Inspiring Older Readers
DM & V Allsop Books, Warwick
This bookshop occupies one of the older, historic buildings in Smith Street ( a couple of minutes walk from Eastgate Books ) and you get a sense of this heritage the minute you walk in because the beams and low ceilings create a very specific atmosphere.
When I first started coming to this shop it was much bigger than it is now - perhaps twice the size - and had a double front aspect to the street. Over time the building has clearly been adapted to split the premises and so the bookshop now occupies only a portion of its former floor space.
There is a much stronger sense of entering an antiquarian bookseller than you get from most second hand shops these days. I'm not really too interested in old and fine bindings so I can't really say whether this stock is good or not - but it's clearly a place you'd want to check out if old bindings are your kind of thing. They do have a website too so you might want to check there to see what kind of stuff they carry.
In terms of children's books, modern or classic fiction and first editions, these are located at the back of the shop and I have to say that what's on the shelves isn't overly impressive. My main beef is about the overall quality and presentation of the stock - it's frequently scruffy and in what I consider to be quite poor condition. Add to that the fact that the prices are way too high for what's on offer and it makes it very unlikely you'll find anything you will want unless you're quite lucky or you just want reading copies and you aren't too concerned about price. We visit infrequently - maybe once a quarter - but we always comment on how many of the books are the same as those we saw on our last visit.
I guess it may be that the very best of their stock never makes it onto the shop floor and gets sold through the internet but I still think it would be great if there was a little bit more attention paid to the shop experience. The owners are always more than pleasant and welcoming when you visit and we'd want to go more often but, ultimately, it's quite a long drive and we have to calculate whether its really worth the effort.