My post for this week about independent bookshops coincides with Independent Booksellers’ Week. Please join me for a visit to Serendip.
The bookshop on thriving Broad Street, takes its name from the island of Sri Lanka. Serendip has a fresh feel, with a new frontage changed in 2010 from the original created 30 years ago during the filming of The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Inside the space is airy and light, with a high ceiling. Bee Painton, who runs the bookshop with her husband Chris, invests in daylight quality lighting to create the effect.
The shop is arranged for easy access, with displays and shelving providing enough room for wheelchairs and buggies. It caters for a range of customers, including residents, second-home owners, and visitors to the area of all ages. Bee has introduced a wide range of quality greeting cards, postcards, wrapping paper and book themed gifts to complement the selection of books. Titles about the local area (including walking and fossil books) appear near the entrance together with new fiction. Shelves along the walls hold fiction titles and there is a large range of children’s books. Background music, including jazz, is played to create a relaxed atmosphere.
By the modern-effect fireplace there is a rocking chair and a child-size chair for in-store book sharing. The non-fiction section is tucked away at the back of the store with another lovely seating area to encourage browsing.
By linking with other organisations such as the theatre in Lyme Regis and Arts Fest the shop helps to promote local events and Bee hopes to develop these partnerships further in the coming years. The blackboard behind the till shows books in the media and orders can be made for delivery to the shop the following day. Serendip also offers a free home delivery service and owing to the hilly seaside streets, this is much appreciated by customers.
Bee and Chris also run the Archway Bookshop in Axminster and they hosted a very well attended talk and book signing by Jodi Picoult to promote her latest book Lone Wolf in March.
Would you like to see any of these features in your local bookshop?