Tag: book store

Bookspot of the Week: Libreria

It’s Bookspot time! Welcome back to bookspot of the week, where we have a chance to speak with amazing bookstores to quite frankly show them off. And if you didn’t know about them, now you do! This week we spoke with Lloyd Sowerbutts, the manager of a bookshop in London called, Libreria, it can be found at 65 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5JP.

 

Image via Libreria

 

How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

Libreria was conceived as a way for customers to discover new voices and ideas, which wouldn’t be easy in a conventionally merchandised bookshop, or internet retailer’s algorithm. Libreria’s books are grouped according to broad themes, such as: Wanderlust, Enchantment for the Disenchanted and Utopia.

 

What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

 I feel that our thematic grouping of titles and the shop’s interior are the most obviously unique qualities.

 

If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store? A ‘speakeasy’ cocktail bar and reading space. 

 

Image via Libreria

 

How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

Pre-lockdown, Libreria would host Language Labs, a programme conceived by a former colleague Gabi Spangenthal, which would offer a space for members of Second Home and other volunteers to offer local migrants a space to practice English that was formally taught by ELATT.

 

What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

Libreria is designed to maximise the serendipitous discovery of new books and ideas. 

 

Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?

 Not particularly. I assume a love of books from all applicants, so I look for skills that would complement the existing team’s strengths and will help the shop grow into a space our customers cherish.

 

Image via Libreria

 

How else do you create a welcoming environment?

 I like to welcome our customers to the shop, as they are the lifeblood of the shop. We are happy to order books that we don’t currently have in stock. Ultimately, nothing should ever be a problem to solve. 

 

What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

I believe the shop’s beauty makes it a destination for many of our customers. Our social initiatives and event programme offer a different quality to other bookshops.

 

Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

We are always talking about books that excite us via our Instagram and newsletter channels. Customers can sign up to our newsletter, via www.libreria.io

 

Image via Libreria

 

Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

Absolutely! Each month, the team selects the books that we believe will appeal to the many tastes and interests of our customers.

 

What’s your favorite book?

This is a tough one. I have never been able to whittle it to a single book. I’m curious by nature, so my favourite books reflect this. If I was forced to pick a few, they would be: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Lost Japan by Alex Kerr, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break by Steven Sherrill and The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas. 

 

Image via Libreria
Feature Image via Libreria

Bookspot of the Week: The Ripped Bodice

Lovers of love, rejoice! This week we spoke with romance book store The Ripped Bodice co-owner Leah, all the way from sunny Culver City, California. Trying to hold back my jealousy that they’re quarantining with both beautiful weather and endless loads of books…

How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

Our journey began on Kickstarter in 2015 where we raised 91k to start our store. 

image via @therippedbodice Instagram

What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

Well, we are one of only two romance focused bookstores in the Northern Hemisphere, so that’s pretty unique already… but we also have a full-service hair salon within our store!

If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?

I’ve always wanted a balcony or open second story and sliding ladders that would go up to the ceiling (probably really good for our insurance premiums).

 

How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

We love being a niche bookstore in a community that doesn’t have that many bookstores because we get lots of people coming in that wouldn’t describe themselves as romance readers and then we convert them!

What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

A staff of people that knows so much about romance novels and is able to tailor recommendations to your specific taste, and then remembers that taste the next time you come in!

image via @therippedbodice Instagram

Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?

We ask potential booksellers to choose romance novels that they would recommend to potential customers in certain categories, such as a fantasy romance with a strong female lead. When we do interviews, we are really looking for people that have a passion for books and romance. We teach them everything else they need to know but you can’t teach passion!

image via @therippedbodice Instagram

How else do you create a welcoming environment?

Our decor is really important to us and we spend a lot of time on it. We want the space to feel incredibly inviting and welcoming and uniquely female. Not a lot of public spaces are designed with femininity in mind but we are not afraid of pink. Also hugely important to this question is having a public restroom with free sanitary products available. How are people supposed to stay and browse if they can’t go to the bathroom!?

image via @therippedbodice Instagram

What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

We have become quite well known for our elaborate window displays that celebrate big holidays, seasonal themes, or different book genres. I also post the process of creating them on our Instagram stories as well. 

 

Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

In the coming month, I am tremendously excited about the release of Beach Read by Emily Henry and Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner… two fantastic new books that I think a lot of people will enjoy.

image via @therippedbodice Instagram

Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

Absolutely. When we opened, we had children’s books and Young Adult books but the kids who fell in the middle of those two groups were asking where their section was, so now we have a middle-grade section! We’ve also expanded our poetry section due to community demand.

Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?

If you’ve never read a romance novel, it is never too late! 

featured image via the ripped bodice

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Bookspot of the Week: Ironbridge Bookshop

The best day of the week is back, bookworms! This time, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Megan Prince, owner of the Ironbridge Bookshop in Shropshire, UK. This place is anything but minimalist, so if you like rainbows, trinkets, and endless rows of books, read on!

 

image via @theironbridgebookshop

How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?

I’ve owned the shop for a little over five years now, but it’s been a bookshop for about ten. I worked there from the age of thirteen and always wanted to have my own bookshop someday. The previous owner moved on as I was finishing up school and I ended up taking over when I was eighteen. So, I guess the shop was already a concept but I’ve spent the last five years trying to make it my own and couldn’t love it any more!

image via @theironbridgebookshop

What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?

We are mostly secondhand books, it’s always great to give books multiple lives. We specialize in vintage Penguin books from the 1930s/1940s. Fortunately, we have people visit and contact us from all over the world just for them, which I think gives us a uniqueness as you don’t see them around often.

 

If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?

I’d love to maybe venture into selling more new books as well, especially comics and graphic novels. I’m a huge fan of graphic novels and it would be great to introduce them to more people. I’d also just like to expand the range of books we have, with beautiful tall shelves with a rolling library ladder, like from beauty and the beast – the dream! I probably have infinite ideas for what I’d like to do! Adding a cafe with literary-themed food and drinks and being able to host parties and events is another big idea.

How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?

Ironbridge has lots of independent retailers, all bringing something different to the town. A bookshop works well as it’s always nice to be able to pick up a book when you need one. Secondhand bookshops are getting hard to find. We stock local and new/upcoming authors to try and help them along and get their books out into the world. Also, we host a few local events and help out schools where we can.

image via @theironbridgebookshop

What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?

We like being able to chat with our customers face to face or over the phone. It adds a personal touch to book shopping. We’re able to make recommendations that way and make sure the customer is satisfied before they leave the store. I think it’s nice to be able to put a face or voice to the bookseller as well, rather than things being done via an automated website.

 

Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?

There’s actually only two staff at The Ironbridge Bookshop. Myself and my mum… but my mum is fantastic at window displays and displays in general so she’s always great at drawing people’s eyes to certain titles. A pretty window is a good way of getting customers through the door!

image via Megan prince

How else do you create a welcoming environment?

I’m what you might call an anti-minimalist. I like to have things everywhere, always tidy but I’m not a fan of empty space. The shop is rather colorful and full of almost endless books, postcards on walls, little literary trinkets, and displays. We let people browse for a while before asking if we can help. Book shops are designed for browsing. I find that books usually choose you than the other way around! We have lots of children’s books and a table and chairs for them to sit and play with books. We have lights on timers to keep the windows visible in the evenings and have fairy lights on the ceiling to create a bit of magic.

What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?

We’re open seven days a week and always try to be welcoming and helpful, even when it doesn’t concern books. There aren’t any other bookshops around in the town. We get involved in town events and meetings, keeping up to date with the local goings on. It’s important to keep community spirit up in a small town.

 

Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?

I recently read the latest novel by Ben Aaronovitch, False Value. It’s part of the Peter Grant series, which is an urban fantasy set in London and full of mad magic, police procedural, and a cast of colorfully witty characters. Highly recommend! My mum is also a fan of Louise Candlish thrillers, always very gripping!

Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?

There’s a lot of industrial history in Ironbridge so I keep well stocked up on that, as we get a lot of tourists and locals interested. I also keep people’s requests and wants on file so I can get them in the future and let customers know.

image via @theironbridgebookshop

Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?

We do lots of mail-order via our social media. No website at the moment, but we’re heavily present on Facebook and Instagram. You’ll probably see my family’s clan of animals featured quite frequently as they all love books! You can contact us via most platforms. We love making recommendations, putting book parcels together and seeing people’s bookish photos.

You heard it here first, folks! Go follow Ironbridge ASAP for more magic. Do you know of a book shop worthy of a spotlight on our site? Contact us through any of our socials and you may just find it here next week.

featured image via @theironbridgebookshop

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