‘Indie bookshops are the lifeblood of the high street’
I’m lucky to live in a neighbourhood that has a magnificent corner shop. It is nothing like the sad specimens where everything’s wrapped in plastic and contains too much sugar, salt, and chemicals. “How are the cherries?” I’ll ask the Turkish man behind the counter. “Good,” he’ll say. “They’re from my cousin’s farm. But they’ll be even better in two weeks.”
I’m also incredibly lucky to live within walking distance of three independent bookshops. Whenever I go into one of them I feel the way I do in my corner shop: at home. “Who do you think will win the Women’s Prize this year?” I’ll ask on entering. Or, “What’s the best thing you’ve read recently?” Or “What do you recommend for a teenage boy who doesn’t read?” I can ask these things because the staff love to talk about books.
Indie bookshops are the lifeblood of the high street. It’s always a relief to get past the chain cafés and supermarkets and arrive at a bright, colourful window full of books that are there because the bookseller has carefully chosen them for display. My local indies have been incredibly supportive of me and my books: they host buzzy events, they always get me to sign stock, and they all have my phone number – something I would never hand over to a chain. I trust them with it and with my books, and always prefer to shop in them. I am sure most book lovers feel the same!
All the best,
A Single Thread (Independent Bookshop Exclusive Edition)