Inspiring Older Readers
St. Richard's Hospice Book Shop, Worcester
Sadly, Worcester no longer has any second hand or independent bookshops - a lamentable state of affairs. There is a small Oxfam book shop which has been there at the bottom of the main shopping street for some considerable time but I find it's pricing policy hard to understand and it's stock generally not very exciting. Probably the best chance of finding interesting second hand books is now another charity outlet, the St. Richard's shop in St. Swithin's Street. This is a standard charity clothes and knick-knacks shop on the ground floor but has a pretty impressive second hand book store and cafe on the first floor.
This hospice shop has recently relocated from another shop in an arcade and I think they've done a pretty good job of it. As with all charity shops the stock is a bit hit and miss - which is inevitable when you are depending on donations to keep the shelves filled. Having said that, the trick is still to organise the stuff well, price it sensibly and keep the quality reasonably high. St. Richards ticks all these boxes and combines it with a very pleasant environment where browsing is easy and the space allocated to the different sections is clearly labelled.
The section dedicated to collectibles isn't really very strong and the real strength of the shop is for readers seeking good copies, many of them hardback, at prices that make it worth picking up speculative reading editions. The volunteers do an excellent job considering that they are not specialists and so it's easy to forgive the occasional mistakes they make. For pricing purposes they are over reliant on comparative prices gleaned from Abebooks listings but they do, at least, tend to pick up the lowest rather than the highest prices listed online.
All in all, worth a visit if you're in Worcester but perhaps not one to make a special trip for. You'd be better off heading past Worcester and aiming to spend a bit of time in Malvern and maybe go on to Ledbury - you'll find your pickings will be richer out there.