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#ChooseBookshops – Profile staff on their favourite indies

That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.– Jhumpa Lahiri

Spring is here and with the lovely weather, there also comes a promise of bookshops opening back up on 12th April across England and Wales, which we cannot wait for.

For many of us, our local and independent bookshops have been pivotal during the last year, in allowing us to keep reading and ordering – and selling – books. Books Are My Bag are leading the charge on social media with their #ChooseBookshops hashtag, which publishers and the Indie Alliance are helping support.

Here at Profile, we have been gearing up for the opening of bookshops and have asked our staff to share with us one of their favourite local or independent bookshops and share their love for it. We love their responses and are sharing them below and would love to hear from you all too, with your favourite bookshops that you’re looking forward to visit.

Anna-Marie Fitzgerald, Head of Publicity for Fiction & Commercial Non-Fiction: Daunts Books Cheapside and their wonderful team | Visit Daunts Books Cheapside Online

‘They are infinitely patient with my many requests and enquiries, have an expertly stocked children’s section and wonderfully curated front-of-store. Their treat-filled tables and shelves are full of enough surprises and distractions that I forget what I’ve gone in for!’

Daunt Books Twitter

Andrew Franklin, MD: Sevenoaks Bookshop run by the amazing Fleur Sinclair | Visit Sevenoaks Bookshop Online

‘It is already on the shortlist for regional bookshop of the year. Brilliant energy, tireless commitment to reading, especially for children and a spectacular range of events. And the most amazing thing of all: Fleur enlarged her bookshop during lockdown. This bookshop is all you would ever want an indie bookshop to be. Worth going to Sevenoaks just to visit it (and the new café she is opening).’

Sevenoaks Bookshop Twitter

Ali Nadal, Senior Production Controller: Scarthin Books | Visit Scarthin Books Online

‘The next time you are in the Peak District – make a detour to Scarthin Books in Cromford; it sells both new and second-hand books, has a fantastic music room, and to top it all off has a lovely cafe!’

Scarthin Books Twitter

Ed Lake, Publishing Director and Louisa Dunnigan, Head of Audio & Commissioning Editor: Stoke Newington Bookshop | Visit Stoke Newington Bookshop Online

‘I love its imaginative and tasteful choices, its passionate staff, its splendid kids section, and its unforced community atmosphere.’

‘Stoke Newington Bookshop has the most enticing window displays, and tables beautifully curated to make it impossible to leave without taking something home. The staff in the spaceship-like hub at the shops centre are always helpful and knowledgeable.’  

Stoke Newington Bookshop Twitter

Rebecca Gray, Publisher: Mr B’s Emporium | Visit Mr B’s Emporium Online

‘There’s so much to say about Mr B’s Emporium in Bath – it’s beautiful, imaginative and creatively run. They have fabulous booksellers on hand, an endless up-and-down-stairs of gorgeous rooms, a wonderful, surprising selection and all sorts of brilliant initiatives, from book clubs to a band. A bath in the window and a tree in the kids’ room. It’s a magical place.’

Mr B’s Emporium Twitter

Flora Willis, Head of Marketing: Burley Fisher | Visit Burley Fisher Bookshop Online

‘Burley Fisher sprang up on Kingsland Road just five years ago, quickly becoming an integral part of East London life. Starting out as a ground floor bookshop, with an incredible array of titles focussing on independent publishing and highly tempting boxes of second hand reads under the awning outside, there is now a downstairs space too, home to events and exhibitions. During lockdown they pioneered bicycle book deliveries and have thrived over the last year. No wonder they’ve just won Independent Bookshop of the Year for London.’ 

Burley Fisher Books Twitter

Claire Beaumont, Sales Director: Newham Bookshop | Visit Newham Bookshop Online 

‘Newham Bookshop – because Vivien is the best bookseller in the whole wide world, bringing the widest range of books to her community. A proper bookshop with teetering piles of books to tempt anyone who steps foot inside…or even just walks past!’

Newham Bookshop Twitter

Elizabeth Hitti, Marketing and Publicity Assistant: Libreria | Visit Libreria Online

‘I absolutely adore Librería! It was designed to look like the fictional Library of Babel, with mirrors that give it a sense of infinity and hidden nooks that offer the possibility for discovery on every shelf. Their no-phone policy and knowledgeable staff mean that interesting bookish conversations are guaranteed. They also have a unique method for curating and displaying their books, using categories such as ‘Utopia,’ ‘Enchantment for the Disenchanted,’ and ‘Wanderlust,’ instead of the traditional genres. If you’re looking to discover your next favourite read, this is the ideal space in which to start!’

Libreria Twitter

Jane Pickett, Senior Publicity Manager: City Books | Visit City Books Online 

‘One of the first things I did when I relocated from London to Hove was seek out my new local bookshop: City Books. The comfort of their superb selection of books (while mine were still in boxes!), combined with welcoming and enthusiastic staff helped to settle this stranger in a strange town.’

City Books Twitter

Miranda Jewess, Editorial Director, Viper Books: Sheen Bookshop | Visit Sheen Bookshop Online

‘I love that they have a disproportionately massive crime and thriller section (of course). They also have a really impressive children’s section, which they allow children to completely deconstruct with very good humour. They clearly know that the first step in learning to love books is to play with them as fun objects.’

Sheen Bookshop Twitter