What is it that makes an independent bookshop truly great? Personal recommendations, community atmosphere and lots of good conversations – at their best, indies are the beating heart of the bookselling industry.
In this new series, Penguin.co.uk will be speaking to staff from independent bookshops from across the country, gleaning the stories and tips that keep customers coming back.
This week, meet Peter Book, the co-owner of BrOOK's bookshop in Pinner, Greater London, and hear about his suggested reads and life behind the till.
How would you describe your bookshop?
Our bookshop is a haven for book lovers. Our bookshelves are filled with new books, hand-picked from a cross section of our suppliers. The laid-back, friendly atmosphere makes our bookshop perfect for sitting in, which our customers will be able to do again soon, and socialising over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, having of course purchased the perfect book too.
What’s your go-to book recommendation for a gift?
At BrOOK’S we like to give personal recommendations to our customers for the person that the gift is for. However, if you really pressed us at the moment we might say Girl, Woman, Other by the marvellous Bernardine Evaristo. The feedback from every one of our customers who have bought this title has been amazing. It is also impossible to go wrong by giving someone a copy of Raynor Winn’s The Salt Path.
What’s your favourite story from behind the till?
We are always first and foremost a bookshop but we also offer coffee, wonderful cakes and we are fully licensed too. We have had multiple coffee bean disasters over time from our coffee grinder. In order to refill it we have to make sure that the funnel is completely closed… you can see where this is going! We have also had our fair share of incidents similar to “I am not sure what the book is called but I remember it is red”!
Which forthcoming book are you most excited to put on the shelves?
With the recently enforced changes to the publishing schedule there are so many brilliant books we are looking forward to. As an independent bookshop we will be working even harder than ever before to select new titles that our customers will love to read and explore.
Even after a day of being surrounded by books, which book do you never tire of reading?
It is going to have to be Rukmini Iyer’s Roasting Tin books – what better way to find a quick, simple and delicious meal at the end of a busy day of book selling. The new Roasting Tin Around the World is now added to our favourites.