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Independent Booksellers Week

Independent Bookseller Week started ten years ago and this year it takes place 18th-25h June. It is run by the Booksellers Association along with its members to celebrate independent bookshops on the high streets of the UK and Ireland. Here at Preloved we would say there are a few bookworms in the team, and of course we all know how passionate we are about second hand. While we want to support the campaign, we also want to shout about second hand book shops and books, who contribute to the reading world just as much.

We have asked our colleagues the questions for the tag the Booksellers Association started, but we have tweaked a couple to better represent the Preloved community. Keep reading to get inspired and discover new books and places.


1.    What book(s) are currently in your bag?

Adele: The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Natalie: Sisters by the River, by Barbara Comyns. I read Our Spoons Came from Woolworths from the same author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am trying to read more authors from the 1950s.

2. What’s the last great book you read?

Chris: Holes, by Louis Sachar.

Andy: Fountain Hear, by Ayn Rand. Very thought-provoking book about how you should think for yourself, rather than following the crowd or the conventions of the past.

3. What book have you gifted the most?

Noel: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson.

Olivia: Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding. It’s such a great pick-me-up book!

4. What’s your favourite second hand bookshop?

Natalie: Sharston Books in South Manchester. It’s a hidden gem, and I can spend hours and hours browsing the shelves. Barter Books in Alnwick is amazing, it is set in an old train station and has a café. They have a great selection of old children’s books too.

Adele: Paramount Books in Manchester.

Andy: The Art of Tea. Cool little independent café in Didsbury with a second-hand bookshop at the back piled floor-to-ceiling with books. Great way to spend an afternoon with a flat-white or two and a couple of good books!

5. What’s been your favourite book recommended by a bookseller?

Adele: The Books of Disquietude, by Fernando Pessoa.

Noel: War of the Worlds, by HG Wells.

Natalie: Eucalyptus, by Murray Bail.

6. What’s your favourite bookshop memory?

Noel: Holding the door open for Garry Barlow coming out of a bookshop without realising it was him, only afterwards my wife seemed to be  looking at me strangely and told me what just happened…missed it completely!

Olivia: Finding the most beautiful copy of T.S Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ and snuggling up with a cup of tea in Barter Books while a toy train circled the shelves.

7. What do bookshops mean to you? What do you love about them?

Chris: Love the smell and promise of a million journeys.

Olivia: This is such a tough question. It’s so difficult to express exactly what they mean to me. Bookshops are essentially where I grew up, where I developed my passion for literature. They’re a place to discover  new adventures, to find characters that speak directly to you and whose universality allow you to discover more about yourself.

8. What are the books that made you? Which books have most affected or influenced you?

Andy: The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, by Eliyahu Glodratt. It’s really a management book but is cleverly disguised as a novel set in a factory. It explains some really neat ideas about how to improve the overall performance of your business or team, without necessarily just working harder or faster. This was also the last second-hand book I bought.

Adele: James Joyce, Dubliners. I’ve read this book 10+ times and each time I come across something I’ve never noticed before!

Olivia: Tennyson’s In Memoriam, Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Carter’s The Bloody Chamber are probably the works that mean the most me. Each of them opened my eyes in a different way.

9. Which was the last book you bought second hand?

Natalie: An amazing 1907 copy of Garden Life Journal. I love old books, and gardening is a hobby of mine. When I spotted it, I held it protectively while I browsed and did not put it down once.

Chris: The Three Musketeers.

Olivia: The Book of Margery Kempe, by Anon.

10. What book is currently at the top of your TBR (To Be Read) pile?

Adele: Essays, by Wallace Shawn.

Chris: Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

Noel: Sane New World, by Ruby Wax.

How are you celebrating Independent Booksellers Week? Tweet us @Preloved!

Zoe Allison

Zoe Allison

Writer and expert