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Where do I really want to buy my books? An independent bookshop of course

Where do I really want to buy my books? Well not from some poxy supermarket shelf that’s for sure, even if a loss-leading discount is on offer. A certain large book chain? Better, especially when one gets to know the people. But really it’s the inependent bookshop that does it for me, run by people who are committed and know their stuff, where one feels welcome and is treated as an individual. There are at least five such outlets on the Fylde Coast; let us know if there are more I’ve missed. One even has cake!

There’s been a sad loss of such outlets since the Net Book Agreement’s demise, effectively outlawed as a restrictive practice in 1997. I find an article by Sam Jordison writing in The Guardian in 2010, at which point 500 independents had been lost, along with chains Borders and Dillons. However, some have clung on and new, enterprising outlets have sprung up. These shops have titles that will never appear in mass market outlets and offer unlimited browsing, ordering and advice.

These are in no particular order, but first up is Storytellers Inc at 7 The Crescent, St Anne’s. A lovely airy shop with contemporary reads to the front and children’s to the rear. There are reference and poetry sections, together with classics and modern literary fiction. There’s normally squeals of delight from the children’s section. The owners run author’s night events and run a range of age specific book clubs, bringing the joy of reading to all. I can rarely go in there without buying something.

Sited on the attractive Clifton Street shopping drag in Lytham, Plackitt & Booth is deceptively large due to its narrow frontage. It is absolutely rammed with volumes for all ages and also carries a range of lovely toys. I purchased my beautiful copy of The Count of Monte Cristo from here and several other things. A real magnet for browsers. This shop is a potential focus for a trip round this town’s several little arcades with their specialist shops, art galleries and eateries.

Chapter Two is a cornucopia of books located at 14 Albert Street, Fleetwood. This combines the genius idea of a quality book shop with a quality coffee house and cake shop. Crikey, difficult to beat! And the Blackpool and Fleetwood Tramway runs past right outside the door for added public transport convenience. Did I say there was cake? Stroll the sea front later to walk it off.

Back in St Anne’s there is Book Bargains at 31 St Andrew’s Road, a massive collection of new and quality second hand volumes where I rarely fail to spend over budget. Close to Storytellers Inc the two are complementary for the collector of classic and contemporary fiction. Much of my art book collection is from Book Bargains, which I find is generally good for arts and crafts, also jigsaws if I remember correctly. The classics section is comprehensiveย with a wide of choice of fiction.

Last but by no means least we have Blackpool Second Hand Bookshopย  at 175 Church Street. This excellent outlet front is crammed with rare, classic and antiquarian volumes, while the rear is stuffed with affordable paperbacks. Put a good hour aside for a browse round. I picked up three Arthur Ransomes, the same hardback edition we had at school, which brought back some nostalgia. A further noted classic was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery classic Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which I’m still to find anywhere else.

So it seems that the supermarkets and a certain large chain have not taken over the entire Fylde Coast book market. There’s a number of alternative outlets to choose from offering a virtual plethora of material to choose from. Reading is one of the great pleasures and as a bit of a Luddite I do recommend an actual book rather than some screen device, although I’m not knocking their users, it’s a personal choice. Happy book buying, happy reading!

 

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  • I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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