With so much information and entertainment at our fingertips, what is the role of a bookshop? Twenty years ago the answer would have been relatively simple. A bookshop was a place to buy books of course, but also somewhere that the customer could access information, talk about books and get recommendations. And that was it.
In an ideal world, we would open a niche little shop, stacked floor to ceiling with all of our favourites and not much else. These days, with profit margins narrowing and outgoings accelerating, that ‘ideal’ would result in a failed business within a matter of months. We have had to do a lot of soul searching before moving forwards seriously with our plans for Chicken and Frog.
In my opinion (and I really hope it’s not just me that holds it), the bookshop should be at the centre of the community. Not only do we want to provide a place where people can buy books, but we want to encourage browsing and develop a dialogue about the pleasures of reading. My favourite reads haven’t come from a website, but from having a good old nose about a bookshop or from a recommendation. So that’s what we will do. But, more than that, we want to be part of the high street, inviting and encouraging others to come together.
I am pleased to say that Brentwood has a very strong community of indie shops already and we are very excited to join the party! So, alongside the books, we will also be stocking local crafts, providing a relaxed space for parents to have a cuppa whilst the kids rummage through a dressing up box or listen to a story. And, we will be hosting lots of fantastic events run by local crafty types, as well inviting people in to give talks…we aim to reflect and embrace our community.
We’d love to hear your views. What would you like to see in the perfect bookshop?