Inspiring Older Readers
Bath Old Books
There's always something a little bit thrilling about visiting a bookshop that doesn't have a big on-line presence or a glamorous website - you never quite know what you're going to encounter. Bath Old Books is situated in a pretty ritzy open arcade very close to the famous Georgian crescent - so I expect they get a good tourist footfall as well as a book collector audience - and although they have a facebook page there's no online selling that I can find.
The shop is very attractive to look at from the outside - almost an architypal old-fashioned bookstore with some very well-dressed windows. Inside it's a little bit claustrophobic upstairs because room is at a premium. On this level there are some collectible first editions and illustrated children's books and these were of particular interest to us. The stock is pretty good but not knock-out and I found the prices probably reflected the shop's location - top-end.
Downstairs there's a bit more space to browse and I was focussed on the fiction and literature. There was plenty of stuff but again I'd say it was pretty familiar titles and not too ununusal or rare. Again it was all good enough in terms of quality but the prices didn't really lure me into a purchase.
I don't really want to sound too negative because it's a lovely shop in a lovely location and I would pay it a visit every time. However, the quality of the experience ultimately depends on the quality of the books on the shelves and the prices being asked for them. I don't like thinking I'm visiting a shop just as a window shopping expedition and the past couple of times I've been there I've come away empty-handed. You might not - so get along if you can and see if there's something there for you. Shops like this need to exist and we all need to keep visiting them.