The writer is a lonely hunter


2012 Tour of Independent Bookshops in Dorset: The Awards

on January 15, 2013

inside with computerimagine outsideOctober 2012 017 (2)

My tour of independent bookshops during 2012 took me from the far east of the county to the far west with several stops in between. It was a pleasure driving through the gorgeous Dorset countryside with a new bookshop as my destination.  I’ve decided to honour each of the shops with a ‘best of’ category, hoping this might tempt you to visit.

Best of bookshops for atmosphere: Serendip, Lyme Regis

Situated in the seaside town, this bookshop is a must for all visitors.  Once inside, the atmosphere tempts you to linger, with great lighting and eclectic background music.  Step further into the shop and you’ll find seating for comfortable book-browsing.

Best of bookshops for views: Avon Beach Shop, Christchurch

It’s not often you’ll find a comprehensive range of books for sale at a shop perched on the edge of a beach.  Through the shop window, you get glimpses of the bay and there can be no better place to choose your holiday reading.  Mind you don’t get sand between your toes!

Best of bookshops for use of space:  Imagine Books, Weymouth

Tucked away on a charming little street, only yards from the seafront, Imagine Books contains a host of surprises.  As you meander through the rooms, linked by an internal courtyard, you’ll find a large range of products for sale.

Best of bookshops for location: The Book Shop, Bridport

Directly opposite Buckey Doo Square, where the weekly market sprawls across the pavement, you’ll find Book Shop. Right at the heart of the town, Book Shop does what it says on the sign, sells books to customers in a straightforward and efficient manner.

Best of bookshops with a bonus: Winstone’s, Sherborne

This is one of the largest bookshops I’ve come across, double fronted with a generous children’s section. The shop is easy to navigate and one of its draws is the cafe area where high quality coffee and cakes can be purchased.

Best of bookshops with friendly staff: Gullivers, Wimborne Minster

Close to the Minster, Gullivers is a family run business, committed to community involvement. The staff are enthusiastic about their role in promoting reading with families and children and are always keen to talk about books and promote book-related events.

Best of bookshops for quirky stock: Black Pug Books, Wimborne Minster

While this is the only bookshop in the tour that sells ‘loved and used books’, it is well worth a visit.  Occupying the front room of Victoria Sturgess’s house, you’ll soon feel at home there, poring over the shelves.

Hmm…what shall I do for 2013? Best of independent cinemas, perhaps.  Let me know what you think.


10 responses to “2012 Tour of Independent Bookshops in Dorset: The Awards

  1. Patsy says:

    They all sound great. I’m lucky in that there’s a tiny independent bookshop locally (I’d nominate it for the friendly staff category if you extended your award to Hampshire) but there aren’t many about.

  2. sophieduffy says:

    Fab idea. And yes, indie cinemas!

  3. Great to be reminded about places in Dorset I used to know well when living in Blandford Forum! Don’t get back there so often now.

  4. John Wiswell says:

    Does Imagine Books do anything unique with its storefront and space? Very curious about that accolade.

    • gailaldwin says:

      The colour theme for the shop is black and gold and inside it’s lit by sparkling chandeliers. The building is Victorian and probably a home, formerly. The rooms go back a long way, one section of the shop leading into another. It’s like following a trail to find the treasure. They sell handmade soap so the air is heavy with perfume. At the centre there is an open-air courtyard with seating and a water feature that trickles. The contrast outside/inside is striking.

  5. Fiona Murphy says:

    Lovely to read about so many bookshops. I will be doing my own tour with a box of books with me very shortly. Thanks for all the great information and i of course will mention your name when i arrive at their door.

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