Rick Stein to open bookshop with Ron Johns

Rick Stein to open bookshop with Ron Johns

Celebrity chef Rick Stein is set to open a bookshop with his wife Sarah and Cornish bookseller Ron Johns next month.

Stein, television presenter and author of several cookbooks, will open The Padstow Bookseller in the Cornish port town of Padstow on 15th March after harbouring a long time “dream” to open a bookshop.

He is going into business with Cornish bookshop owner Ron Johns, who will own 50% of the venture, while Rick and his wife Sarah Stein will own a 25% stake each.

As well as authoring a number of cookbooks, Stein already owns four restaurants in Padstow, a fish and chip shop in Falmouth and a fish and chip shop in Newquay, while Johns owns three other bookshops in Falmouth, St Ives and Dartmouth.

Padstow has not had a bookshop since the last one closed five years ago.

Stein told The Bookseller: “It's long been a dream of mine to open a book shop in Padstow following the closure of the much loved book shop on The Strand.  Personally there's nothing I love more than browsing in book shops when I'm on holidays and I believe that a lovely town like Padstow needs a good place to buy a few well chosen books.”

Ron Johns, Sarah Stein and Rick Stein in their new bookshop

Stein’s wife Sarah Stein, formerly a book publicist for HarperCollins in Australia, will be “hands on” with the day to day running of the shop, particularly in co-ordinating events, she said. “I have wanted to have a bookshop since I was a little girl, I am not just saying it,” she said. “With the first pocket money I had I bought a book.”

Johns first met Rick Stein at a book launch in 1976 and held other book launches for the author in his St Ives and Falmouth stores, during which time the pair had frequently discussed the prospect of opening a bookshop together.

Johns said: “I go back a long way with Rick. I was at his first book launch in 1976 with Penguin and later held book launches for him in Falmouth and St Ives as they started developing. Rick has been talking to me about opening a bookshop for years - he studied English literature at Oxford University and is a big reader - and finally this plot came up in September last year.”

The 200-year-old 600 sq ft outlet is based in the corner of Padstow’s market square and will sell a range of titles across fiction, non-fiction, children’s and cookery. It will be managed by Ron’s son Dan Johns.  

Johns said: “The shop is not huge, but it is beautifully formed. It is all about location and I think this is the best pitch in Padstow. I have waited a long time for a spot to come up like this.”

The new bookshop will also stock titles by Johns’ publishing arm Mabecron Books. It’s new titles this year include Sam and the Seagulls by Stephen Warman and Ruth Knight, The Mousehole Mice and the Theatre by the Sea by Michelle Cartlidge and A Cornish Christmas by Craig Green and Oliver Hurst.

Rick Stein has sold 2.2m copies of his books for £29.5m, according to figures from Nielsen Bookscan, with his biggest seller being Rick Stein’s French Odyssey (BBC Books) in 2005, which sold 238,952 copies for £2.99m.