Last Saturday was the Books Are My Bag annual Bookshop Day, a day during which all are encouraged to visit or otherwise support an independent bookshop. It is obvious that times are currently tough for both small businesses and their customers. If independently run bookshops are to remain in our towns and cities they need readers to use them for purchases.
As I was lucky enough to be in beautiful Devon for a long weekend break I had researched nearby bookshops. My holiday itinerary meant I couldn’t visit on the Saturday. This didn’t concern me as Bookshop Day can be any day a reader is in the vicinity of a bookshop.
Walter Henry’s in Bideford is on the town High Street, a short way up the hill from the river near the old bridge. The town itself is worth a visit. We enjoyed our wander around its picturesque narrow streets and riverside park.
Inside the bookshop we found plenty of interest amidst the calm oasis a bookshop provides.
I carry with me a list of books I wish to purchase when the opportunity arises but sadly was unable to locate these on the shelves. The friendly bookseller was happy to help, offering to order the titles for pickup within a few days. As we were visiting this was not a viable option.
She explained to us that stock was currently low. The summer season had finished and tourist numbers were negligible. With Christmas approaching this situation will soon be rectified.
With no obvious banners or flyers, I asked if they were taking part in Bookshop Day. It was confirmed that they were and the shop would be decorated appropriately that afternoon. I hope this initiative drew more customers in.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without making a purchase. Husband had found a book that proved ideal for our holiday. Over subsequent days we walked three of the routes included, learning salient facts about each location along the way.
Walter Henry’s Bookshop was well worth a visit for the ambience and friendliness as well as its contents. If you are in or close to Bideford in Devon, do seek it out.
(Twitter: Walter Henry’s Books)