The LetterPress Project

Books Can Change Your World


The Suffolk Anthology, Cheltenham

posted on 05 Mar 2016

The Suffolk Anthology, Cheltenham

I've got nothing but admiration for anyone who has enough belief and bottle to open a new independent bookshop. The Suffolk Anthology was opened in February 2015 and so it's now about a year old - still there and looking pretty well established. The shop is in the trendy Suffolks area of Cheltenham and occupies a shop in a listed building - it's certainly characterful but these sort of buildings are not necessarily the best shape for a bookshop and sadly, I think this might be the case here too.

However, the owners have made the most of what they've got to work with. There's a nice big picture window that lets in plenty of light and the upstairs has a decent general fiction section - mainly paperbacks but some key new hardbacks too. For me, however, the best section by some distance is the children's books and I get the distinct impression that someone is a fan - the stock is good and there's plenty of it.

The main room gives way to a slightly odd glazed small back room but it's quite hard to do anything with this space. It leads to a steep set of stairs that give access to a downstairs room that is clearly being used for events / activities and when I was there a group of children were happily colouring and having fun around a table. It does feel a little odd that the books shelved down there are mainly adults books and yet the room feels like a child's play space.

Overall It just feels to me that the shop isn't quite stuffed enough. I'd like a bit more on the shelves and maybe just a touch more chaos - I always feel uncomfortable going into a bookshop and not really getting excited by the atmosphere. Still, it's early days and hopefully the shop will develop a much more assertive identity over time. I made sure I bought something to make my own contribution and I wish them well for the future.


Terry Potter

March 2016