book you’ve been after but can’t seem to find.
Cosy, quiet, friendly, safe, and full of so much undiscovered potential, bookshops truly are a haven for all of the bookworms out there.
So go and visit your local bookshop and spread the love on this Books Are My Bag launch day, or why not join a Bookshop Party on Saturday 11th October? All the details are on the official website.
Don’t forget to check out The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell – The Official Book for Books Are My Bag 2014. I have read both of Jen Campbell’s collections of Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops (although I work in a library, I still completely identified with both books!) you can check them out here, so The Bookshop Book is sure to be amazing and the perfect companion to Books Are My Bag.
Published on Thursday 2nd October, a week before the trade launch of Books Are My Bag 2014, The Bookshop Book will be hitting bookshop shelves as the official book of the campaign.
From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine, and from bookshops in
bards to those in churches, The Bookshop Book explores the history of bookshops and books,
reveals author favourite literary haunts and examines over two hundred weird and wonderful
The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world. Be sure to pick up a copy!
Jen Campbell is the author of the best-selling Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops series, which was subsequently featured on Radio 4. She’s is also an award-winning poet and short story writer. She works at an antiquarian bookshop in London.