Festive openings for three indie bookshops

Festive openings for three indie bookshops

Three new bookshops have opened in the run-up to Christmas hoping to capitalise on the buoyant festive bookselling season.

The Gutter Bookshop in Ireland has opened a pop-up sister outlet in the town of Dalkey on Railway Road [pictured], after the residents missed having an independent bookshop in the town following the retirement of the previous bookshop’s owner.

Bob Johnson, manager of The Gutter Bookshop, said: “It wasn’t in my grand plans to open up another shop, but you have to grab these opportunities when they come up. We worked at the Dalkey Book Festival this summer providing all the books for the festival and that went very well. The previous bookshop, The Exchange Bookshop, closed down a couple of years ago, the owner retired and everyone was telling us how much they missed having a bookshop in the village.

"There are lots and lots of writers here—it was home to Maeve Binchy, for example. About three to four weeks ago we got a call from the festival organisers to say there was a premises in Dalkey they thought might work for us. We came to an agreement on money and we are definitely here until March. A pop-up shop is a great way to try out a new business model.”

Opened for just three weeks, Johnson added that he was “really happy” with the way sales were going and said he hoped to “work out a way of staying on” after March. He said: “It is going well so far, there have been lots of people in.”

A new bookshop dedicated to selling poetry called Tell it Slant will open on Friday (13th December) in Fleming House on Glasgow's Renfrew Street. The name refers to a poem by Emily Dickinson which begins: "Tell All the Truth, but Tell It Slant". Owner Ellen McAteer, a Glasgow writer, said the shop would initially open between 10am until 2pm but hoped to open later—until 5pm—in the New Year.

“I wanted to open a poetry bookshop because I am a poet but I am also enthusiastic about poetry," McAteer said. "The fact it, poetry is not getting the space it deserves in shops. If you go into a Waterstones in Glasgow, you might see the names of some famous poets, but not many others. It is about giving more space to more names, including local authors.”

McAteer said she also wanted to provide a platform for other forms of more experimental poetry, such as visual poetry. “It is important to me to have equal women to men poets performing their work. At the moment it seems to me that there are equal men to women writing poetry but the canon is still largely based on men’s work.” The writer added that publishers had been very supportive of the venture and had provided books on a sale or return basis because the shop sprung up so quickly.

Meanwhile, The Five Leaves Bookshop, which opened in Nottingham in Long Row in Nottingham City Centre a few weeks ago has hailed a successful start to its opening. “Sales and footfall have been steady,” owner Ross Bradshaw has said.

When asked if it was a good time to open an independent bookshop, Bradshaw said: “Yes, without any doubt. People are turning away from Amazon all the time and there is a lot of enthusiasm for us because there hasn’t been an independent bookshop in Nottingham since 2000. We have a Waterstones and we can focus on other things, such as books from small presses such as Scottish publisher Saraband and Little Toller. To my surprise, two of our bestselling areas have been landscape and poetry."

The Story Museum in Oxford is also planning to open a “rather special” shop selling books in April 2014, to coincide with the completion of renovations to the ground floor of the building it occupies. Along with a new shop, the charity will also be opening a new café and exhibition, with details to be revealed in the New Year.