Friday, 24 February 2012

Linghams: a winning bookseller

The Bookseller has published the regional winners for Independent Bookshop of the Year.
The seven winners are:
  • · The Bookshop Kibworth ­(Midland & Wales)
  • · Dulwich Books (London)
  • · The Gutter Bookshop (Ireland)
  • · The St Ives Bookshop (south-west)
  • · The Mainstreet Trading Company (Scotland)
  • · Linghams Booksellers in Heswall (north)
  • · The Chorleywood Bookshop (south-east)
We interviewed the owners of the Chorleywood Bookshop in the February edition of Words with Jam.
Today, we have a review of Linghams Booksellers from Lisa Hinsley.
Walking into Linghams, I was greeted by cooking smells (of the baked, sweet variety), soft music playing in the background, and the sound of chatter and the occasional clink of dishes and cutlery from the small café in the back. It’s a nice way to enter a shop, and the feeling was instantly homely and relaxing.

Linghams is not a very big shop. Although it’s small, everything is intricately laid out. Built-in bookshelves line the walls, with nooks created where worn leather sofas have reading lamps to make browsing incredibly comfortable. The different sections are small – seems to be one
of everything they could manage to squeeze in. Interestingly they have three bays of shelves behind one of the two cash registers dedicated to customer orders.

As with many independent bookshops, Linghams has branched out including games, greetings cards, wrapping paper, posters and local art. In fact they seem generally supportive of local talent with a local interest section packed to the gills with everything from books to walking maps to interesting places to visit and local history tomes.

The children’s section fills the largest part of the shop. I think it took up at least a quarter of the shop floor, and is decorated with colourful designs. I think this is a brilliant way of getting kids started on books when young.

Amongst the shelves were staff pick tags. They have a short - perhaps one or two sentence - review of the book and the name of the staff member. It really made the books stand out, and certainly led to me picking a few works up.

Dotted around the shop are many posters and signs telling the customers about author events and the Linghams book club, and as you get to the back of the shop, you go through to the café – a lively and social area, for tea and cakes. A perfect place to sit and make a start on new reading material.

I was impressed with Linghams, not just for the relaxing atmosphere, but the staff members were friendly and for such a small space, the variety of books on offer was impressive. As a local, I left chastising myself that I don’t go there enough, and eventually, if enough people like me stop making the effort, yet another bookshop will disappear forever.
If you would like to review another of the regional winners - or any other independent booksellers you think the world should hear about - please contact

1 comment:

  1. Sounds well worth a visit. This is also a great site for locating UK indie bookshops and beyond -