A new bookshop for Malvern

Well where to start? You may well have seen that Beacon Books in Malvern is closing in early 2012. There was an ‘official’ announcement in the Malvern Gazette this week. It is very sad. A town like Malvern needs a focal point for booky type things. Whatever your feelings about Beacon Books it had the potential to be that focal point.

The shop had been on the market for quite a while. In Early 2011 a group of Malvern booklovers came together and formed a cooperative – the Malvern Book Cooperative – with the aim of buying Beacon Books and continuing to run it; and to develop it. Sadly this plan failed. The cooperative didn’t give up. Alternative premises have been found – in what is currently the Central Gallery on St Ann’s Road. We are in the process of seeking funding from the Cooperative Development Fund to fit these out and to purchase stock. If all these plans come together we aim to open in February 2012.

Aren’t independent bookshops all going bust in the face of the online retailers, ebooks and the big chainstore bookshops? Is it the wrong time to open a bookshop?  Well actually it isn’t. There is a small but highly successful group of innovative and exciting bookshops around the country. One of our favourites is Jaffe and Neale in Chipping Norton. What is true is that ‘traditional’ bookshops are failing. The new band of booksellers offer more than just shelves full of books for sale. They build on everything that makes books special. They provide a focus for reading. They do what an online seller never can by providing a place where books provide a focus for social interaction. They also sell coffee and cake!

This is our plan. As things move on we’ll use this blog to let everyone know. We’d love your ideas as well…

5 thoughts on “A new bookshop for Malvern

  1. Mrs Meg Stott

    Hi, I haven’t been to any of the meetings but follow the development of the coop with interest.
    Have you seen in today’s Telegraph magazine that Mary Portas, in an article on bookshops, says
    ‘If you’re up for working with me on building the community bookshop of the future, I’m sure my
    editor would be pleased to pass you my number’. Don’t know if that’s any good to you.but good luck with the project anyway – it’s a great idea,
    regards
    meg stott

  2. Christopher Martyn

    I echo what Bruce Williamson has said. This will be brilliant for the resident Malvern reading public, and for its sizeable number of fair-weather visitors. Shelf space will be limited, I know, but I do hope to see a generous amount of it dedicated to Literature (Modern Fiction and ‘Classics’, Poetry, Drama), Music and the Arts generally. Also significant titles from the back catalogue of contemporary writers. All too often a bookshop will stock their most recently published offerings and nothing else. By contrast, coffee-table books could be entirely absent and I shouldn’t mind at all. Ditto ‘Mind, Body & Spirit’, ‘Celebrity Biography’ and ‘Misery Lit/Painful Stories’. A rapid book ordering service for those more obscure titles, or the ones you don’t need to see before buying, will be essential. As for coffee and cake . . I shall happily sit and browse provided there is proper fruit cake (i.e. stiff with sultanas and glace cherries) and not just the usual menu of bland sponges, carrot cake, lemon drizzle and the like. All power to your co-operative elbow! May your success be unconfined.

  3. Zoe Norman

    I am on the committee of Malvern Storytellers and I think there is potential for us to work with you in some way, especially as you will have a small cafe. In Bristol there is a successful Storytelling cafe run one evening a month. I think Oral Storytelling is an important way to get those involved in reading who may otherwise be excluded from it and I think this sort of event would bring you in more business for the cafe and potentially the bookshop. I have certainly bought more books since I have been a storyteller! Please reply to me if you are interested because I certainly am.

  4. Merlith Morrison-Hutton

    Malvern has a thriving artistic community with its own prestigous college. With regards to this and with respect to the many courses run, I think it would be prudent to have a bookshop that supplied mid price range books-possibly relating in subject matter to the actual courses taught, as well as literature on individual artists, for reference.

  5. Bruce Williamson

    Great idea guys! I was really upset to see that Malvern’s only independent book shop was going bust so this is brilliant news! Can’t wait for the opening and the best of luck to you all!

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